War Horse, the Movie

Thanks to Ancestory.com I had the opportunity to preview the new Steven Spielberg movie “War Horse” scheduled to open nationwide on Christmas Day. Subscribers to the popular genealogy site were given the opportunity to view the movie at private, invitation only, events at select theaters. While not avid movie goers, my wife and I enjoy an occasional trip to the theaters to view films we deem worthy. By our definition, worthy is; “we have heard enough good things about the movie to convince us to spend $20 to see it now, rather than a $1 to rent it later.” That does not happen often; “The Help” and “Super 8″ were the last two movies to have qualified.

Somehow we missed the whole War Horse children’s book, made into a Broadway play, made into a movie phenomenon. Upon receiving the e-mail with the invitation, the films title did not even register; it was the Spielberg connection that caught my eye. Still, I almost hit the delete button. Thankfully the “if it’s free, it’s for me” impulse kicked in, so I responded to reserve two seats. The confirmation gave details on date, time and theatre location with instructions to show up and not be late. My wife was less enthused, “I don’t want to go, and do you even know what it is about?” My son, who apparently is more aware of cultural trends, chimed in “it’s that play with the horses on poles that actors carry; they made it into a movie.” The frown on my wife’s face indicated I might be going alone, until I threw in the Spielberg and free incentives.

We showed up at the appointed place fifteen minutes before show time, gave the lady at the door our names and were given a stern lecture about the penalties of illegally recording this or any movie shown in theaters. Only then did she allow us to enter what was a packed house. The only two seats we could find together were on the second row. After two more lectures on film piracy the show started, complete with trailers of upcoming releases.

Wow, this is a great movie. You can get all the technical aspects from the professional critics. Suffice it to say, we had a very enjoyable evening. Spectacular scenery, an entertaining story line, gritty detail when necessary and the proverbial happy ending all combined to elicit applause from the audience in attendance. My wife laughed, she cried, she hid her eyes and grabbed my arm in a death grip; all qualifications for two thumbs up on our part. No waiting for the DVD release here, I may even pay to see it again from someplace other than the second row.

However, a word of caution seems advisable. While originating from a children’s book the films adaptation may not be appropriate for all young people. It seems to me the PG-13 rating is aptly justified. While parents must make their own decisions, make an informed one. One war scene in particular is uncomfortably gruesome. Otherwise enjoy the show; I would love to hear your personal comments and reviews.

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