PG-13, 2 hr. 26 min. Directed By: Steven Spielberg. Release Date: Dec 25, 2011. DVD Release Date: Apr 3, 2012.
I’ve never understood those people who are nuts about horses. I get that they can be beautiful, like Joey, the eponymous character in this historical epic. I get that man and horse have had a long-lasting and beneficial partnership for a very long time. But, perhaps because of my city upbringing, I don’t understand loving a horse the way I understand loving a dog, or to a much lesser extent, a cat. But until today, I’d never given thought to a horse with a personality. They always seem such beautiful, dumb creatures… not unlike Megan Fox. Oh wait, eek, I don’t intend to say anything libelous, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a career showcasing her intellect. Basically, I’ve started to rethink my position. I wouldn’t mind a Joey of my own (although ye gods, that’s a stupid name for a horse), and I’m probably going to stop making petting zoo jokes when my cousin’s wife talks about her newly acquired horse.
I hate when I see a best picture nominee after the fact and love it more than the rest combined. I loved War Horse that much. I probably liked this more than The Help, and if you were paying attention, you know how freaking apoplectic I got when I realized it had absolutely no chance at Oscar gold. If you’ve ever read a few chapters of a book and then just had to skip to the end to see what was going to happen, that’s how I felt. It took a tremendous force of will not to skip forward through the movie to see what happens to Joey and whether or not he and Albert are reunited.
I know, I know. I made a whole SHITLOAD of comments about how this was the story of a boy and his dog, except the dog was a horse. I made comments about Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, but having seen this movie finally, I'm in. I get it now. Joey can sleep in my room. It's totally fine. If I have a complaint, it's kind of a tiny one. This is yet another Michael Fassbender random movie. He and Viola Davis have this magic for appearing in random movies and then vanishing. I like the two of them, but if they keep this shit up, they're going to end up in my "Shia LeBeouf" pile, which is as unattractive as it sounds.
Now, I’m going to be frank and say that I get why this didn’t win. For me, the issue was trying to be so concerned about a horse when half the movie depicts so much human death and suffering. I hated watching the barbed wire scene. I didn’t want to see any animal (or person, for that matter) suffer, but in the whole scheme of things, I do tend to care about people more than animals provided cruelty isn’t in the mix. I suspect that the setting, the part that really sets Joey apart as a terrific character, is the same thing that kept War Horse from picking up more momentum during Oscar season. It’s not like this wasn’t obviously released in time to be one of those “holy frigging Hilary Swank biopic” desperate grabs for Oscar gold. It’s also not like Spielberg isn’t trying again this year with Lincoln… although I hope he’s not going to be slaying any vampires in this one.
Basically, I’m in love with this movie, and now I’m going to have to go out and buy it the next time I spot it in a store. I won’t watch it often, but I will watch it from time to time (kind of like I do with The King’s Speech), and in my mind, I only have to watch a DVD 4 times before it breaks to have it pay for itself.