I never saw the acclaimed London or Broadway productions of “War Horse,” but friends who did advised me to bring Kleenex to tonight’s screening of the film, which opens Christmas Day.
When Michael and I arrived at the theater, we were surprised to see a long line outside. Normally, we just go right in for these screenings and have a previously specified area where we always sit. But Dreamworks decided to turn us into airplane passengers and station security people in the lobby. Not only did we have our cell phones confiscated (or we could walk back to our cars and leave them there), but we were scanned with one of those wands that they use at airports. I guess we were lucky not to be strip-searched. Sheesh. I get that piracy is an issue for movies that haven’t been released, but this was ridiculous.
Once we were seated and the lights went down, I stopped grumbling and let Spielberg and his magic (particularly, his cinematographer and composer) take me away.
The good news? The story of the miraculous horse and the boy who raised him is heart-tugging and beautifully photographed and feels like the best kind of epic – sweeping landscapes, soaring music, emotional moments.
The bad news? Only that for me the number and length of the battle scenes became numbingly boring after awhile. Yes, the movie is called “WAR Horse,” so battle scenes are to be expected. But at some point, if they go on for too long, I just tune out and that’s what happened tonight.
The star of the film was most definitely the horse. He was gorgeous. He was brave. He had personality. He’s the one we truly root for. If there were an Oscar for Best Horse, this one would win.
And yes, I cried. Not as much as Michael did, however. He wasn’t sobbing at the end but almost. As we were leaving the theater, I was teasing him about his tears and he said, “You are a cold-hearted woman.” I must be.