You know those movies that end up getting nominated for Oscars that really have no business even being considered? If you don’t, then let me introduce you to HORSE WAR. This steamy dump of a film dropped from the illustrious bowels of Steven Spielberg, director of some of the greatest movies of all time. In my opinion, he directed the best war movie of all time. No, I don’t mean this one, I mean SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Spielberg got WWII right, so I imagine he said that he could do WWI just as well. The problem there is that he didn’t choose Tom Hanks to be the star, he chose Mr. Fucking Ed. As crazy as it sounds, I was not as invested in a war movie starring a real horse. I mean, the only thing you have to worry about is the horse dying, and it obviously won't because what kind of monster would make a movie about a horse just to have it die at the end.
Do me a favor: if you ever do end up watching this, know that it is not a war movie. It’s a movie about the life of a horse, and WWI just happens to be going on too. Actually, it follows the classic “boy meets horse, boy loses horse, boy gets horse back again” storyline. There are a few more steps in there, like “horse gets new owner who gets killed, then a new owner who gets killed, then a new owner who gets killed, then befriends another horse who gets killed, then returns to his first owner who is totally blind from a gas attack.” This horse is starting to sound like the horse of death to me. Everyone it meets basically dies. This is a goddamned apocalypse horse. Who would’ve thought Disney would make a movie like that?
Oh, that raises another issue. Disney released it. I’m not saying that’s bad, we all know Disney has made some great movies, but war movies don’t really fit into their image. It’s really cool that we get to see a movie depiction of WWI, which is always kind of forgotten and overshadowed by the story of WWII, but we don’t get to really see anything too gritty here. There is a surprisingly low amount of violence for a war movie, and every character that we meet after the war starts carries this sappy emotional melodrama that feels too forced because they all die after ten minutes of screen time.
It also takes far too long to get to the actual “war” part of the movie. It’s never a good sign when you watch the opening credits of a war movie and you think you might have accidentally put in a movie about a talking puppy by mistake. That’s how it felt to me at least. There were a lot of green, peaceful, rolling pastures and no fighting at all for at least the first half hour. I didn’t buy a ticket to watch a boy feed apples to a baby horse, I bought a ticket to see that sweet sweet WWI trench warfare action. There were some genuinely sweet battle scenes scattered through it, but for a film that is two and a half hours long, it wasn’t enough. Watching a bunch of people talk about how much they love this horse for hours is only exciting for people who own horses themselves. I do not own a horse, so the film was a waste of time.