I saw War Horse last night and it wasn't what I was expecting. It has received a lot of critical accolades, is a Spielberg film, is based off a famous play, and could end up being a Best Picture nominee. Needless to say, I was expecting something epic. What I ended up with was the film equivalent of a shiny pop song. Each shot was perfect, the lighting was spot on, the acting was flawless in a theatrical sense, and the scope of the film was grandiose. However, like an over-produced pop song, it was missing soul. It almost felt too perfect. There were no rough edges and like Warrior, everything seemed a bit too serendipitous. It did help knowing that the film was based off a Broadway play (and children's book), because the film felt like something that was taken straight from the stage. The melodramatic shots, extended soliloquies, and complete lack of internal monologue, was reminiscent of an epic stage production. It wasn't that the film was bad; it was just that it was a little too perfect. I think a flaw or two (a shaky shot, a stumbled line, etc.) might have made the movie seem more real. In the end, for me human stories are more powerful and I went in to this film hoping it was less about horses and more about people. Silly me, it had horse in the title.
WRITER'S NOTE: If you want to see a shiny film on a similar scale, see Hugo. It had the same sheen as War Horse, but Hugo had the heart that the Spielberg film lacked.