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War Horse is one of the next movies from Steven Spielberg who, believe it or not, hasn’t made anything since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I say it’s one of the next because he’s making up for his absence by releasing two different movies this year, and almost at the same time. Both the animated movie Tintin and War Horse are being released at virtually the same time, over Christmas.
As its title suggests, War Horse is the story of a young man and his horse, sent to the brutal trenches of The Great War. The film’s first trailer has arrived, and if you’re a fan of real horse movies, it’s just about everything you could hope for. Watch:
The world needs a good horse movie. I’m not talking about the kinds of horse movies you’re probably used to, movies like Seabiscuit or Secretariat, where they’re about the horse in theory but in practice end up being more about the owners than they are about the animal. I’m looking for a movie like The Black Stallion or even a film like Hidalgo which, for all its flaws, at least tried to be about the real connection between a man and his animal.
Better still, this movie seems to fill a few other movie niches we’ve been lacking. When was the last time you saw a good World War One movie? Word War 2 usually gets all the attention. When was the last time you saw a Spielberg movie you really loved? For a lot of people in 2002 with Catch Me if You Can, but even if like me you loved Munich, it’s been six years since we got anything worth caring about from arguably cinema’s most legendary working director. War Horse seems like it could be the perfect answer to the questions: What should Steven Spielberg do next?
The fact that it’s being released on December 28, just in time to be eligible for Oscar consideration but not quite in time to get much money from the holiday ticket buying rush, suggests that someone involved believes there’s something special here.