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Old December 27 2011, 02:42 AM   #963
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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2011

180. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (A-)
181. 50/50 (B+)
182. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (A-)
183. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (A)
184. War Horse (B+)

The ticket I bought insists that this movie is "The War Horse", but I'll be having none of that.

Spielberg's other movie of the year, based on a successful Broadway play based on a children's book. When this movie was announced I was kind of expecting Spielberg to do this in the style of Saving Private Ryan, but this is a much tamer depiction of war than that, which, given the aforesaid children's book source, is perhaps appropriate. This is rated PG-13, but it's pretty close to the PG side of the scale; there's nothing here that I think would be problematic for younger viewers.

Spielberg often gets knocked for being sentimental, and if you tend to think that of his films, you probably won't like this, because it is unabashedly sentimental. But I find there's a rather pernicious tendency to associate bleak cynicism with profundity these days, one I don't buy into (not that it can't be). Spielberg's warm humanism is well-suited to a story about World War I, I think, given how grey the whole thing was.

Nevertheless, it's not perfect. Firstly, the main character is a horse, which is a bit limiting; the human characters appearance in a series of fairly effective vignettes, and all have likeable and interesting elements, but none have that much screentime. Also, Albert (played by Jeremy Irvine doing what feels like a riff on Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee), the horse's owner and the human with the most screentime, is probably the least interesting of the various humans we encounter.
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