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Old 12-11-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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Default War Horse

Anyone seen this film? I am very curious.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: War Horse

I saw the play in NY a couple of months ago and was disappointed by its extreme 'schmaltziness,' though I was out of step with the audience, which was on its feet cheering at the end.

I can see why it appealed to Speilberg.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:04 PM   #3
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We finally got around to seeing this last night. Never made the effort to see it in the theater.

I have to say, even though I knew my emotions were being manipulated by S.S., as he always does, I cried and blew my nose and kept watching.

Although I'm the kind of person who will watch anything in which noble critters play a role (especially dogs and horses, love 'em), I have to say, the way the war issues were handled, the writers resisted Good Brits v. Bad Germans. Sure, it was a tad heavy-handed emotionally at times but at the end it was cathartic. I think, overall, it came close to the precipe of pure schmatlz, teetered there a couple of times, but never fell into full-blown schmaltz. We enjoyed it.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: War Horse

It's Spielberg at his sentimental worst.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: War Horse

Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
Good question. I know you directed this at NMS, but I haven't seen Fatal Attraction in years.

Who is/are the MC, Protag, and POV character(s) in War Horse? Where do the young man who raised the horse and the horse fit in?

I think the young man is the protag. He wants and needs to find his horse.

The horse is the pov character in almost every scene.

Which is the MC?
jonpiper asked me this in another thread; this thread seems more appropriated to follow up.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: War Horse

I'll answer in several parts. I hate to see long posts.

He wants and needs to find his horse?
What does he do to achieve that purpose?
What does he do during all the second act?
He only has one scene, and that is fighting a battle, not searching for his horse; not even asking around for his horse.

He's not a Protagonist. (Action, external conflict).

And "need"? What is the inner flaw/shard of glass/fatal flaw Albert has that will be healed by finding his horse? None, really. He's really nice guy from start to finish.
He had a horse, he lost his horse, he misses the horse, if he finds the horse, he'll be happy. Not much internal conflict -- he's not a Main Character.

Notice I find useful to distinguish between Protagonist (external conflict) and Main Character (internal conflict), since they can not be the same character.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: War Horse

So, what's Albert's role, you ask? And the horse, Joey?

Well, Joey is the war horse of the title.
Joey is the focus of almost all the action (external conflict).

Strangely enough, Joey is the one who has a fatal flaw/shard of glass/at least one other term I can't quite recall at the moment : he can't jump.
He'll "never be a jumper."
He shies from jumping--and throws Albert to the ground; Emilie tries to teach him, but he dodges around the obstacles.
Until the time when he is corralled by a tank and he jumps, over the tank. Then he jumps the trenches.
Joey has conquered his flaw.

Well, then, Joey is both the Protagonist and the Main Character.

Yes, he's not actively driving the action, but in a war or a storm, one isn't; the protagonist in these cases is the focus of the action.

And it may be strange to attribute a inner need to an animal, but Joey here is not a really real horse, is he? (not it).

Since people would perhaps have difficulties identifying with being a horse, we have a series of characters who help Joey and with whom we identify, they're identifying characters.

Joey is the hero. This movie follows the Campbell's Hero's Journey as modified by Vogler. (I'll develop it more later).

And with this in mind, Albert's role is made clear: Mentor. He trains Joey. Without the training, Joey wouldn't have survived the trials.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: War Horse

Main questions answered above.

Now, for something, completely more of the same.

Hero's Journey of Joey the Horse.

I'm not to keen on Hero's Journey's, especially because the fans of the latter days seem to want to apply it to every story, with exactly the same steps, in exactly the same sequence. That was not Campbell's view. He identified some elements, but said a story might not have all of them, or they might not be always in the same place in the story. And of course, this is to be applied to Myths, not to every story.

Don't read beyond this point if you haven't seen the movie.

Refusal of the Call: Joey refuses to take the apple that Albert offers.

Meeting the Mentor: Albert trains Joey, mainly pulling the plough, which will save his life while pulling artillery, while the black horse will die. Also says Joey will never be a jumper, exposing Joey's flaw and setting it's payoff.

Crossing the Threshold: Joey is bought by the Cavalry Officer, goes for the new world of a world at war.

Allies,trials, etc: Several. A special note for Emilie, the french girl who tries to teach Joey to jump (a bit of a mentor, then).

Ordeal: There are two.
1) The jump over the tank--Joey conquers his flaw
2) The Barbed Wire--this is especially important since it is the major embodiment of the Theme.

Post already too long.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: War Horse

The theme...Among the inhumanity of war, it is Joey, an animal, that brings out the humanity in the humans; this is manifest in those who help Joey and especially when the enemies break the hostilities to save Joey from the barbed wire. The british and the german strike a sort of friendship; when they part ways they will no longer aim at the "enemy".

Eventually, Joey reunites with Albert: Reward.

But in the Hero's Journey, the way back is still fraught with perils (Joey is sold at the auction), which culminate with the
Resurrection: a last sacrifice, a moment of life and death; this time not of the hero, but sacrifice of the grandfather (renounces ownership of Joey), in memory of his dead granddaughter.

It doesn't even lack the Return of the Elixir (symbolic): The Pennant of the Boer War.

And the meeting with Emilie could the meeting with the Goddess, or the Tank the confrontation with the Father (it is old cavalry vs new cavalry) ; this may be reading too much already.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: War Horse

The movie:
I wouldn't have seen it, were it not a Spielberg's movie. One can always learn from Spielberg.
He keeps it from falling into the melodrama marshes, but it still is a bit sappy.
Too long, so one sequence should be cut: the one with the two german boy soldiers. It serves 3 purposes, which could be distributed among other scenes:

1) Joey works well and bonds with humans; point well made and reiterated late, not really needed here.

2)Inhumanity of war, with the execution of the two boy soldiers. Could be done post cavalry charge, with all the regiment fallen, most of them dead, the rest of them dying, including the three we know- Joey's owner, the commanding officer and the officer with the silk lining cap.

3) Joey saves the black horse and himself; could also be shown in the aftermath of the cavalry charge--Joey leading the way for both to escape from the Germans.

I wished this sequence cut because it has a very really stupid point: Instead of arranging a convenient injury "my brother injured his hand while aiding me with the horses", the older brother rides Joey and kidnaps the younger brother from the column of march? With the soldiers falling like domino pieces? What is stupid and it looks silly. Cut it.

The rest had good direction and excellent photography, good performances. Sappy story, but it is a children's book.
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