War Horse DVD/Blu-Ray Review
Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure film, War Horse, came out on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital copy on April 3rd, 2012. I had the unique opportunity to see it in New York City at the Red Carpet Premiere, and it was easily one of the very best films that I saw in 2011. I knew that as soon as it became available on Blu-ray, I would have to have my very own copy.
War Horse is based on the novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo, which is intended for ages 8 and up. I haven’t yet read the novel, but from what I learned while in New York City and from watching the bonus features on the Blu-ray, there are a few differences. For example, the novel is written in 1st person from the horse Joey’s point of view.
The film War Horse begins just as the first World War is breaking out. The beginning of the film is centered on young Albert Naracott (Jeremy Irvine) and his family, who are about to lose their farm. They need a plow horse, but Albert’s father has bought the thoroughbred that Albert has had his eye on for quite some time. Much to their surprise, Joey proves himself to this family and helps them save their farm. All is well for a while, until the family falls on hard times again and Albert’s father is forced to sell Joey into the cavalry.
War Horse then shifts to Joey’s new life with Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston), who has promised Albert that he will return Joey to him if he is able once the war is over. Unfortunately more tragedy strikes, and Joey finds himself among new people. Joey’s travels allow the movie viewers the opportunity to get a glimpse of all sides of the war, from the German camps to French civilians. Everywhere that Joey ends up, he touches the lives of those around him, bringing out the humanity that war can stomp out.
War Horse is the type of movie that just begs to be watched at the cinema, but it isn’t any less moving or beautiful from the comfort of your own home. I’ve seen it a couple of times now, and I am still just as affected by its message each time that I watch it. I am touched by the deep bond between Albert and Joey, and all of the relationships and friendships that Joey makes as he and Albert try to find their way back to one another.
Parts of War Horse might be difficult for more sensitive individuals to watch, but there isn’t much gore or blood so War Horse may actually be a good teaching tool for parents to use to talk to their young children about war and our relationships with people who we consider “different” from ourselves.
War Horse: The Journey Home is a 20-minute feature in which Steven Spielberg, Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Kathleen Kennedy, Tom Hiddleston, and Toby Kennell discuss their experiences with this film.
An Extra’s Point of View lasts for about 3 minutes, and follows extra Martin D. Dew on the set as he discusses what it was like working on this film and the research that he and the other background artists did in order to provide an authentic performance.
A Filmmaker’s Journey is over one hour long and covers every aspect of this film. Kathleen Kennedy talks of how she brought the play to Spielberg’s attention, and then this feature takes viewers through every section of the film. Actors and even the author talk about their experiences working on the film.
Other bonus features include: Editing & Scoring, The Sounds of War Horse, and Through the Producer’s Lens.
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.