Hollywood’s awards season officially kicks off this Sunday with the Golden Globe Awards, the party thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press, you know, the group of retards who don’t realize that movies about musicians like Johnny Cash or Ray Charles aren’t automatically “Musicals.” It’s a perfect time to rant about one of this year’s contenders: Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Now I really like most of Spielberg’s movies, even the schmaltzy ones. I don’t mind a bit of tear jerking. That aspect of the film doesn’t bother me. No, it’s the war parts. Supposedly Spielberg hired real soldiers as advisors for Saving Private Ryan. He clearly did no such thing for War Horse. One of the sequences involves a British officer, now renter of said war horse, who leads a cavalry charge on a German camp. He’s informed by two Indian reconnaissance officers that the camp is unguarded. (All the characters in this movie are cartoonish. It’s interesting though that each cultural group represented in the film has some redeeming members. Sure, there are mean Germans, but there are also nice—albeit pretty stupid—Germans. The Indians don’t get that luxury. The two Indians we see are grossly incompetent. After they send the British soldiers off to their deaths, no Indian is ever seen again. Damn Turban Heads. Can’t trust them!) Anyhow, the Brits do indeed surprise the Germans, hacking away at them with swords while they’re trying to shave. A bunch of the Germans run out of the camp to man some machine guns at the beginning of a forest. Why the Germans haven’t made camp in the cover of the trees, instead of an open field? Because they’re just as stupid as the Indians, apparently. The guns are behind the camp, and for some inexplicable reason, aimed at the camp. So while the Germans are repelling the horse charge, they’re firing towards their own camp and at any of their unlucky, surviving comrades. But wait. The best is yet to come. One of the British officers is captured. A German officer, in perfect English, mind you (apparently they had Rosetta Stone in 1914), berates him for presuming the camp was unguarded. Really? The camp was unguarded! A whole company of horses charged into the camp unspotted. Where were the sentries? Passed out on schnapps? This is, hands down, the single dumbest sequence Spielberg has ever filmed. It’s even worse than the bit in Indiana Jones and the Crapdom of the Crystal Skull, where an atomic blast blows Indy, hiding in a refrigerator, thousands of feet from ground zero. Instead of being reduced to jelly, he crawls out unscathed.
Maybe I’m nitpicking…Nah! We are also expected to believe that an 18 year old soldier, stuck in the trenches of France, where any second his life might be snuffed out, would have no thoughts for his parents, his friends, let alone a girl. No, some stupid horse he hasn’t even seen in three years has his heart. We are also expected to believe that an old French farmer would travel three days in order to procure the horse he read about in the newspaper that “just must be” the horse his granddaughter took care of for a few days. He’s even willing to triple the highest bid on the horse. The fact that his farm was in the middle of the war zone for four years, and was constantly stripped bare by the Germans apparently has no effect on his disposable income. He is a jam maker, after all. There’s big money in that. In fact, none of the characters behave in logical ways. I’m just pointing out the tip of the iceberg. Well, Emily Watson does shine as horse boy’s mother. But let’s face it; she can turn even the smelliest turd into gold.
And yet, War Horse is one of the six dramas nominated for the Golden Globe this year. The Hollywood Foreign Press should’ve swapped it out with the latest Mission Impossible. It’s far more believable.