Crazy Eight wrote:That's whole point. The horse symbolizes hope in darkness. Every character is in some sort of peril or poverty. They're in situations that seem hopeless. War, poverty, death- a horrifying time in the lives of many. Joey is strong, beautiful, and seemingly determined. The people who take "ownership" of him are given the one thing their lives need most- hope. A light in the darkness. The story's so amazing and impactful because one horse was able to give that to so many people. It's a beautiful story. To put it bluntly, you simply didn't understand the film if you kept thinking that "it's just a fucking horse." This isn't Airbud or Babe, and it's not meant to be.
I see what you're saying. I was kinda joking with the "it's just a fucking horse" thing, I wasn't actually thinking those words. My point in that was that the very two dimensional characters and almost fake emotions of the actors devalued the importance of the horse. The "hope" and "light in the darkness" did not feel powerful enough because the war/poverty/death themes weren't shown to such an extent. It's like people were just talking about how bad their lives were or the audience is supposed to just assume it's bad. Well, that just didn't work. The adversity that everyone was facing felt like it was kind a shoved to the side so that there would be more focus on the horse. This made the intended catharsis pretty meaningless. Spielberg is better than that, and I expected him to do better.
Oh and also, War Horse was huge Oscar Bait, probably the biggest of 2011.