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We all know about the tragedies of World War II, but few can experience through the eyes of an animal. In the moving, action-packed, Oscar-nominated film “War Horse” directed by Steven Spielberg, a strong-willed and intelligent thoroughbred horse with chestnut brown color and four white socks is separated from his teenage owner Albert who named him “Joey.” His life as a farm workhorse changed dramatically into a war horse fighting in the British cavalry against the Germans in World War II. Joey’s fate changed hands from a variety of owners, from Albert, to a British army commander, a young farm girl, two German army deserters, and others along the way.
The film is about the kindness and ruthlessness of people during the war. Toward the end, there is a touching scene where a British soldier and his enemy – a German soldier, laid down their arms in a temporary truce, in order to save Joey from coils of jagged, barbed wire.
I really like how the story is told through the perspective of the horse because it is a unique angle rarely seen in live action films. I noticed that people are kinder and more merciful to animals than to their fellow humans. Some part of the film is a little too slow in pace, such as the scene with the British and German soldier trying to save Joey.
I give “War Horse” 4 starfish. I recommend this film to those who are 10 and older, though there are some fighting scenes.
Moral: Even in the most dangerous of situations, altruism and kindness prevail.
“War Horse” Blu-Ray DVD 4-disc combo was released on April 3, 2012, with lots of special features, including director and producer interview, behind-the-scenes about how the film was made, and music scores. Get your own copy!
Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning film/ entertainment critic & animator, artist, speaker, and entertainment personality. He started writing movie reviews at 8 using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, under the guidance of his mom Dr. Zhu Shen and his 3rd grade teacher Ms. Harris. Perry’s debut on the CBS Evening News in 2009 made him a national sensation. He has been featured extensively on local, national, and international media, including NPR, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, The China Press, and many more. He has interviewed prominent filmmakers at film festivals, red carpet premieres, and press junkets. He won a prestigious “Excellence in Journalism Award” at the San Diego Press Club in 2010 as its youngest member. Perry currently writes movie reviews for the Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews website with a combined readership of over 2 million worldwide. Perry and his family live in the community of Carmel Valley San Diego.
Dr. Zhu Shen’s love for the movies started when she was a young girl, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where watching movies was the only entertainment available to the masses. Her journey to become a filmmaker took a convoluted path. She studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College before coming to the US and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado, and then an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School. She is a producer of the upcoming documentary feature “Average Joe on the Raw,” about journey into raw food and health. Dr. Shen is also an award-winning biotech executive, author, speaker, China business expert featured on national and trade media including CBS, Fox, Business Week, Pharmaceutical Executive, and more. She has worked at IBM, Bayer, Chiron, Immusol, and is the CEO of BioForesight, consulting on cross-Pacific life science business. *Photos of Perry Chen and Zhu Shen by Brian Bostrom.