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Thursday, December 22, 2011

War Horse

(not a war horse)

****SPOILERS**** (but not for “War Horse”)

I face a new dilemma this week. Should I go see the movie “War Horse” or should I abstain? Why is it that when an animal stars in a movie I spend the entire movie hoping like crazy they don’t kill it? And worse, why do they have to kill animals in movies?

I like movies that end happily. Yes, I know, I’m a writer. I understand that conflict and high emotions are necessary for an interesting story. Yes, no one wants to watch a movie where everyone muddles through their drab, every day just as they did the day before with nothing happening but why kill the animals?

No, I prefer movies like Disney’s “Thomasina” where the cat goes through turmoil and conflict but eventually returns home and lives happily ever after. I get really mad at movies like “Ole Yeller”. I mean, how did they know the dog was rabid? Really. Couldn’t have just gone crazy because they kept him locked in a dark, dank closet of a shed? Again, I know, back then the science wasn’t up to the task of answering that question and they couldn’t take the chance. But I didn’t like that movie ending!

Now, I’m not saying the horse dies in “War Horse” because I don’t know what happens. I haven’t read the book, nor have I seen the play. I’m only guessing after doing some amateur detective work. I figure if the book was a kid’s book it must be something like Black Beauty. The story traces the horse’s life through many changes of owners and many life experiences but eventually returns home where he belongs. From what I’ve read I imagine the horse dies in the play though. It has been called an “adult version” of the book. That means death to me.

By web surfing I’ve found statements from people who’ve seen the pre-release version of the movie that indicate horrific conditions. Of course, it is a war movie so you’d expect that. Supposedly zillions of people and horses die violently, traitors are shot, some are gassed (but they say it isn’t bloody, huh?). I’ve read that even men are crying all through the movie. But the one statement that causes me some problems is when I read that Joey (the horse) goes through a particularly barbaric experience that will jar the viewers. That is a strong statement. But does it mean death? I don’t know.

For more information about the horses in World War I you might visit the following website:

Are you going to see “War Horse?” I still don’t know if I can stomach it but I may go see it anyway. I’ll let you know if I do.

I love hearing from you. Let me know what you think. Have you read this book or seen the play? Are you going to the movie?

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