Why the long face? Spielberg's new movie: war as seen by a horse


4th May 2010

After he's done with TinTin, Steven Spielberg will direct War Horse: a World War I story set from the point of view of, um, a horse. Seriously. Wanted: a Saving Private Ryan pun, but with horses.

That Steven Spielberg is a wily one. One second he's directing a remake of Korean cult classic Old Boy. Then he's circling a project called Robopocalypse. Then he pretends he's still working on his Abraham Lincoln biopic. Hmm. That sounds very much like fake typing coming from your office, Steven. Are you even in there? Steven?

Now CHUD say that Spielberg's next directorial project will be an adaptation of War Horse, a book by author Michael Morpugo about a horse that sees action on both sides of World War I.

"The film will be based on Michael Morpugo's novel about WWI told from the point of view of a horse who experiences life on both sides of the trenches. Morpugo's children's book sees Joey, an English horse, getting sold to the army.

In France he charges into battle but is captured by the Germans, who use him to pull an ambulance cart. Along the way he sees the horror and terror of World War I's indiscriminate slaughter."
The movie will be adapted for the screen by Spielberg, Richard Curtis (*grits teeth*) and the writer of Billy Elliot. WOW SOUNDS GOOD, HA HA, I CAN'T WAIT! AM I BEING LOUD? SORRY, HA HA! IS IT HOT IN HERE? I BETTER LEAVE.

Ignore my bare-ass minimum research and forgive me for not reading the book before commenting, but how exactly does one convey emotion through a horse's face? I guess Nicolas Cage has managed okay so far. One hoof trot for 'happy', two for 'sad'. Three and a whinny for 'I have daddy issues'. Unless, of course, they give the horse a voiceover. Phone your bookie and put a grand on Tom Hanks.

I'm having trouble with this concept in general, to be quite honest. War is hell, we're lucky enough not to have lived it, blah blah blah. Look, I've got Band Of Brothers on Blu-ray, I've seen the horrors. The episodes are, like, 60 minutes long. Each. I can't imagine anyone out there thinking, "I've seen dozens of war movies, but I've always wondered: how did the horses feel about it all?"

Neigh-ving Private Ryan? I'll keep trying.

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