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Review: War Horse

A veritable, old-fashioned story
By GERALD PEARY  |  December 20, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

'Tis the season for old-timey movie references (The Artist, Hugo), and Steven Spielberg joins in with War Horse and its homages to John Ford (an opening honoring The Quiet Man and a conclusion from The Searchers) and to World War I classics (The Big Parade, All Quiet on the Western Front). There's also one heck of a veritable, old-fashioned story, about a fabulous horse, Joey, who passes from plowing fields to fending for himself on the European front in 1914, meanwhile being passed from hand to hand, soldier to soldier, side to side, and suffering nobly and courageously, Black Beauty-style. War Horse is corny, sentimental, overlong, but also spectacular at times, even stirring. Spielberg sure knows how to orchestrate a big-budget popular movie.

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