Sunday, July 24, 2011


Steven Spielberg hasn’t directed a movie since Indiana Jones limped back onto the big screen and whipped the audience until we paid him to leave. Three years later, the most successful director of all time is returning with War Horse, a historical drama based on the Tony-winning play. While the subject (a boy and his horse are separated by war and do a bunch of heroic stuff) doesn’t seem to fit into Spielberg’s typical interests, the trailer shows that this is going to be an extremely Spielbergian film. Here are the top five reasons why:

5. Kids gaze in wonder at amazing things.

Look at the amazed expression in this boy’s eyes. What’s he looking at? ET? The lost ark? Dinosaurs? It doesn’t matter. This is the default expression for any Spielberg kid. (And for the record, I’m guessing he’s looking at a horse. Don’t ask me why.)

If that wasn’t enough wonderment, his sister does the same thing. I presume every time Spielberg auditions another kid for his movies, he skips the dialog and goes straight toward the gazing-at-the-beauty-of-the-world section.

4. A harried parental figure reconnects with her child after said child goes on adventures.

Recognize that face? Dee Wallace Stone had that same face when she realized her son was growing up and saving aliens. Robin Williams had that face when he rescued his children from Captain Hook. Tom Cruise had that face when he realized that both his kids survived those germ-infested aliens. You simply can’t have a movie about adventurous kids without at least one moment when the parent looks like she’s about to wet herself.

3. Siblings hate each other, but they really don’t.

See these kids? They will fight and be competitive and probably race each other through the streets, but they will always share a deep brotherly connection.

2. Old people are wise and tell us stories.

Like this guy. I bet he has been on lots of adventures and will tell you about all of them whilst lounging next to a fire and a rug.

1. The main kid lives in a small town and will race through it.

Take a look back at Spielberg movies starring kids. They invariably have anyone under 18 racing through their surroundings, ET-style. Bonus points if the setting in an idealized small town and/or set during a major world war.

BONUS LESSON: There will also be parades. Ever since Sugarland Express, Spielberg has shown a big fat hard-on for parades.

But all-in-all, this film is going to be a crowd-pleaser with some beautiful scenery.

You can’t see me right now, but I’m gazing in wonder.

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