War Horse Blu-Ray A Reminder of What’s Missing

Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is now on DVD and Blu-ray, and even without watching it again, its bonus disc reminds me just how much the movie comes so close to being great, but completely misses the mark. To call War Horse hollow is unfair – the movie is technically beautiful and not without heart – but it definitely lacks the emotion and grit expected from a Steven Spielberg war movie.

I’ve talked with many people that called War Horse "the best movie of the year", but I don’t buy it. The movie was made to win Oscars, but that doesn’t mean it earned it. From the score to the visuals to everything else, War Horse becomes too caught up in itself, ultimately diverting from what it needed to be: a tale of survival, of emotion, and of war.

The 4-disc combo pack, which also comes with a DVD and digital copy, gives audiences a small inside look at the making of the movie, which exemplify how Spielberg and his crew became misguided, if only just a little.

The hour-long making-of featurette offers incredible detail into the filmmaking process, but everyone interviewed talks about the sets, the horses, the visuals and casting, but not about the story they were trying to tell. They are so caught up with the technical details that no one stepped back to ask: what are we trying to tell?

The rest of the bonus features are surprisingly lackluster, especially for a 4-disc Steven Spielberg release. There are a few short featurettes about the editing, scoring and sounds, which are all fine in their own right but feel as though they were separated from the larger making-of featurette for the sake of quantity.

Still, for what it’s worth, the featurettes do a good job of showing what went into what could only be described as a very challenging film to make. And in fairness, the movie is still good. It just isn’t the masterpiece it so desperately wants to be.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Drama Movies, DVD Releases, Family Movies, War Movies