Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movie Reviews: War Horse and We Bought a Zoo

As I kept watching the many previews for this film, I couldn’t help but wonder would I actually like this film? After his last 2 films, Tin Tin and Indy 4, I was wondering had the director, Steven Spielberg, lost his way. I am happy to report that the director not only made a good film, he made a great one.

As this reviewer has stated in the past that he is a history major and a former US Army soldier, I take a very hard look at historical films and look for their accuracy. Sometimes the lack of accuracy doesn’t bother me (Gladiator) or the total lack of the truth (BraveHeart) will really turn me off on a film. I kept thinking about that before I went in to see the film and wondering what I would see in this film.

I can say that I saw a film that I, historically, that I actually could believe in. The idea of the film is very simple, a boy learns to train and love a horse. World War one has started and the British need all horses for the war effort and his horse is sold and the horse goes to war.

For the rest of the film I was reminded of this fact, of the million horses that were sent abroad from the UK, only 62,000 returned, the rest dying in the war or slaughtered in France for meat. World War 1 had a massive and indelible impact on the male population of the UK: 886,000 men died, one in eight of those who went to war, and 2% of the entire country's population. The film is shown through the Horses reaction and to what happened to him. The bells scenes made that fact very clear to me in the film.

My favorite part of the film is when the horse is trapped in barbed wire and a German and British Soldier both work together to free the horse. The sheer lunacy of this moment in the War made me believe in the film more, the film then takes you where usually dramas will take you, so you won’t be surprised by it but you might actually like it. The ending was pretty easy to see coming but after the adventure of this film, this is the way that this film had to end.

After the film was over, I realized that I would want to add this film to my collection and to show it to people who need to see that great films are still being made in 2011. Please see it when it plays in South Korea.

Grade A+

We Bought a Zoo

Now when I saw that Cameron Crowe had directed this film, I knew that I had to see it. I have no idea why, but I have either really liked his films or really hated them in the past with there never being any middle ground on his films. I had seen the preview and knew that the film would have some awesome music but could the rest of the film work and make this review like what he had seen and thus recommend the film to you, the reader?

The film starts off sad when you see that it is a single father trying to raise 2 kids after his wife has died. He tells his brother that he needs a new start because everywhere he goes in this town, he had memories of her. In this thinking he decides to purchase a nice house that has 1 little problem, A zoo comes with the house, and here is where the film takes off.

What I liked about the film was the story of the old tiger in the zoo and how this tiger becomes the lynchpin of the film and when you see it you’ll understand why the tiger hold a very vital part in this film. What I also liked was the young love story of, the son, Dylan and 13-year-old Lily Miska, who also works at the zoo, start a youthful romance, although Dylan is shy and uneasy initially like most 13 year old boys are at this stage of their life.

The movie is based on the story of a real zoo. The zoo in the film is called Rosemoor Wildlife Park and is based in California. The real zoo is named Dartmoor Zoological Park which is located in Devon, England. However, the fictional Rosemoor Wildlife Park is closely based on Dartmoor Zoological Park. The original story was adapted for an American audience and the changes met with the approval of the author, Benjamin Mee.

I thought the film told a good story that could have used a tighter editing but I think that the majority of the readers will like this film when it plays in Korea. Please see it when you get the chance.

Grade. B

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