DreamWorks Pictures' eagerly anticipated film “War Horse” has been given a big thumbs-up by the UK’s foremost equestrian charity, The British Horse Society (BHS).
A group from the BHS, including 30 of the charity’s horse welfare volunteers, competition winners and BHS President Martin Clunes, were treated to a private screening of the film on Sunday 8 January, before it had even premiered in the UK. With hardly a dry eye in the cinema at the end, it was fair to say that it was a hit with the equestrian enthusiasts.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Pictures' “War Horse” is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. A successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit and now comes to the big screen.
The epic adventure begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets – British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter – before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land.
BHS President Martin Clunes loved the film and is excited about the focus it will bring to the horse. “It’s a fabulous film and because it’s Spielberg it’s going to be seen by all sorts of people who wouldn’t necessarily read the book or go and see the play.
“There’s no anthropomorphism in the film. It’s all about real horses behaving like horses with the characters relating to them in the way that any horse lover would. So it will show people what marvellous creatures they are and hopefully encourage people who don’t go near horses to discover what they have to offer.”
Lisa Draper, a BHS welfare volunteer from Warwickshire found the film incredibly powerful. “It is a stunning film,” she says, “quite brilliant. It is amazingly passionate and really emphasises the bond between horses and people who love them. I feel very emotional, not just because it is an incredibly moving story, but because it also brings it home to us what really happened to horses during the war and what amazing, courageous and brave animals they are.”