Sunday, January 22, 2012

War Horse

Though I don't go to the movies very often, I have been waiting for the release of Steven Spielberg's War Horse, a movie about a British young man and his horse who both become soldiers in France during World War I. During 2010's trip to London I saw the play, and it was the most incredible production I've ever seen. The entire audience was mesmerized by the storyline, the actors and the action, and we were on the edge of our seats to get resolution. What was the most powerful part of the play for me was the lack of scenery. Battles, market days in town, life in the country and other scenes were set with minimal props and backdrops. The audience was forced to use imagination and it worked very well.

A few months later I picked up the book by Michael Morpurgo that the play was based on. It's a young adult novel and only 165 pages. I liked it, but it made me appreciate the story I saw in a simple setting on stage even more.

Last weekend I saw the movie. It was very true to the bookand play, though a few things are always eliminated or shortened up to make a movie the right length. Though the parts set on the farm in the English countryside were beautiful and made me want to visit, I still think I much preferred the way I saw it on stage. I do realize, though, that a movie without scenery wouldn't necessarily go over well.

Whether you read the bookor see the movie or the play, it's a wonderful story that I'd recommend for all.

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