Monday, 13 February 2012

Very Good – But I Think The Book Is Better

Thanks to Mark's Christmas Gift – a Vue Cinema Voucher, this afternoon we went to see War Horse

it’s a weepie!

I am not going to spoil it for those who you who have yet to read the book, or see the film. Michael Morpurgo writes cracking good stories – and I suppose Steven Spielberg and Richard Curtis have to modify the tale to make it appropriate for the big screen.

In the book, the story is told by the horse, Joey – and it would probably sound daft to have someone doing an equine voiceover. So they introduce different human characters in order to put the story across, and tweak the story in quite a few places.


I am not convinced they were all necessary additions or changes– nor do I understand why they had to replace a Welshman talking about Rugby with a Geordie discussing German Frauleins giving massages.

Anthony Bloom [in the credits as “Goose Trainer”] did a good job training the goose. The goose is not in the book, but I think he may be in the stage play.

warhorse goose

The final scenes of Albert’s mother, Rose, at the farm were shot at sunset and all very lovely, throat-catchingly beautiful stuff. They looked just like this picture. Except that picture below is Vivien Leigh, in Gone With The Wind!

gwtw hungry

And what do the other critics say?

Sue, our Librarian, said to me that she found the film “quite long, and Disney-esque” and I am inclined to agree, Spielberg has poured excessive emotional syrup over it .

Bob said there was no proper sense of time, showing the whole thing covered the four years of WW1 – he likened it to “Saving Private Ryan For Horses”.

Mrs Morpurgo apparently commented on the basic errors made at the beginning of the film whilst the horse was ploughing – but otherwise Mr & Mrs M have remained largely silent about the project [very wise]

Kate went with Prince William, and she cried.

I cried too, copiously. I started weeping at the point when the young boys were marching off to die in the trenches, for the sheer folly of it all – and wept again in the sad bits and the touching bits…

You’ll just have to go and see it for yourself – or be like Liz, wait for the DVD, and then you can weep in private!


  1. I must see this, I've taught the book for years , along with Private Peaceful, usually to year 7 or 8. I can't read the last chapter of Private Peaceful and I cry if I even try. I get the class to read a sentence each.

  2. I do the 'ugly cry' so this will be an 'at home' experience.
    Jane x

  3. There is a goose in the stage show - which is absolutely amazing, the skill of the puppeteers is just incredible. My youngest has read a couple of Morpurgos, but I've not read War Horse. I'm not sure if I'll watch the film as I enjoyed the play so much.

  4. It's one of those books that I prefer to remain as a book, rather than be turned into a film.

  5. We're going to read Warhouse as our bedtime chapter book after the first Wombles book, which we're only half way through! Probably won't be finished with it before next Book Club for which Warhorse is the book of the month. Am lloking forward to it very much- so will save the movie on DVD for such time as the book has been read! Bad enough that they're through to the last Potter movie before we've touched any of the tomes...


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