Zoë's Book Review: WAR HORSE - THE MAKING OF THE MOTION PICTURE
Published: January 3, 2012 - 6:45pm
This hardcover edition is filled with beautiful photography of Spielberg’s film in two-page spread layouts; however, it’s hardly rewarding in the long run. Compared to other 'making of' movie table books, this title barely gives behind-the-scenes insight into how the movie was created beyond what could have been found utilizing a Google image search.
The first 75% of this collection is comprised of photo stills of the movie itself highlighted by quotes from the actors, screenwriter, director, producers and book author who offer small bits of reflection about the film. Unfortunately rest of the text found within that first 3/4 are simply quotes from the book or the script of the film. This along with the fact that the photos follow the film's story linearly, it feels as though you are reading an overpriced child’s novelization of the movie.
It’s not until 112 pages in (out of 128 paged book) that we reach the actual 'Making of War Horse'. Now we have extended quotes from the cast and crew about their difficulty on the film's set -- such as shooting nearly the entire movie outdoors and dealing with horses as actors. Finally, in the last few pages we are given concept art of the landscapes of the film and one page of storyboards.
For such a creative team behind the property I was expecting more from this book. I would have liked to see a better layout of information delineating how the film was actually made instead of being retold the entire film by way of stills. I would have appreciated it more if it had been marketed as a photography book tie-in, then I would have set my expectations accordingly. Regardless, I do feel that those who loved this film through and through will essentially appreciate this release.
Brimming with more than 140 dramatic images, this is the stunning, visual companion to Steven Spielberg's epic adventure, set in rural England and Europe, about a young man and his horse and their separate journeys through the battlefields of the First World War. One of the great stories of friendship and war, the successful novel War Horse not only inspired the award-winning stage play, but also inspired one of the great directors in film history to commit his talent, vision, and resources to make this extraordinary movie, which was shot in the countryside of England.
"I first fell in love with the story of War Horse because I was moved by the relationship between a boy and an animal in Michael Morpurgo's novel and the screenplay by Richard Curtis and Lee Hall," writes Steven Spielberg in his foreword. "But, ultimately, I made it because of what the book and the screenplay say about courage. I t is about the courage of the horse Joey and what he endures to survive, and the courage of Albert in his attempt to find his best friend in a time of war. With every frame of this film, it was my hope to issue a call for courage in our daily lives. A call to ‘be brave.'"
Additional forewords by producer Kathleen Kennedy, novelist Michael Morpurgo, and co-screenwriter Richard Curtis reveal their feelings about the story and the process of moving it from page to screen. The main body of the book is divided into three sections:
Part 1: Joey's Journey—A visual retelling, along with script excerpts and filmmakers' comments, of the journey taken by Joey, the horse trained by his beloved Albert, from the striking verdant countryside of Dartmoor, Devon, to training in the British cavalry, to trench warfare in France.
Part 2: The Making of War Horse—An insider's glimpse of the movie-making process highlighted with fascinating insights from the international cast and the crew about the casting, locations, costumes, horse training, and much more.
Part 3: The History of War Horses—An illuminating section on the role of horses in battle, illustrated with iconic images from history, vivid drawings, paintings and photographs.
This beautiful book is a testament to what can be done when people become impassioned about a goal. As producer Kathleen Kennedy expresses in her foreword: "War Horse was one of those unusual productions that comes together in an incredibly short time, and for all the right reasons."
Publisher: Newmarket Press