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post #1 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

93






Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 146 minutes
Genre: Drama/War

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French DTS-HD 7.1 High Resolution, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Emily Watson, Jeremy Irvine, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Kross, Eddie Marsan, Liam Cunningham
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Lee Hall & Richard Curtis based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 3, 2012







"Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship..."



Film Synopsis:

“War Horse,” the Academy Award®-nominated Best Picture, is a story of incredible friendship, loyalty, courage, hope and tenacity. Based on the Tony Award®-winning play, and set against the sweeping canvas of World War I, this deeply heartfelt tale begins with the remarkable friendship between a feisty colt named Joey and his young trainer Albert (Jeremy Irvine). When they’re forced apart by war, the film follows Joey’s extraordinary journey as he changes and inspires the lives of everyone he meets. No matter where they go or what they experience both boy and horse keep forging ahead, driven by devotion and the hope of returning home.


My Take:

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo War Horse is an extraordinary journey of courage and friendship as seen through the eyes of one unforgettable horse named Joey and his miraculous journey to find his way back home. As a lover of human interest stories I looked forward seeing War Horse. Fictional or not it tells an inspiring and moving story of friendship, devotion and love between Joey and Albert. Anyone that has ever had a close relationship with a sibling, friend or pet, will appreciation the spirit of this film. While there are elements of War depicted in the film I wouldn’t classify War Horse as such. The narrative is essentially told through the experiences of Joey and follows his encounters after England enters the war. The context is emotionally stirring as it draws upon the humanity found in the story’s characters which is brought forth by their interaction with Joey and to a lesser extent, Albert.
I liked how the story was segmented which allowed a personal portrayal of the brief relationships Joey had during his journey to be realized and ultimately fulfilling. The story contains palpable suspense, enriching melodrama, and emphasizes our humanity even under the inhumane trials of war. War Horse is a bit on the schmaltzy side but it’s easy to get lost in the film’s thematic warmth, engaging visuals and timeless subject matter. Coupled with that, I enjoyed its epic scope, superb production value and wonderful assortment of characters as portrayed by a noteworthy cast of acting talent. The end result is a thoroughly entertaining and heartwarming film that touched my whole family.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of war violence.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 96

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency extension:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:


Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black level/Shadow detail:
  • Color reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:
War Horse comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.5 Mbps.
Having not seen this film theatrically I had high hopes for this video presentation and Disney didn’t disappoint. Images have a resplendent quality with punchy contrast and high level detail. It obvious that Director Spielberg utilizes varying visual characterizes which can be scene specific to capture the look he wants. The period clothing leans more toward beige, gray and sepia tones that made many scenes appear to be less colorful. The earth toned colors found in the sweeping pans and vista views of the English countryside are vivid, rich in texture and look great in high definition. Flesh tones have excellent tonal delineation, with the fairer complexions appearing just shy of ashen while remaining lifelike. The dark grays, blues, greens and blacks that represent the film’s barren and war torn sequences are gradationally revealing with appreciable depth and contrast. Resolution is excellent as images have a visually satisfying and crisp dimensional quality that enhances perception in both close ups and wide angle camera pans. Sharpness is rarely called into question and any subtle variations appear innate to the photography. I found this to be a filmic presentation that yielded excellent picture quality with no signs of video related anomalies or artifacts.


The 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA surround mix is impressive and of reference quality. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue and music to thunderous, dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is sublime. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive nature and power of charging horses, artillery fire/exploding shells and clapping thunder pulsates with superior authority and resonating deep bass transients. The lavish music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and sounds wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This is an impressive audio/video presentation that took this home theater experience to a higher level.

** For those seeking to get details on the measured bass performance found on this soundtrack visit the Bass Movie Measurements Google document found HERE that contains links to the measured data obtained by Data-Bass.com. You can also visit The New Master List of Bass in Movies with frequency charts thread to discuss right here on AVS.**

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:
  • (HD) War Horse: The journey home – 19 minute roundtable featuring director Steven Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy and member of the cast
  • (HD) An extra’s point of view – 3 minute featurette

  • Disc 2:
  • (HD) A filmmaking journey – 64 minute documentary
  • (HD) Editing & scoring – 8 minute featurette
  • (HD) The sounds of War Horse – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) Through the producer’s lens – 4 minute featurette hosted by Kathleen Kennedy

  • Disc 3:
  • Bonus DVD of War Horse

  • Disc 4:
  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc of War Horse

Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo War Horse is an extraordinary journey of courage and friendship as seen through the eyes of one unforgettable horse named Joey and his miraculous journey to find his way back home. Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, War Horse is a thoroughly entertaining, heart warming and epic film that my whole family enjoyed. It comes to Blu-ray in a strong offering that includes an excellent technical presentation coupled along with a comprehensive supplemental package that features Blu-ray Disc exclusives. War Horse is highly recommended viewing and its release on Blu-ray Disc from Disney sweetens the deal. Enjoy!















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 11:00 AM
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Saw the movie in the theater, and enjoyed it. However, never thought of this movie as Oscar caliber.
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post #3 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 11:43 AM
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Actually, I just saw this yesterday at a local second-run theater in town because from what I had heard, it would suffer on the smaller screen at home. I agree totally with the review of the film itself, and it sounds like the blue ray version may actually look better than the projection print I saw at the theater!
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post #4 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 02:49 PM
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I absolutely loved this movie. The scene when Joey confronts the tank (and what follows) deserves to go down as one of the greatest ever filmed, in my opinion.
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post #5 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 04:58 PM
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Thanks Ralph,

This is on the top of my list!

Nice Stuff!
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post #6 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 05:27 PM
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Looking forward to it! There's just something about horse movies.

How about a full restoration of The Black Stallion. Stunning cinematography by Caleb Deschanel Sorry for the derail.

Great review as usual Ralph.

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post #7 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 08:10 PM
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Gonna pick this up...thanks King P !
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post #8 of 42 Old 03-26-2012, 10:45 PM
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Thanks Ralph I will definitely watch this.

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post #9 of 42 Old 03-27-2012, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCCaniac View Post

Actually, I just saw this yesterday at a local second-run theater in town because from what I had heard, it would suffer on the smaller screen at home. I agree totally with the review of the film itself, and it sounds like the blue ray version may actually look better than the projection print I saw at the theater!

I find that the BD version of movies look much better than their counterparts at the theater. Day 1 purchase for me!
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post #10 of 42 Old 03-27-2012, 06:22 PM
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Ah, yet another release that I would not have looked twice at, were it not recommended here. I'll be picking this up.
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post #11 of 42 Old 03-27-2012, 08:32 PM
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saw this in a second run theater. Gotta admit the start of the film was eh. Bit biased since I'm not really a fan of the animal films but dang in the end the lfe was pretty darn good! I'll be picking this up

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #12 of 42 Old 03-27-2012, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph.

I had been considering passing on this one, but after reading your review it's sounding pretty good, so I might go for it!

oz
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post #13 of 42 Old 03-28-2012, 02:16 PM
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Ralph,

The composer John Williams first came into my life with a literal bang with the first strains of the theme from Star Wars, back in 1977, in the original movie (when it was still called only "Star Wars"). From that moment, I've been a life-long fan.

I have had the fortune to see John Williams a few times, conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in special programs featuring movie music, with one show featuring only his scores. He is truly a treasure and should be regarded as one of the great living composers.

So it was with great joy that I heard that he was scoring War Horse, and equally joyous to hear your review of the audio as being stellar. I have yet to see the movie, but have it pre-ordered and am very much looking forward to a great experience. I know that the music of John Williams will be an integral part of that wonderful experience.
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post #14 of 42 Old 03-29-2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCCaniac View Post

Actually, I just saw this yesterday at a local second-run theater in town because from what I had heard, it would suffer on the smaller screen at home. I agree totally with the review of the film itself, and it sounds like the blue ray version may actually look better than the projection print I saw at the theater!

Why would this movie "suffer" on a small screen in our homes? Are you talking about impact or PQ?

home theater addict
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post #15 of 42 Old 03-31-2012, 02:42 AM
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I'm anxious to sample the 7.1 surround on the home setup.
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post #16 of 42 Old 04-02-2012, 09:23 AM
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Amazon's price dropped today, so I ordered it. Really looking forward to watching this one at home
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post #17 of 42 Old 04-02-2012, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saprano View Post

Why would this movie "suffer" on a small screen in our homes? Are you talking about impact or PQ?

I'm sure he meant "impact".

Some of us, Ralph included, have dedicated rooms with projection screens, and very good audio systems. I don't find the at home experience lacking at all.

I'm looking forward to this as well.

Art
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post #18 of 42 Old 04-05-2012, 12:01 PM
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It's rare to have a movie move me so emotionally that I can feel myself getting a bit choked up, I know there's been a handful of films that have done this for me in the past - the one that stands out in my mind the most is Last Samurai when the Samurai's son sacrifices his life to save the others and gets shot several times by the soldiers.

Well towards the end of War Horse, I could feel myself getting a bit choked up in a couple spots and for someone who doesn't cry, I must say, I love it when movies move me so much!

The beginning of the film was a bit slow, but I felt it was very important to the back story of Joey and the movie just gets better from there. I'm a bit surprised that the LFE only received 4.5 stars, but I think this is probably because of how low it extended and that it didn't seem to reach down into the teen Hz, but there were several scenes with very good bass detail for the points noted in Ralph's review. Watching this movie with my nieces and nephews was lot of fun because of the amount of surround detail - the kids would look to the sides (mostly the left surround channel) on a number of occasions thinking something was happening over there. Video was also beautiful! Spielberg did a great job with camera angle and using a lot of foreground, mid-ground and background in several shots. I especially liked how he left out the lens flare in this movie as opposed to several of his other films.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable movie and I believe it's one worth adding to my selective collection and taking the time to post my thoughts on!

Josh
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post #19 of 42 Old 04-05-2012, 01:16 PM
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Did not like this movie at all, although PQ/AQ are quite good. I find the story to be obvious, poorly written and overly patronizing. I also have a huge problem with the depiction of extreme cruelty to animals, but that's a separate concern. Suffice it to say that anyone who has difficulty viewing animal cruelty should not see this film. But aside from that, there are no surprises in this story and its mostly just playing on people's emotions. It's also not a credible story.
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post #20 of 42 Old 04-12-2012, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Did not like this movie at all, although PQ/AQ are quite good. I find the story to be obvious, poorly written and overly patronizing. I also have a huge problem with the depiction of extreme cruelty to animals, but that's a separate concern. Suffice it to say that anyone who has difficulty viewing animal cruelty should not see this film. But aside from that, there are no surprises in this story and its mostly just playing on people's emotions. It's also not a credible story.

Have to agree that the PQ and AQ were very good but the movie itself was not. I almost turned it off. The story itself was patronizing and predictable and completely unbelievable. I was OK with the limited cruelty actually shown (much more was implied), but feel it was only used to illicit an emotional response that for me and mine was contrived at best. Sorry to be such a downer.
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post #21 of 42 Old 04-13-2012, 09:22 AM
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I found this movie to be highly predictable and cartoonish. Totally unbelievable and Disney-esque. It sounded good though.

Kaboom.
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post #22 of 42 Old 04-21-2012, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Did not like this movie at all, although PQ/AQ are quite good. I find the story to be obvious, poorly written and overly patronizing. I also have a huge problem with the depiction of extreme cruelty to animals, but that's a separate concern. Suffice it to say that anyone who has difficulty viewing animal cruelty should not see this film. But aside from that, there are no surprises in this story and its mostly just playing on people's emotions. It's also not a credible story.

I did appreciate that you had offered your observations on the animal cruelty aspect. I would rate that as very important to me, as it can actually render something unwatchable -- certainly something real, as in documentary cruelty, gets turned off immediately -- cannot and will not stand for that, and very low tolerance of fake cruelty.

I had already ordered it by the time I read what you had to say, and was afraid going in. Was on the alert to shut it down as I watched today, but I had a different take on it. What I saw was that the horse became the touchstone for spontaneous gestures/restoration of humanity in the midst of the dehumanizing context. The "cruelty" depicted was, I suppose, that animals should have ever been dragged into conflict at all, but the horse had protectors at every juncture.

There was a scene of hauling artillery that was meant to suggest arduousness. Another where the horse injures himself. While not necessarily pleasant to picture, I don't think we were into an area of depiction of humans inflicting sadistic cruelty for its own sake, so it was bearable.

Will absolutely confirm PQ and AQ of the highest standards. Happy to own this.
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post #23 of 42 Old 04-22-2012, 09:09 AM
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I watched last night and enjoye it. Yes the storyline is a bit not plausible but that's okay. The scenery and war scenes were quite spectacular.

Perhaps Joey was bad luck and perhaps I would not want him as bad things seem to happen to those who's life he crossed except Albert. The scene from the windmill and the two boys was quite haunting. That scene really tugged me.

I thought about the movie again this morning and perhaps not a repeat film for me after another viewing but I would like to take the visuals and story in again. The acting was stellar by all and some very heartfelt scenes.

A good change from the superhero, animated and action films as of late for me. A good movie to see just to take a break from the above.

Oh the final scenes with the sun setting or rising, not sure which, was spectacular on my set. A very good film.

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post #24 of 42 Old 04-25-2012, 05:56 PM
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If someone has a used copy of the Blu ray that they are interested in selling let me know!!
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post #25 of 42 Old 04-26-2012, 03:36 AM
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Wife and I both Loved it!!! and the soundtrack really shook the house! Especially the war scenes...
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post #26 of 42 Old 04-26-2012, 05:31 AM
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If someone has a used copy of the Blu ray that they are interested in selling let me know!!

I would if it wasn't for the war scenes. Good demo material

Kaboom.
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post #27 of 42 Old 04-30-2012, 03:06 AM
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This has been released here finally will get a chance to watch tonight.

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post #28 of 42 Old 04-30-2012, 10:38 AM
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This film was fantastic, it will be one ill be adding to my collection for sure. A+ for me. The lfe was also very good but for me its the story that won me over.

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post #29 of 42 Old 04-30-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post

I would if it wasn't for the war scenes. Good demo material

Agreed, the story line was saccharine and the dialog was at times, laughable (a young neighborhood kid suggested that a team of dachshunds puling the canon up the hill would have made the film much better ... and I agree ).

Honestly, this is one where I was sorry I did the blind buy.

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post #30 of 42 Old 05-01-2012, 07:56 PM
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I didn't think I would like this film but I absolutely loved it. To me the story was not obvious or entirely predictable like I thought it would be.

Thanks for the great review Ralph, this one's going in my collection.

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