Sunday, February 5, 2012

Horses and Zebras

War Horse

Normally I don't like animal movies.  Yes, I find them inspiring, but too often the animal dies in the end and leaves me feeling depressed. This one was different.  I absolutely loved this movie. 
Basically, the story begins with a middle-aged man buying a horse against his better judgment; he needed a work-horse and he bought a young show horse.  He brings it home, and his son Albert forms a very special bond with the animal.  The two seem to understand each other in a deep, beautiful way.  But, due to a financial crisis within the family, the father sneaks off early in the morning to sell the horse to the French army, looking for troops at the beginning of World War I.  The story follows the horse as he is traded from one owner to another, and those watching get a glimpse of how the war is affecting different people.  The story also follows Albert, who joins the army as soon as he is old enough in order to find his beloved horse.

What I Liked:

This movie was wonderful.  There were no inappropriate scenes, the curse words were minimal (I'm having trouble remembering any), and nothing was too graphic, despite the fact that the PG-13 rating is due to the war scenes.  The characters are so real and beautifully written.  This movie truly has the depth, beauty, excitement, and morals that make a film worth watching.  There is even a scene where a soldier begins to recite Psalm 23.

Possible Concerns:

Since it is a war movie, there are some sad scenes and quite a few deaths.

I recommend this movie to everyone.  My brother and I loved it; this film is one of the rare movies coming out now that actually support Christian morals, honest characters, and quality material.

We Bought a Zoo

My brother and I went to go see this movie seeing the cute trailer, and after seeing it "cute" is really the best way to describe it.  It is about a widower, Benjamin Mee, who has spent his whole life living on the edge thanks to his job as a reporter.  He has done just about everything, and is afraid of hardly anything.  After his son, who is depressed after his mother's death and has begun to draw morbid pictures as a way to release this depression, is expelled from school, Benjamin decides it's time for himself, his son, and his seven-year old daughter to start a new life, to begin again.  They begin house-hunting, and upon driving up to a run-down house in a beautiful landscape decide they are meant to have it.  That is, until they find out it's a zoo, and anyone who buys the house must agree to re-open and run it.  Despite his misgivings, Benjamin buys the house after seeing how happy his daughter looks, happier than she's looked in a long time.  The movie tells of the difficulties of their new life, the strained relationship between Benjamin and his son, and the family's new relationships with the surviving zoo employees.

What I Liked:

It is obvious from the very beginning of the movie that Benjamin was completely in love with his wife, and this love continues through the entire film.  His devotion is truly touching, as is his love for his kids.  This love is seen more strongly in his relationship with his daughter, but as the movie progresses and the father and son get through their difficulties with each other, the love becomes apparent there, too.

Possible Concerns:

Despite being advertised as a family-friendly film, there is cursing in this movie.  A couple times the words are yelled, a couple times just thrown into regular conversation, which was very disappointing.  The son's morbid pictures are very disturbing, one in particular being hard to look at, so preview the movie before showing to young viewers.  Also, the ring-leader of the zoo employees is a straight-forward 28-year old female, who tells Benjamin that if she "wanted to kiss him, he wouldn't have a choice."  And, later on in the movie, she proves her point.  It's hard to tell if their relationship is pursued on a romantic level, but I was pretty disappointed to see a romance between them at all, since he had only been a widow for six months.  But, I will say, that even though this does happen, the movie ends with Benjamin acting out the day he met his wife for his kids; a very sweet scene.

Overall, this was one of those movies that might be fun to rent for a movie night, but I wouldn't buy a copy.  Not exactly family-friendly, unfortunately.  But, I still feel like Benjamin was one of the more positive father figures to emerge in recent movies.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

God Bless.

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