Was is cute? Yes. Was it memorable? Relatively so. Do I think it should win all the awards it's up for? No. Am I glad I paid for a movie ticket and a pretzel to go see? No. Probably should have waited for Blockbuster.
I actually went to go see it Thursday with all of my fellow barn bums. Which, I will add, it is quite fun to go straight from the barn in your breeches and polos and dusty tall boots to the movies! And out of the whole group, only two of us got really choked up (I think if I had not read the book, I might have too, although I did kind of choke up one scene, but I got over it) and most of us had a great laugh about the training techniques and gasped in unison at the horse running through six strands of barbed wire and then groaning that he didn't even get a scratch! But the training has since become an ongoing joke, along the lines of "just tell him what you want him to do! It really works!"
And teaching a horse to take a harness collar by both horse and human putting their head in at the same time? Let's just say ongoing joke number two is "Let's see whose nose gets broken first!"
The cinematography was beautiful. The special effects and CGIs were incredible. Kudos to the horse trainers, because those horses were quite well-trained and believable in their actions and even had some nice expressions going on, even if they were sometimes easy to tell apart. The riding was actually quite decent (especially the calvary charge scenes, the first one actually gave me chills because it was very realistic).
There was a lot of overacting. The plot was more hoaky than it needed to be (the ending especially made me want to gag). The training inaccuaracies were a minor qualm to me compared to the general sappiness of the movie.
I think Speilberg really could have done something with this. It had the potential to be like a Schindler's List with horses: something that really moved you and really made you think about the services horses have given us in times of war and beyond. But I personally feel Disney kind of messed it up. I could definitely see their involvement, and it made the movie not enjoyable to me. I cried more and was moved more by the trailers before the movie than during the actual movie!
Disney did the same thing with Secretariat, so what was I supposed to expect?
So, it looks like Seabiscuit will remain my favorite horse movie. Because it wasn't hoaky. Because Disney didn't meddle with it. Which I guess is hard not to do with horsey movies.
But movie did make the SNL skit 10 times funnier.
And as a friend said, "If the guy who directed the trailer had done the entire movie, then we might have something to talk about."
So, sorry guys. Maybe you'll like it more than I did. I'll just hold out for Red Tails and The Hunger Games for my potential movies-of-the-year (but please read the books first, I think I will always enjoy them more than the movies, because you get more from them! Same goes with War Horse! I will always love the book... not the movie.)