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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

War Horse 4-Disc Combo Pack [Blu-ray]


(Steven Spielberg, 2011)


 Also 2-disc Blu-ray Edition Available:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: DreamWorks SKG

Video: Touchstone / Disney



Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:26:39.949

Disc Size: 42,800,672,837 bytes

Feature Size: 38,716,035,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.22 Mbps

Chapters: 27

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 3rd, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4859 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4859 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD High-Res Audio French 2046 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 2046 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none



War Horse: The Journey Home -- Discover How This Extraordinary Film Came To The Screen With Steven Spielberg, The Production Team And Cast (19:34)
• An Extra's Point Of View -- Experience The Shoot From The Perspective Of A "Background Artist" (3:06)

Blu-ray 2
A Filmmaking Journey -- Join Director-Producer Steven Spielberg For An Unprecedented Look Into The Making Of War Horse, And Learn Why The Film Was Both A Filmmaking Journey...And A Journey Of The Heart (1:04:14)
Editing & Scoring -- Steven Spielberg, Editor Michael Kahn And Composer John Williams Discuss The Film's Editing And Music, As Well As The Secret Of Their Forty-Year Collaboration (8:53)
The Sounds Of War Horse -- Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom Explains The Movie's Sophisticated Sound Design (7:13)

Through The Producer's Lens -- Producer Kathleen Kennedy Shares Photos She Took During Filming (4:04)

• DVD Feature Film + Bonus
• Digital Copy Of Feature Film





Description: From legendary director Steven Spielberg comes the epic adventure War Horse, a tale of incredible loyalty, hope, and tenacity. Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play, and set against the sweeping canvas of World War I, this deeply heartfelt story begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and his young trainer Albert. When they’re forced apart by war, we follow Joey’s extraordinary journey as he changes and inspires the lives of everyone he meets. Filled with spectacularly rich visuals — and complete with never-before-seen bonus features — War Horse is a “Genuine movie masterpiece,” (Rex Reed, The New York Observer) and one of the most powerful and moving stories of friendship ever told.



The Film:

Director Steven Spielberg's epic World War I drama details the remarkable bond between a man named Albert (Jeremy Irvine)... and his loyal horse, Joey. Adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse follows the growing friendship between man and beast as Albert trains Joey, and then follows Joey on an incredible journey across the English countryside after the pair are forcibly separated. Along the way, Joey touches the lives of everyone he comes into contact with, including British and German soldiers, as well as a kindly French farmer and his impressionable granddaughter. Later, in no man's land, Joey's extraordinary saga winds to a poignant and deeply affecting climax.


You may find yourself resisting this sentimental pageant of early-20th-century rural English life, replete with verdant fields, muddy tweeds and damp turnips, but my strong advice is to surrender. Allow your sped-up, modern, movie-going metabolism, accelerated by a diet of frantic digital confections — including Mr. Spielberg’s just-released “Adventures of Tintin” — to calm down a bit. Suppress your instinctive impatience, quiet the snarky voice in your head and allow yourself to recall, or perhaps to discover, the deep pleasures of sincerity.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

War Horse has many very strong visual attributes that are well supported by the Touchstone Blu-ray. The image quality is brilliant. The dual-layered 1080P captures the film's style with some background soft-focus that gives it a thick film-like appearance.  Impressive Autumn-  pallet colors shot in Surrey and Devon in the UK accentuate with beauty country vistas making the film frequently look like late 19th century painting. Daylight scenes dominate and contrast is excellent without a hint of digital noise. This Blu-ray supplies an authentic replication of the theatrical intent looking like a film made 50-years ago - but pristinely clean and highly detailed. Magnificent!


















Audio :

War Horse has a wonderful track strongly supported by the DTS-HD Master 7.1 at a whopping 4859 kbps on the Blu-ray. There is plenty of crisp separation from subtleties to aggression in the war sequences. It covers a great range from explosive, deep bass, surprises to delightfully carrying the John Williams score throughout. Like the video transfer - this is flawless sounding brilliant from start to finish. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

There are quite a lot of supplements in the package. On Blu-ray disc one, sharing the feature, we get War Horse: The Journey Home. It analysis the evolution of the project with input from Steven Spielberg, his production team and the cast. It runs just shy of 20-minutes in HD. There is a short, 3-minute, piece entitled 'An Extra's Point Of View' which gives some insight into how a "background artist" viewed the creation of the film. On Blu-ray 2 we get the extensive, hour-long 'A Filmmaking Journey'. It has director-producer Spielberg examining War Horse, his production details and the emotions involved in the story. There is a 9-minute piece on "Editing & Scoring" with Spielberg, Editor Michael Kahn And Composer John Williams discussing those features of the filmmaking process and working together for al most 40-years. The Sounds Of War Horse has 7-minutes of sound designer Gary Rydstrom explaining the film's sophisticated sound design, Through The Producer's Lens runs 4-minutes and has producer Kathleen Kennedy sharing photos she took during production. The 4-disc package also has a DVD of the Feature Film plus a Digital Copy for use with your portable devices.



Blu-ray 2


This is like an old-fashioned, highly polished, subtle melodrama. Spielberg really triumphs here with capturing, or essentially imitating, a style that enhances the film's presentation value to its maximum. He also did this expertly with Adventures of Tintin - adhering to the attributes that export qualities that allow the viewer to embrace the story to maximum effect. This is placing the film above any signature markers not unlike a William Wyler. I wouldn't say it is a 'suspension of disbelief' but rather placing the viewing warmly in a comfort-zone which makes it so effortless to bond with the onscreen activity. It seems like another layer he has as a filmmaker beyond the specifics of storytelling, pace, bringing the right people to the project etc. The Blu-ray package is flawless and will give countless hours of re-play entertainment value for the whole family. An easy recommendation. 

Gary Tooze

March 15th, 2012



 Also 2-disc Blu-ray Edition Available:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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