Last Tuesday, with numerous essay deadlines and midterms looming in the near future, I decided to pioneer a new frontier in the field of procrastination. My mission: to watch the new trailer for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming War Horse 100 times in a row. Why, you ask? Does procrastination need an explanation? No, but it does require documentation. With pencil and paper in hand, I embarked on my movie trailer odyssey while detailing the ups and downs of this experience in a viewing diary. Below are excerpts from the diary, tentatively titled Fear and Trembling and Equestrians.
First Viewing: How divine! A new Spielberg epic just in time for Christmas 2011! And after his most recent film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull nuked the fridge , it appears that War Horse is a return to form for the legendary filmmaker. WWI battlefields! A swelling John Williams’ score! English accents! I’ve already bought my tickets for opening night!
Second Viewing: Wait a second. That image of the young boy extending his hand out to touch the horse’s face- I’ve seen that image before. Dare I say, Mr. Spielberg, are you trying to recreate the splendor of Michelangelo’s famous painting The Creation of Adam?
Sixth Viewing: So is the horse supposed to be E.T.? We saw the exact same Michelangelo-esque visual in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial but done to a much more poignant effect in that film than in this trailer. All that “Ouch” and “I’ll be right here” business still makes me tear up, but I’m not so sure about Spielberg’s self-referential imagery in his newest film. E.T. is a staple of Generation Y’s collective childhood and, if Spielberg learned anything from his friend Mr. Lucas, it is that there’s nothing worse than messing around with that nostalgia in any way, shape or form. I’m looking at you, Episodes I-III. Shame.
Twenty Fifth Viewing: Maybe I was a bit too overenthusiastic about John Williams’ string-heavy musical theme. Or have I just heard it far too many times in a row by now? Either case, it gives the trailer a saccharine, Hallmark Channel Movie of the Week feel to it.
Forty Eighth Viewing: I am not even halfway through this movie trailer journey and I am already bored, hungry, and my eyes are burning like the fiery pits of Vesuvius from staring at my computer screen for so long. I’m no longer certain if my tears are the result of this falsely emotional preview or rather the onset of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Sixty Second Viewing: I detest this trailer for War Horse for the same reasons I detest bananas. It’s exterior is fragrant and marvelously colorful, but once you peel back its layers you’re left with a gooey mess. The preview’s calculated levels of schmaltz practically ooze off the screen.
Eighty NinthViewing: I am seriously deliberating whether to end my quest now and start my homework or stick it out for eleven more viewings and become the cover boy for the latest issue of Procrastination Weekly*.
Ninety Ninth Viewing: I am almost certain that the horse just spoke at one point in this trailer. My presumptions are correct: this is E.T. meets Saving Private Ryan meets Empire of the Sun.
One Hundredth Viewing: I don’t even like horses.
* I wish this was an actual publication.