As amazing as it is to believe, this the once-prolific Steven Spielberg's first pure drama since Munich six years ago. At worst, this feels like a Steven Spielberg trailer made by someone spoofing or aping what conventional wisdom says a Steven Spielberg movie is supposed to be (hmm... did J.J. Abrams's cut this spot?). I'm a little iffy on the whole 'millions are slaughtered in World War I but the horse perseveres!', but that may be my problem. Still, the film looks gorgeous and will surely be well-acted by the likes of Neils Arustrup, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, and Tim Hiddleston, among others. I'll likely convince my wife to see this the same way I'll get her to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy... the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch. My wife is a big fan of the BBC Sherlock series, and she 'digs' Cumberbatch in the same way I 'dig' Tina Fey and Allison Brie. In the end, it's good to see Spielberg is still tackling ambitious material like this, as well as the motion-capture adventure The Adventures of Tin Tin, which opens just a week prior.
As I wrote when the first Tin-Tin trailer dropped... Spielberg is about to embark on 'act three' of his remarkable career, capping a stellar 1993-2008 run that brought us such modern classics as Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich, to say nothing of rock-solid entertainments such as Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can. I can somewhat defend Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds if need be, but only The Terminal and maybe Amistad count as pure-whiffs. Anyway, it may be fashionable to bash Spielberg because of his popularity and his role in bringing about more populist mainstream entertainment, but I can think of no other director aside from perhaps Alfred Hitchcock who has so successfully entertained the masses with filmmaking of such high quality. So my reservations about the film aside (I wouldn't be all that interested if it wasn't 'the beard' behind the lens), in Spielberg I trust.