Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

If you love movie magic you gotta check out this test footage from War Horse

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This video kind of floored me and I had to share it.

I didn't love Steven Spielberg's War Horse, but it didn't really piss me off. I mean, it has an asshole goose in it! And a helluva cast... but this video really helped me appreciate the film on another level.



Posted to Facebook by Chris Clarke, senior animatronics technician on War Horse, this test video shows just how incredible animatronics effects can be.

Unfortunately, my understanding is that this beautiful creation was only really used for one sequence in which Joey gets caught in some barb wire.

Anyway, I figured some of you guys might get as much of a kick out of this video as I did. Enjoy!

-Eric Vespe
Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:43 p.m. CST


    by dead youngling

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:44 p.m. CST

    War Horse eaten by xenomorphs--nation mourns.

    by dead youngling

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Oh shit a paraplegic PETA!

    by Mel

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST

    War Horse was melodramatic shit.

    by Stifler's Mom

    Spielberg is officially in a serious rut. Yeah yeah, I know it's supposed to be old-fashioned, but there's a difference between "timeless" and "boring". Tried sooo hard to be moving and yet somehow lacked one single interesting character. That lead kid was terrible.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Spielberg doing melodramatic? Shocker.

    by Kill List Hammertime

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 9:55 p.m. CST


    by StarWarsRedux

    Yeah, too bad they didn't just use a real horse for the barbed wire sequence. Suck it up, Mr. Ed.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Surprised this wasn't fucking black and white too...

    by Lucifer Haywood



  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:10 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    I meant unfortunately that beautiful animatronic can only be seen in one sequence in the film, not that they should have strapped a horse with barb wire. Is it really that unclear, starwarsredux?

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Gotta love practical effects though.

    by Kill List Hammertime

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Thanks for posting this!

    by Tank Williams

    I was just thinking the other day how they did that barb wire scene. Movie magic indeed. War Horse was great, saw it with my old man and he enjoyed it very much, and believe me that says a lot! It's refreshing to see an old school film like that. Filmakers try far too hard these days to impress with over-stylized action and shaky cam shenanigans. John Ford would approve. Oh, and fuck the Golden Globes! Year after year, overlooked movies, shows, and performances fall victim to the stupidity of the Hollywood Foreign Press. Sigh.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Most of the barbed wire sequence involved CG.

    by justmyluck

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST

    That's pretty fucking amazing

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Too bad hardly anyone uses animatronics these days.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Sent it to the animatronic glue factory after filming...

    by Queefer Sutherland

    so sad.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 10:55 p.m. CST

    I heard the movie gets really bizarre

    by DougMcKenzie

    When half way through the lead kid gets replaced by Keenan Thompson holding a puppet. USA! USA! USA!

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST


    by JethroBodine


  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Quint - YOU are an unappreciative moron.

    by Proman1984

    Not just because War Horse is a masterpiece and the best movie of the year. Because you personally really seem to get kicks for sucking joy out of movies. And that's what this site does

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Also, War Horse is every bit as great as Jaws

    by Proman1984

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:14 p.m. CST

    holy shit!


    Wow I had no idea. What's the deal with the War Horse detractors, I thought it was great. Are people too cynical nowadays? Spielberg is a bit old fashioned I guess, but is that a bad thing? I think if this movie came out 10+ years ago it would have been more popular.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:22 p.m. CST

    No, it's not cynicism, it's THIS:

    by justmyluck

    (a semi-regurgitationfrom my initial reaction) There are a few scenes like this, but the killer was one where the boy who trained the horse (he had to plow the field in the pouring rain to save his family home - that's one scene) has survived storming enemy trenches, has been blinded by mustard gas, lies on a makeshift wooden stretcher, hears word of a *miraculous horse*, then intercepts the miracle horse's impending mercy death by gunshot (the horse is nearly shot a few times, those are other scenes) with a training hoot call, at which point all the surrounding soldiers fall into silent awe, are somehow drawn away and make a path (because they're human British and not inhuman Germans?) as the boy feebly walks blinded, but magnetized, towards the nearly snuffed horse. Also, any wavering thought that WAR HORSE is an anti-war film goes out the door when the valiant horse is recognized as *a soldier* and finally given medical attention.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:24 p.m. CST

    ^^ I should have added a SPOLIER warning, perhaps.

    by justmyluck

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:27 p.m. CST

    @stiflers mom

    by Tank Williams

    Stuck in a rut? Im not seeing it. Seems to me he's on a roll. Two hits this year alone, Lincoln is currently underway, another sure fire hit. Then Roboapoclypse. Are you insane?

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:29 p.m. CST

    My father is going to love this movie since he loves horses.

    by KilliK

    He has seen most of the american movies with horses and loved them all,i hope Hollywood will keep making them. For now i am waiting for hte BR release of the War Horse.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST

    war horse made me start speaking with an irish accent

    by Pipple

    and it was a good movie guys. Back the hell off it. Saccharine is the more accurate term than melodramatic I'd say. Now you're making me into one of those grammar nazis but I guess that comes with age...

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:53 p.m. CST

    I'm looking forward to see this.

    by skiprat1

    Read it many times as a kid, and hope my daughter will too.

  • Jan. 15, 2012, 11:54 p.m. CST

    It's a beautiful, gentle film.

    by blackwood

    Nothing more or less. A film can be worthwhile without being a masterpiece. It was warm, and moving, and simply told. Spielberg is manipulative, but so is every other filmmaker ever. That's the point. To stir. And he generally stirs toward optimism, miracles and happy endings. The idea that something -- anything -- positive and bright in a story is necessarily weakminded and lesser-than is sad. Cynicism is tired and boring. WAR HORSE, to me, is old-fashioned only in the sense that in it's universe, magic is possible, and it's not surprising that lots of folks take issue with that, because lots of folks are sad themselves. Anyway, horses.

  • On the other hand, watching bravura cinema from a skilled auteur makes me very happy. How's that?

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Why the hell does that video look like it was shot in 1989?

    by zillabeast

    I mean, doesn't EVERYONE have an HD camera now?

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 12:04 a.m. CST

    War Horse was glorious

    by darthvedder81

    Cool vid. I don't know about the rest of planet earth anymore but "War Horse" is why I still go to movies. It's in Spielberg's top 10 and easily his best work since Private Ryan. I also thought having to limit the violence to get the PG-13 made some of scenes even more devastating in their power.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 12:34 a.m. CST

    War Horse was wonderful...

    by Jay

    And as usual, the detractors see it and all they can muster up afterwords is their distaste for the 5 seconds featuring a goose and that it dared to be sentimental. Sorry, not everything is cold and depressing (Which has become a cliche to do anyways) Nothing like a smart thinking audience... War Horse will end up like Spielbergs 3 other masterpieces he's made in the last ten years. A.I., Minority Report and Munich. While well received, they certainly had their share of whiners (Basically, no different than what we read here about WH and Tintin) But at the end of the decade when the top 10's & top 50 - 100 film lists start showing up, I can assure everyone one of you you that War Horse will be there. Just like those other 3 films I mentioned were. And, most likely here of all places, the folks will be pretending as though they were always championing the film before anyone else (Just like A.I.) The Internet is king of the bandwagon hoppers. On that note, congrats to Tintin for winning the Globe. Not that the GGs mean much, but any good publicity for Tintin in the states is welcome.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 12:36 a.m. CST


    by Jay

    The idea that something -- anything -- positive and bright in a story is necessarily weakminded and lesser-than is sad. Cynicism is tired and boring. WAR HORSE, to me, is old-fashioned only in the sense that in it's universe, magic is possible, and it's not surprising that lots of folks take issue with that, because lots of folks are sad themselves.

  • While the critics have pointed out loads of reasons why it's technically well-made crap intended to make children weep. As for its technical merits, those were *purchased*.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Fake! That whole thing was CG!

    by BenBraddock

    The humans looked good but the horse had dead eyes...

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 1:19 a.m. CST

    "War Horse" was beautiful. And...

    by dasheight

    ...I think it's pretty sad, this recent degenerative disease that crept into Talkbackers, where nothing can be good unless it's dark, gritty, violent, depressing and brutally violent. I don't know whether it's a sign that most Talkbackers are under the age of 25, or if it's a sign that nobody who comments on AICN has any heart or soul anymore, but "War Horse" was a simple, beautiful story, simply told, and that was mainly aimed at KIDS, which most people here seem to be ignoring. Put it right beside Coppola's "The Black Stallion", or other similar, "big" children's films involving animals, and it's a 10 out of 10. People here need to remember that a filmmaker has maybe 3 or 4, maybe 5 full-out masterpieces in him - and you can't expect everything a director makes to equal the perfection of his best films EVERY DAMN TIME. The fact is that "War Horse" was a beautiful movie - it was something that I hadn't seen in a very long time - a lovely story told in an uncynical way, just to tell the story. And that scene with the British and German soldier, the barbed wire scene - that in itself was one of the best scenes Spielberg's ever shot, and said more about war than the entirety of "Saving Private Ryan" did. I'm not saying you HAD to love it or anything, but JESUS, is there ANY talkbacker on AICN anymore who ISN'T totally friggin' negative about everything? If most of you hate every single movie so much and never have anything positive to say, then WHY ARE YOU CONSTANTLY ON A SITE FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE MOVIES? Fair criticism is one thing, but the people who, for example, attack ANY movie that isn't rated R? I mean, what the HELL?

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 1:21 a.m. CST

    HAHA wow War Horse haters...

    by Andrew Coleman

    This site has reached new levels of pathetic. How shitty is your life that you see that movie and then have to troll about it. Holy crap. If you ever think your life sucks, just come here and see some of the retards posting on movies and you'll cheer up quick.

  • Also says that manufacturing cloying crap designed to make children weep is a cynical act in itself. THAT is sad (and this coming from someone who LOVES and still watches *E.T.*).

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 2:27 a.m. CST


    by pr0g2west

    So your going to agree with a few critics about how War Horse was crap. What about the critics who acually said it was good...why not listen to them? mabey because you don't like the film and just agree with the critics on your side of the fence. Thats fine and good...but how about formulating your own opinion. The intended affect of both War Horse and E.T. are to make you cry. I assume you still watch E.T because it fills you with some kind of emotion correct? War Horse is no have just grown more cynical since childhood, and you can't cope with your shitty life so you bash new movies to feel better about yourself. Yes I liked War Horse and im attacking you with personal insults, because people like you take the fun out of going to the movies. Why don't you go make a movie that every critic in the world will love. Try it, then we will talk.

  • In defense of *E.T.*, its clearly a personal movie with a multitude of loving touches (and, yes, a few false notes), but overall a power-punch of a tender script, wonderfully natural child performances, wish fulfillment for a benevolent father/teacher/friend, a transfixing *creature* with PERSONALITY, a science-fiction mystery, an exciting chase and all literally edited to a symphonic-level score with strong and beautiful themes. WAR HORSE = Wartime can be beautiful, warfare can be mesmerizing, battle will test your courage and never defeat your spirit, war is hell, too – poor horsey. Give that horse medical treatment because it was a good soldier. WAR HORSE has shit core values (perhaps the book and play are different?). I've already elaborated on much more UP THE THREAD, so if you can't deny that WAR HORSE is designed to cinematically abuse an animal to provoke childrens' tears ( a cynical feat, that ), I'd suggest you up your game from flimsy insults.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 4:29 a.m. CST


    by Elliot Scozzola

    Could you imagine that horse all shiny and computer like with fake ass animated motions?.. Old school movie magic wins every time! When the hell are modern film-makers gonna get retro and shun things digital, shaky cam, and edited by someone with the attention span of a 10 year old?!

  • "every bit as great as Jaws"? Ha!

  • yeah,i could.The Direhorses in Avatar. Or do you believe that the scene with the horse running while on flames,could have been made with animatronics?

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 6:21 a.m. CST

    War Horse wasn't bad because it was optimistic

    by Azby

    It was bad due to the terrible performances throughout. The lead kid could hardly move his face let alone act, and his ginger friend often sounded as though he had just been let off the special bus, especially in those reaction shots - thats not an exaggeration either he really did look like he had learning difficulties. That french girl was really annoying too, and even Cumberbatch was bland. I have many more issues with the film too, none of which have anything to do with the films positivity

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 7:15 a.m. CST

    I for one loved War Horse...

    by AttackingClone

    Re - mentaldominance Why does the kid with the horse need to talk to it, as if it understands him? Obviously you've never owned a horse! My cousin owns one and she always talks to him. I used to talk to my dog too, it happens. Why does the ENTIRE FUCKING WAR STOP during the idiotic scene of the Germans and English clipping the barbed wire? I'm no historian but I'm pretty sure during WWI the forces didn't fight 24/7. That scene also showed that both sides consisted of people, not just heartless warriors. Why do the Germans speak English? Come on Steve I know it's for kids but you can't have it both ways! Agreed on that one, but it is a kids movie. Thought it was funny when the only time I heard German was when they started marching. English, english, english "Ein, zwei, drie, vier" english, english.

  • I've been saying for years what a scourge on mankind these horses are.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST

    I tried to take my mom to see this

    by Autodidact

    And she was like nah let's see MI:GP instead.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Spielberg is a grandfather for fucks sake

    by twogunjames

    He's not going to be making the same films he made when he was 20.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    War Horse was a pretty darned good movie . . .

    by Rob Jenson

    . . . not speilberg at his finest or most interesting, but well-made and with a lot of genuine heart, unlike War of the Worlds. I'd rather see Speilberg make more movies with aliens in them, but if those would turn out to be like WotW and if his family movies turn out to be like WH, then . . .

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 10:37 a.m. CST

    I never thought any one would complain about War Horse.

    by Yelsaeb

    The movie is just perfect. Its got minimal CG, a great script, pretty good performances, and one of the greatest directors who shows that he's still at the top of his game. What is there to complain about? A movie like this hasn't been made in years. Its an instant classic.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 10:55 a.m. CST

    The greatest scene in War Horse (SPOILER)

    by kidicarus

    Is when the Captain and his cavalry are charging the German line, and as it is revealed that they are unknowingly charging into a line of machine gun emplacements, there is a look of sheer dread on his face, like a man knowing he is moments from death. And then all you see is a lonely horse galloping through the forest. What a perfect way to show how WWI was the war where horses became obsolete.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Man, you guys really can't enjoy anything can you?

    by Sardonic

    Your lives must be so bleak and miserable. I feel bad for you.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST

    If it's not electronic, can it really be called "animatronic"?

    by Royston Lodge

    The controls looked mechanical, not electronic.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Spellcheck still doesn't recognize the word animatronics

    by ZOMBRE

    It's a shame. And neither do directors these days. From Meg Mucklebones (with rob picardo) to The Thing to J-parks' T-REX to Alien Queen in Aliens... Animtatronics just win everytime. I don't hate all CGI, but... Isn't cgi supposed to be more expensive? Im still greatly looking forward to The Power Of The Dark Crystal. Supposedly it will be a mix of cgi and animatronics. Thanks for posting this.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    A lot of people complain about Spielberg being sentimental...

    by cotygeek

    Well excuse me and a bunch of other moviegoers who don't want to feel like blowing our brains out after watching a movie.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Does the horse shit in the movie?

    by BilboRing

    I want to see it but I would be worried that there would not be a scene where the horse just takes a giant dump while trotting or something. Does it do that? Horses shit all the time. It's like giant clumpy hay that smells like shit. Or does the horse at least take a massive piss in the movie? It's natural.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Is Warhorse an Anti-War film or is it not a War Film?

    by even9

    Cause it can't be both can it?? Bring on the the Global Robot War in a post Civilisation Earth film epic me thinks!!

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    eve9, I would say anti-war

    by kidicarus

    A lot of scenes showing the waste, pointlessness and cruelty on both sides of the conflict.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST


    by Rupee88

    it must be nice to have really low standards....not disappointed very often

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Nicely put, blackwood.

    by gotilk

    Great post. I have to agree.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Tis because it's Spielberg

    by Pipple

    Anyone else made War Horse, they'd say it was a fine movie to see to lift your spirits. Nothing more, but since it's the berg it has to be the second coming of Jesus. I recognize spielberg's talents etc as an artist, but I'm not going to put him in that position and I don't believe him to be perfect either...

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 8:30 p.m. CST

    The guy behind the horse head is a freaking genius

    by FeralAngel

    In order for that to be so goddamn convincing, he had to understand animal movement, especially horse, of course. Wow, that was amazing. Thanks for posting that, Quint. Awesomeballs.You know what - put a cognitive, responsive computer brain in that pseudo-critter like that, and the pet industry would be in serious trouble. I knew a guy who had a Sony AIBO, which was a kind of robot dog. Cost over a thousand bucks, but damn that thing was cool. It could play soccer and pick up a bone in its mouth, respond to verbal commands, amuse itself and its owner on its own (completely autonomous) and it could even talk and answer spoken questions. It was still just a very clever toy, not a true AI, but folks, we are getting damn close to it, no lie. I wonder what the first robot pet that can actually run and jump will be like? Bitchin'.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 8:42 p.m. CST

    In the Play the horse is portrayed by people manipulating a puppet

    by SnootyBoots

    Which is essentially what's going on in this video.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 8:53 p.m. CST


    by pr0g2west

    Im not going to up my insults. I insulted you the one time because you categorize every person in the world who liked War Horse as an idiot, and that we all think the same, and that all we can do is insult. All im saying is that people around the world loved the movie, and just because you have a certain perspective doesn't mean your right. Some will love it, some will hate it, and everybody goes to war over who is right. Im not going to pick a side, all im going to say is I liked the movie, and no amount of justification or reason will change my mind. So please just save your breath and let Spielberg make his films, he doesnt need your advice. He doesn't come down to where you work to show you the right way to sweep a floor does he?

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 9:08 p.m. CST

    magic is possible

    by Roger Moon

    yeah, what that guy said. War Horse was a fairy tale. Loved it.

  • Looks like the verdict is in that you're (a) trolling and (b) full of shit.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 10:28 p.m. CST

    I loved it- favorite movie this year....

    by krabklaw

    ...but it's so much of another time that I can see where a lot of younger people might not relate to it's aesthetic at all.

  • One doesn't need to be a master chef to realize something tastes like crap.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Spielberg is one of my favorites, and possibly....

    by Orbots Commander

    ...may end up considered the greatest film director of all time, sometime down the line. That doesn't mean everything he does is gold, although it's always technically brilliant and professional. Exhibit A: War Horse, beautifully shot, sporadically touching, but ultimately dull as dirt and slow. The lone standout, for me, was Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, playing a sympathetic hero, and evoking the best of the old Hollywood British greats from the 30's. That dude has 'giant movie star' written all over him.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Manipulating emotions

    by darthvedder81

    I always get a kick when people accuse a film of being "emotionally manipulative". It's mostly film snobs and elitist critics that do this. Apparently the are "above" the rest of us and judge movies purely on objective technical or academic requirements. They are fools. Every movie that stays with you has manipulated your emotions. Fear, joy, anger, happiness, sadness, sympathy, empathy. Maybe that's why so many of these movies that win the Oscar accolades are technically proficient, but ultimately soulless and boring as hell.

  • Jan. 16, 2012, 11:14 p.m. CST

    by Teddy Artery

    OK, I admit that last shot shocked me. I thought I was really looking at a horse. Well done.

  • Well, maybe a cheap lard-based ice cream in the summer. ;-)

  • Jan. 17, 2012, 7:35 a.m. CST

    @justmyluck...reasons why WarHorse is admirable. (SPOILER)

    by pr0g2west

    First, its not about a horse getting caught in barbed wire. Its about a horse and how he brings together opposing sides of war...about how true love and friendship can win in the face of war. About how a beautiful creature in the middle of hell has no biased views one way or the other. And its about how hope can exist in the midst of overwhelming odds. Those are some pretty decent "core values" if you ask me. Its not intended to make children fact I saw no children in the theater where I was. But do you criticize the part in Bambi when the mother gets shot and dies? Because thats one of hundreds of examples of forcing children to cry with a story element. How is that a crime...should we outlaw these films? The horse doesn't even die in the film...he is just in danger, and the ending everyone is happy and the horse lives. So what are you complaining about?

  • The core values of WAR HORSE are to learn to endure warfare like the horse, earn the elite valor of a soldier like the horse, else end up a despondent drunk like your old man who *couldn't take it*. Idiot.