In the view of Michael Morpurgo, author of the ’80s War Horse children’s novel, Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse delivers “a wonderfully paced story.” He admits to N.Y. Times “Carpetbagger” Melena Ryzik that “it’s quite slow to begin with, and I’m sure it will be criticized for that. But it should be, because you have to establish the relationship between the boy and the horse, the boy and the landscape.

“And then you find, rather like the walk of a horse, the story begins to trot. And it trots when the horse joins the army and goes off to war, and then when the action starts, it begins to canter, and then you have the terrible gallop at the end.”

Honestly? That sounds pretty good. But then Morpurgo is only talking about structure and narrative pacing.