War Game (2002)

WW1 recruits thought ‘War Game’ (2002) was a sport

Michael Foreman is a renowned British author and illustrator of many children’s books. But the book that affected people the most was his 1989 “War Boy”, about what it was like to grow up in a small village at the start of World War I.

He followed that with the book “War Game” in 1993, which is about the boys on a soccer team who eagerly join the British forces in the new war. Foreman turned his book into this eponymous animated short film in 2002.

British recruitment cartoon - WSJ getty image
British recruitment cartoon – WSJ getty image

In the film, the teammates in a farming community sign up to be soldiers as if it were just another sports team, expecting the war to end by Christmas.

As in the film Joyeux Noel, during the Christmas Truce, the boys temporarily leave the punishing life in the trenches to play impromptu football with German soldiers.

This film won a children’s award, and perhaps all children in developed countries should be taught the wages of war, and that it is not a game. My first grasp of the horror of World War I came from my old boss, who was English. His mother lost all of her 9 brothers in the conflict. I couldn’t even imagine how anyone deals with such a loss.

So I found this film rather depressing; in fact, I watched it a year ago and couldn’t bring myself to review/research it any further. This time, though, I watched the DVD and listened to the author’s comments.

DVD has extras showing early animation sketches and an interview with Michael Foreman explaining the genesis of the film.

5 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 5