Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants is a 2011 Fox 2000 Pictures romantic drama film based on the New York Times Best-Selling novel of the same name by Sara Gruen.

The film stars Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz, Academy Award Nominee Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider, Ken Foree, Tim Guinee, Mark Povinelli, Scott MacDonald, Jim Norton, and Richard Brake.

The music is written and composed by Academy Award Nominated Composer James Newton Howard.

The screenplay is written by Academy Award Nominated Writer Richard LaGravenese.

The film is directed by Francis Lawrence.

This movie came as quite a surprise to me.  With two of the three main cast members being people I really can’t stand, I was expecting to just hate this movie.  However, my mind was changed.  This movie had several positive things going for it.

Number one…Christoph Waltz.  This man just pours out excellence in every film he has been in since making it in the US.  And Water for Elephants is no exception.  However, I don’t feel he was the correct choice for the role.  Even though he killed in the role, it feels as though he was chosen for the film based on who he is and not because he was right for it.  Still though, Christoph Waltz was superb!!!

Now the other male lead, Robert Pattinson, is the BIG surprise for me.  He did an exceptional job taking on the role of the newcomer to the circus, Jacob Jankowski.  He has a look and feel about him that just catches the eye on screen.  Added to that his wonderful acting ability, and that spells success, but I actually feel really bad for Pattinson.  Unless he does something truly amazing soon, no matter what he does with his career, he will never be able to escape the dreaded black hole that is Edward Cullen and The Twilight Saga.  He should have taken the road of an actor like James MacAvoy.  In other words, build up his credibility as an actor by doing films like Water for Elephants, then later down the road, once he is a bankable star and name, he can take on more outlandish roles and still be taken seriously.  Unfortunately, I think Robert Pattinson is going to be Edward Cullen for the rest of his career, which is a shame, cause he proves in this film that he is a lot more than that.

The setting of the circus was great, and with most of the story taking place on the traveling train for the circus, it really allows you as a viewer to grow with the characters.  And set during the Great Depression, you really did get a sense of how hard it was then if you lost your job and had nothing.  The look and feel of this film was spot on.

The length of the film was a negative.  Tapping out at 2 hours and 2 minutes, they could have easily cut out about 20 minutes of unneeded circus shots.  I didn’t need to see the beginning of their shows four times in the same movie.  I got it after the first two.

Now for the big bad in the movie, an actress by the name of Reese Witherspoon.  She plays the captivating Marlena Rosenbluth, the star of the circus and the wife of Christoph Waltz character August.  Her character needed to make me believe that she could actually steal the show, and Reese failed hard at this.  I needed to believe that her and August are madly in love with each other, so that when her and Jacob fall for each other, the impact of that hits that right emotional spot.  Instead, Reese Witherspoon came off as a standoffish snob that doesn’t really like anyone except her animals and only wants to use Jacob and her little boy toy cause she can.  She just wasn’t right for this part either, but unlike Christoph Waltz, isn’t a strong enough actress to make me like her individual performance.

In the end, Water for Elephants is a decent romance film with a few flaws, but is still worth the watch.

a 7 out of 10

(release date: 22 April 2011)

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~ by Matt Whitfield on May 3, 2011.

One Response to “Water for Elephants”

  1. Came to your website through Reddit. You know I will be subscribing to your feed.

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