Friday, April 22, 2011

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (B-)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Cristoph Waltz

Rated: PG-13
Story: Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds -- including the wrath of Marlena's charismatic but dangerous husband, August -- Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love. (20th Century Fox)

Bottom line: This melodramatic, big top, forbidden love, three-ring, tearjerker, chick flick is not the greatest show on earth. It is, however, a deeply romantic, beautifully envisioned and passionate ode to the Hollywood romances of yesteryear. Simply put – and if movies were to mate – it would most certainly be the cinematic love child of THE NOTEBOOK and TITANIC. And if WATER FOR ELEPHANTS were indeed a huge, seagoing passenger vessel – then its actor’s on screen chemistry (or huge lack thereof) would be the metaphorical iceberg that started the ship sinking. Good thing it ended when it did…you know, before my ‘stupid allergies’ starting acting up. *sniff*

6 comments:

TongueTwied said...

Brian,
I quietly awaited your movie review yesterday in hopes it was for WFE and was disappointed when it was not, so imagine my surprise today to see this!

I sense you liked this movie more than your creative rhetoric lets on. I did find your 'lovechild' line funny.

There's a difference between women and men seeing this movie in regard to the 'lack of chemistry' you picked up on. When it comes to Rob on the big screen, fangirls bring enough love for Rob to the theater that it bridges the chemistry issue.

That's twice now a Rob nonTwilight film has made you tear up btw. (Remember Me) :)

Again, so glad you saw this movie!

Z Any Mouse said...

I saw WFE last night and loved it, although as with any book-to-screen adaptation, there are gaping holes in the story. I really didn't feel that it was a chick flick, though. There was plenty of violence and swinging pasties to keep the guys interested. I agree that there is not a lot of chemistry between Marlena and Jacob, but the scenes with Rosie (aka the Titanic)override that, in my opinion.

There is no denying that Robert Pattinson is so beautiful when on screen, that it's hard to concentrate on any other elements of the story. Huh, what? I just lost my train of thought. I'm going to have to go see it again, you know for research purposes, to continue my comment.

itsjustme1217 said...

I think any time that you read a book you get a different perspective from everyone else who read the same thing. When you see a movie made from a book, it is the same thing. You just have to pretend that your friend Francis Lawrence is telling you his vision of what he read.

BellaTesoro said...

I saw WFE with my husband and I was interested to see if our POV's would be the same. He enjoyed the authentic and interesting setting. He enjoyed watching a story unfold through solid acting and brillant directing. He said he felt the connections between the characters, as would have been for that time period and he felt it was believable.
Me, well, I agree with him and I felt Rob did an outstanding job making Jacob come to life. A sweet, sensitive, idealistic, and grieving young man...I saw all that in every movement he made (and I did watch his every move) and words he uttered. When he teared up, I felt his pain.
It's obvious the camera loves Rob, but his acting made the viewer love his role, I did.
I enjoyed your review as it was fair and intelligent. I appreciated that it lacked the usual Twilight comparison's in a negative tone.
I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

rpfangirljr said...

WFE... Different from the book, but still beautiful in its own right.

You know, I adored the book with all of it's imagery, and the switch between Old Jacob and Young Jacob. It was a wonderful love story with a very happy ending.

The movie stayed mostly with Young Jacob (and I wished they had the V.O. in Old Jacob's voice since it was his story). The movie was beautiful. The cinematography was gorgeous with the scenery and the saturation of all of the colors. The music helped with the mood and fit just perfectly. The story was lacking more of the Older Jacob's point of view, but the fact they kept most of the story the same was wonderful.

I admit (and I'm not turning in my Rob fangirl card for saying this) that the chemistry between Rob and Reese was a little off. I think part of that was her not wanting to be around him while he was sick. But, even with that, they protrayed the story that as it was intended. The characters weren't supposed to be outright with their love, because she was married. In the situation they were in, it wasn't viable to flaunt their love...

But, the movie over all is a total win in my opinion. Not just because of Robert Pattinson. Not just because of Reese Witherspoon or Christoph Waltz. Not just because of the scenery or the music. It was becuase of all of it, melding and coming together to make it all just so beautiful.

Plus, I am a hopless romantic at heart... You can always win with a happily ever after.

Plus, you are a guy. If you admit outright that you liked it, your friends may ask that you turn in that card. So... We'll just keep that secret on the DL.

17foreverlisa said...

Thank you for not referring to Rob as Edward in any way, shape, or form. I will forever be indebted to the Twilight saga for giving us Rob, but he is working hard to be so much more than that...and it shows, especially in this film.

His portrayal of young Jacob in WFE was perfect. I honestly don't believe he could have brought any more to the film than he did. I felt his pain when his parents died. I felt his pain when the two women he fell in love with were abused by August (yes, I'm talking Marlena and Rosie). I felt his joy and wonder at the trappings of the circus and the menegarie. He brought the sensitivity required of the role to life from print to screen. I was/am so proud of him.

As with any screen adaptation of a book, there are character development elements that I miss. Overall, I thought they captured the essence of the story and the time period.

It was beautiful to watch. The cinematography, the colors, the attention to detail with costumes and props. Amazing.

The camera absolutely loves Rob. He was as visually stunning as the scenery around him. Say what you like, but this was Rob's movie to own, and he owned it.

Knowing how much Reese trained for this role to work with the horses and, especially, Tai made me appreciate her portrayal of Marlena so much more.

Christoph brought August to life in a way that I expected. I was not disappointed.

Hal Holbrook had me in tears every moment he was on screen. I wish they had shown more of him in the nursing home like in the book. He was fantastic.

I have seen it twice now with my daughter and her friends and her boyfriend. I have talked to co-workers who saw it over the weekend and had friends/relatives who saw it as well. The only complaint I've heard is that they wish more of the book would have made it onscreen. To a person, they really liked the movie and thought Rob did a great job in it. And, no, they are all not huge Rob fans like me. So I am hopeful that word of mouth will spread and that more people will get out to see this movie.

I know that my parents and my in-laws read the book and are looking forward to seeing the movie, as well. It's a movie that can speak to all generations.

Sorry to have rambled.