To call WATER FOR ELEPHANTS a chick-flick is a complete injustice to a film guys will enjoy just as much—IF– you can convince them to go.
That said, eventual good word-of-mouth about the movie should underplay any pre-perceptions.
Based on Sara Gruen’s acclaimed best selling novel, this transfer to the big screen shouldn’t disappoint its millions of fans, despite that director Francis Lawrence had to squeeze volumes of material into the film’s 2 hour running time.
Set during the depression and near-end of the prohibiton era of the early 30’s, the story has young veterinary student Jacob (Robert Pattinson) drop out and jump a circus train after his Polish immigrant parents are killed in a car wreck.
But this traveling circus is no Barnum & Bailey which had a reputation of being a true family show.
This was the second rate Benzini Brothers circus which had been taken over and was now being run by its ringmaster August (Christoph Waltz)—a complete tyrant and unstable psychopath. He’d have circus workers that got in his face thrown off the train at full speed!
August’s philosopy: ‘The world is run by tricks—Everybody plays!’
He also happens to be married to the circus’ headliner Marlena (Reese Witherspoon.)
But as Pattinson finds employment with Waltz as the semi-roustabout/animal doc, he meets and falls in love with Witherspoon. The two coming together through their compassion for a very special new elephant named Rosie that’s joined the show.
It’s a newfound and eventual lifelong relationship that brings out the wrath of mad man Christoph Waltz who’s now out to kill them both.
Trust me, this motion picture is much more than just betrayal and lust under the big top, even though those elements readily play into it.
Everything’s an illusion!
The story is told in flashback wraparound style by Hal Holbrook who’s visiting a present day circus where he’s telling its young manager how things REALLY were back then. Holbrook WAS the young Pattinson character of the story almost 80 years earlier.
As to Robert Pattinson’s performance, he’s proving here that he’s definitely got the chops to go far beyond his ‘TWILIGHT’ days.
Who said they don’t make’em like they used to anymore?
The movie’s end credits even reveal that no less than 3 medics were on set during the filming of the picture.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is a beautifully filmed romantic drama of a bygone era—proving that life IS the most spectacular show on earth.
I’m highly recommending it by raising 4 out of 5 fingers.
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings on KMBZ AM FM and on RADIO BACH, Kansas City’s Classical station.
Also Friday afternoon’s with Tanna on 99.7-THE POINT.
And anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.