Sunday, November 6, 2011

REWIND REVIEW: Water for Elephants

Water For Elephants

Robert Pattinson,
Reese Witherspoon


April 22, 2011

Francis Lawrence

20th Century Fox

2 hours



Whether you're afraid of clowns or are really claustrophobic for the matter, you cannot deny that going to the Circus is quite a magical experience. I'm not talking about something like 'The Ringling Bros.' where they have their shows in big stadiums. The real type of circus is the one where you enter a tent, sit on a bleacher, and just enjoy the show. But have you ever wondered what goes on before and after the tent is set up? Well that question, possibly for the circus' of 1931, is answered in 'Water for Elephants,' a movie that has just come onto home video release. In case you missed the movie back in April (like how I did) or don't know what the book's about, the story is about a boy who has just lost both of his parents and has decided to jump on a train belonging to the fictional circus group The Benzini Brothers. On this train he, along with the audience, meets drunken clowns, horny showgirls, and a villainous ringmaster whose wife is the star attraction. Let it be hold that in the predictable scheme of things, homeless boy falls in love with star girl, and a 'Titanic' like romance ensues. While at first glance it would be just another romance film, 'Water for Elephants' does something special in combining romance, drama, and intensity into a fantastic two hour film. If you are a hopeless romantic or enjoy the movie 'Titanic' a lot, then 'Water for Elephants' is your perfect movie. No wonder readers fell in love with the story, because it is simply fantastic.  If I had read the book before seeing this, I might have had a different take on the film.  But with the mind of a guy who doesn't read a lot of books, I can honestly say that 'Water for Elephants' is a spellbinding, wonderful film.

Despite having a solid future ahead of him, Robert Pattinson has always been a mixed bag. In case you have been living under a rock for the past three years, Pattinson is Edward, the sparkling vampire guy from the 'Twilight' movies. Recently though, he has been starring in much more serious movies like the intense drama 'Remember Me.' Seeing him in this movie only makes me believe that Pattinson has a very strong career ahead of him. While he isn't as great in this as he was in 'Remember Me,' Pattinson shows how much he's grown from being a loving sparkling vampire, despite shooting the last one as we speak. I cannot wait until Pattinson is considered to be an Award worthy star, which might be very soon if he keeps heading on this smart career move. Reese Witherspoon is also in this movie, and she is surprisingly better than I expected. Having only seen her be in stupid romantic comedies, I never expected Witherspoon to actually act in something. Sure she won an Oscar for 'Walk the Line' back in 2005, but I never saw that so this is my first glimpse at the Award version of Witherspoon. Even though Pattinson and Witherspoon are the headliners of this flick, they in no way whatsoever outshine the best thing about this movie: Christolph Waltz.

Ever since he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as a Nazi Hunter in 'Inglorious Bastards,' Christolph Waltz has been all over the place, most recently in corny 3D movies like 'The Green Hornet' and 'The Three Musketeers.' It seemed that Waltz was only relying on these corny 3D flicks in order to get a paycheck, so many wondered if he was just throwing his acting abilities away. Luckily he presents a role that's very devious, menacing, and dark for the matter. No comparison to 'Bastards' can be made because yours truly has not seen 'Bastards' yet. Christolph Waltz was in fact the best thing about this movie. If this film is recognized at all by the Academy, Waltz should at least be considered for a supporting actor nomination.

Romances can be very predictable and stupid cash grabs when it comes to going to or renting a movie. 'Water for Elephants' may be a predictable film, it carries on with its drama, intensity, and amazing chemistry between all of the actors. Waltz steals the show, but Pattinson and Witherspoon show why they're considered actors in the first place. Director Francis Lawrence has made a movie that captures a powerful look at both the cruelty of the olden circus, as well as how far people can go to get the one they love. If you're expecting a 'Twilight' like romance with some bad acting and a plain story, just walk away and don't look back. Also if you don't like seeing humans and animals (yes, I said animals) being tortured by sadistic men, then stay away from this movie. Actually, here's a basic equation of what 'Water for Elephants' is: If 'Titanic,' 'Twilight,' (just for the main lead) and the circus conceived a baby together, then you get 'Water for Elephants.' Awards probably won't be in this film's future, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the year's most genuine and powerful films. It's out on DVD and On-Demand, so why wait to see it. You'll surely be missing out on a great movie. Now if only the circus was coming to town sometime soon...

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