Thursday night I went to see Water for Elephants. I went in with relatively low expectations. I read the book (and gave you my review) and it’s a given that the movie can never be as good as the book. (The one exception to that rule is A River Run’s Through It) Plus, I’m not a huge Robert Pattinson fan. Robert Pattinson ruined Twilight for me. Actually, Kristen Stewart ruined Twilight for me. She emotes about as much emotion as a wet sponge but Rob didn’t do anything to help the situation. If I were Stephani Meyer I would be irate that they crapped all over Edward and Bella. But I digress.
There were some changes from the book, for the sake of time, but over all I thought it was a pretty good adaptation. One of the things that was left out was all the time the book spent getting to know elderly Jacob. We only see him briefly at the beginning and the end of the movie and that was a shame. I enjoyed that part of the book so much I was sad to see it left out. However, I understand why it was done that way, to save time.
R.P. surprised me. He wasn’t horrible to watch and while not the best performance in the world it certainly wasn’t the worst. Maybe I liked him this time because he wasn’t acting like an idiot brooding vampire with obviously horrible white makeup. He did a pretty good job of being a normal joe who found himself in an extraordinary situation.
I like Reese Witherspoon, she showed us that she can really get the job done in Walk the Line. Again, it wasn’t her best performance but it wasn’t her worst.
I didn’t know that Hal Holbrook was cast as the elderly Jacob and was excited when I discovered that in the very first scene. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see him very much as 95% of the movie was set in the past. (Interesting side note about Hal Holbrook. Our previous neighbor is Hal Holbrook’s personal assistant. She is a lovely woman and has worked for Hal and the late Dixie Carter (Hal’s wife) for quite a long time) Hal was wonderful and really made you feel the joys and sorrows of his lost youth.
Another great actor that I didn’t know was in the film until we meet him on the train, Christoph Waltz. I first saw Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Bastards. A-maz-ing. If you can handle the type of graphic violence that only Quinten Tarantino can dish up then please rent it. C.W. did another great job of giving us a complex character that you love and hate at the same time.
The elephant that played Rosie was a dear. How can you not like a movie with elephants? There are a few scenes that are very difficult to watch if you’re an animal lover. Any time animal cruelty is portrayed in a movie I have to keep telling myself that they really aren’t hurting the animal but that still doesn’t make it any easier to watch. I can’t help but wonder how circus animals were treated back then. I’m afraid not very well.
Overall, not as good as the book but they never are. I give it a thumbs up. It’s a sweet love story that pulls you into the beauty and ugliness of a circus performer’s life. You’ll leave feeling good. The final scene will warm your heart and make you want to have another baby. Oh wait, maybe that’s just me and maybe that’s because I was sitting next to a pregnant lady (any time I’m around a pregnant woman I want to be pregnant too. Call me crazy).
I think you’ll like it.