Sunday, April 24, 2011

Water For Elephants

Having enjoyed the original novel by Sara Gruen, I was somewhat disappointed by the film version. Whenever a popular novel translates to the screen, sacrifices have to be made and there are subtle changes here that may bother fans of the novel. Now if you haven't read the book, you will probably enjoy this period love story set in a Depression era circus.

Robert Pattinson tries in vain to break free of his Edward Cullen (Twilight) persona. I give him credit for trying to break the mold he has created for himself but he comes up short. Playing the lead character, Jacob, Mr. Pattinson spends much of the film brooding much like his "Twilight" character minus the fangs. His love interest, Marlena, is played by Reese Witherspoon who does an admirable job with the animal cast but lacks chemistry with Mr. Pattinson. And the villain of the piece is well cast by the presence of Christoph Waltz, as August, Marlena's husband and the circus ringmaster.

The best casting decision is Tai (II) as Rosie, the elephant. Tai steals every scene she's in and has great chemistry with everyone. Her lemonade scene alone is worth the price of admission. While Rosie's sub-plot is both heartbreaking and rewarding, the love triangle between the leads lacks the passion conveyed in the novel. The film is hampered by a poor musical score that tries too hard to heighten the various moods and ends up bogging down the film.

There is still enough here to move an audience to break out in applause but it's not "The Greatest Show on Earth".

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