Friday, 29 April 2011


Water for Elephants [Review]

Opinion: B

The Great Depression of the 1930s as a backdrop against a mesmerising circus tale fueled by romance and rage, with credits to a great antagonist performance by Christoph Waltz. Despite a somewhat dull performance by Robert Pattinson who doesn't seem to be able to portray a variety of emotions, it remains to be the only significant weak link of this interesting film.

Based on the acclaimed number-one bestseller, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS presents an epic tale of forbidden love in a magical place filled with adventure, wonder and great danger. A veterinary student from the wrong side of the tracks, Jacob (Robert Pattinson), meets and falls in love with Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), 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 (Christoph Waltz) - Jacob saves Marlena from an unhappy life and they find lifelong love.

Most Twilight haters might dismiss this film straight away with or without a prejudice. While I agree that it isn't right for some of them who do, we should understand that film is subjective to each individual and we should respect their reflections of this film. That said, I'm not a fan of Twilight or Robert Pattinson like some of the Ladies, but I'm a fan of film.

This film does score in areas that satisfies my senses personally.

Highly due to possibly the best performance by Christoph Waltz since his award-winning stint in 2009's Inglourious Basterds, it injected so much more emotions into this film despite mostly being negative ones. His portrayal of August, a man who loses himself to greed, fame, and ambition (to some extent, his growing ego and male chauvinism) is extremely effective and it is during his screen presence where the audience are truly engaged.

If there isn't a snake already in the circus troupe, they have one in August.

Prepared to get your mood and emotions overhauled as there are scenes that earn your pity, rage your fury, romance your desires, chill your blood circuitry, and warm your heart. In essence, every aspect of life can be experienced with a ticket to this film.

The film's title involves elephants and I did get myself acquainted to the star attraction behind it. Rosie the elephant isn't the "dumber than a bucket of hammers" as described by her ex-caretaker, she begins to get alive and amuses with her strange affiliation with water and alcohol after August's acquisition of her in an attempt to revitalise his circus business. Also the pivotal character of the film who draws out various feelings from Jacob, Marlena, and August, it is their conflicting sentiments towards Rosie that allows drama to take place within the already dramatic circus act.

Great sympathy for animals can be evoked here, especially when Rosie is violently ill-treated by August (the film assures that behind the scenes Tai, who plays Rosie, is not touched at all).

Reese Witherspoon has been a great veteran in the eyes of several, but I cannot help to feel that her role could have been somewhat limited and failed to allow her more opportunities to shine. Don't get me wrong, she did good here as Marlena, especially when contrasted against a seemingly dull Robert Pattinson (I almost thought I was at a Twilight film screening if not for Witherspoon).

Pattinson improved nevertheless with his portrayal of Jacob.

There is this sense of how times are larger than all of us, I can't help but feel that the Great Depression has this invisible grasp upon every character in this film. It isn't prominent, but somewhat I could see how the Depression plays a supporting role in this film. Director Francis Lawrence, who previously worked on I Am Legend and Constantine, did a good job here.

No doubt it isn't all marvelous with some all-too-familiar plot pieces such as when Jacob loses his scholarly life when he loses his parents to a freak car accident, but once Jacob by chance (or fate it seems) hops onto the circus train, everything changes. Sometimes fate amends itself with a simple decision or act we make in life.

For better or worse, you decide.

Fan or no fan of Twilight or Pattinson.

(Preview Screening courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Singapore)


Post a Comment

Search SON:sation