Water For Elephants (Full Version)

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Empire Admin -> Water For Elephants (8/5/2011 12:54:14 PM)

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filmsunlimited -> Very enjoyable (8/5/2011 12:54:14 PM)

I have to disagree with the mediocire 3 star review and give this a 4. Having not read the book this review is immune from that comparison but I believe this film gives a very good portrayal of 1930s Depression era America and an educated young man's attempt to fit in to a harsh underclass world of travelling performers. What unites the two wolrds is of course the animals, although at times this film threatens to become more of a aww what a shame about the way animals were treated in those days (and perhaps today in some circuses.) There is some truth in the elephant being the star of the show, you never properly root or feel for any of the other characters in it. But with the title, perhaps thats how it should be? An otherwise good film is ruined at the end by a somewhat schmaltzy and over-convenient outcome.




ElephantBoy -> RE: Very enjoyable (9/5/2011 2:01:05 PM)

The title is one of the worse ever, but the trailer did intrigue me, it seemed quite simler to classic Tim Burton. Also Mark Kermodes review made it sound very promising. With a bit of luck this might see Weatherspoon get her career back on track, because she is far too talented to be wasting her time in the sort of trash she has been since winning the Oscar. Anyway another one I will give a go.




Groovy Mule -> Old fashioned and trite (10/5/2011 1:50:20 PM)

I think 3 stars is about right for this, if not a little generous.

In a summer blockbuster season in which there are superheroes, 3D and cowboys fighting aliens, Water for Elephants (dreadful title) feels particularly old fashioned and almost takes pride in this.  The filmmakers clearly believe that this is a sweeping romantic epic, aiming for The English Patient crossed with The Greatest Show on Earth but the reality is that this film never comes close to either one of those Oscar winners.

I wasn't aware of the source novel prior to the film's release and I understand it is quite the bestseller but I can't help but feel that it is the source and its adaptation by Richard LaGravenense (one of Hollywood's prime schmaltz shovellers) which are fundamental to why the film fails to deliver.  Devices used to bring the audience into the story are clunky and old hat.  How many TV movies of the week rely on the old man (Hal Holbrook) telling a stranger about how they ended up where they are before dissolving into a sepia-toned flashback which becomes the film's narrative?  This device coupled with dialogue which is so clichéd that you can finish the actors' sentences for them means that you can't help but fell you've seen it all before but done better.

There is little to challenge or threaten the sensibilities of the audience in this film.  It is the very epitome of a 12A certificate to the extent that you have to assume that the editors had the 12A certificate checklist to guide them through the process.  There are lots of shots of misty eyed Robert Pattinson, looking off into the middle distance, one scene of him in a vest and chaste references to sex with cut-aways from any nudity together with a restrained approach to violence.  It's as if everyone is holding back and that follows through to the actors.  Both Witherspoon and Pattinson are competent as the leads but there is very little chemistry between the two and the plot contrivences used to bring them together feel forced.  It is also hard to believe either character would really have been left with no option but to join the circus.  As the circus owner and ring master, Christoph Waltz gives a pastiche of his Hans Landa performance of snake-like charm and menace but one could be forgiven for thinking that he has stepped out of a different film.  Despite that, of all of the performances his is the most satisfying.

If you have pre-teen girls in your family, a trip to see Water for Elephants will tick a lot of boxes - performing animals, non-threatening boys in a vest, (some) romance and a female lead who wears pretty outfits and works in a circus.  For everyone else, there is likely to be little to sustain your interest beyond working out where the animals are real and where they are CGI and waiting for Christoph Waltz to return.  There were certainly a number of grumbles as I left the cinema.  This is chick-lit in film form - undemanding, escapist and unthreatening.

5/10




QT1234567 -> one to miss (by a country mile) (11/5/2011 10:51:20 PM)

Wouldn’t go to see this film if you paid me £1 million. Poor old Rosie, aka Tai, is anything but 'joyful'. The ADI footage of ‘elephant training techniques’ shows me all I need to see. Horrific - if unsurprising. That’s how you train big wild animals – don’t believe for a second anyone that tells you otherwise.




QT1234567 -> one to miss (by a country mile) (11/5/2011 10:51:24 PM)

Wouldn’t go to see this film if you paid me £1 million. Poor old Rosie, aka Tai, is anything but 'joyful'. The ADI footage of ‘elephant training techniques’ shows me all I need to see. Horrific - if unsurprising. That’s how you train big wild animals – don’t believe for a second anyone that tells you otherwise.




djphilips -> Enjoyable (30/5/2011 8:29:39 PM)

Water For Elephants is a film of taste and beauty, but it has to be said that Pattinson and Witherspoon suffer from a great lack of chemistry.




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