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29 Apr

A Blip of a Movie Review: “Water for Elephants”

Alternative Title: “Dehydrated Pachyderm”

Short Plot: Robert Pattinson is on the verge of a beautiful life, but then it all falls through in an instant. He is homeless and penniless and ends up riding the rails and getting involved with a traveling circus run by a brutal tyrant. Of course, the tyrant has a beautiful wife and soon the hero is deeply involved with the circus and the wife. Can they follow their true love and escape the evil husband? Can someone get the elephant some damn water?

Pros: A film like this better have great sets and design (and it does), Christopher Waltz is wonderfully cast as the dark-edged circus owner, Robert Pattinson is actually pretty good, Hal Holbrook was the best part of the film, and I like the elephant.

Cons: For the first time ever Reese Witherspoon was miscast (though I still love her dearly), the characters never really gel together, this should have you crying by the end and it does not, the climactic “disaster” scene is a non-event, and all that elephant ever got to drink was lemonade and whiskey.

Verdict: The whole film was a bit sluggish and I really did not care about any of the characters. There are deaths of people and animals and yet I was not really moved by any of it. The filming was well done and I appreciated the sets and detail, but the story left me a bit cold. The best parts of the film were the segments with Hal Holbrook who is looking back on his life. You only see him at the beginning and end, which is unfortunate. Had he narrated the whole film and had they cut back to him several times (like they did with Jessica Tandy in “Fried Green Tomatoes”), it might have had more impact. Overall I was disappointed. I didn’t read the book, but from my understanding had they followed elements of the book better, it could have been a terrific film. But this result leaves me as empty as a circus tent after the show with only the horse poop to clean up.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Blips ••

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