'Water For Elephants'
(Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2011 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Against all odds, a veterinary student (Pattinson) and a beautiful circus performer from a bygone era (Witherspoon), meet and fall in love through their shared compassion for a special elephant. But their secret romance incurs the wrath of her dangerously volatile husband (Waltz).
DVD Verdict: We start with an older man standing in a parking lot. He is asked if he is with the nursing home and taken in until someone can find out where he comes from. He explains he was looking for the circus and starts telling his story....I loved the voice narration of the older Jacob actor and the younger Jacob blending until we are in flashback.
Rob's character, Jacob has a loving mother and father who never let their son see how bad the depression was. When they are killed in a car accident, he learns that the bank owns his house. His loving parents mortgaged their home to finance Jacob's education at Cornell. He is so close to graduating and getting his veterinary license but never finishes. He has nothing, his parents are gone and so is his home! He heads out unsure where he is going. A train goes by and he jumps on. Close to being beaten and roughed up he is taken under the wing of a circus worker who promises him work if he can hack it.
He is introduced to August the Ring Leader and owner of Benzini Brothers Circus. Christoph Waltz does a fantastic job as the damaged, egotistical, violent ring leader.Jacob passes himself off as a vet and tells August that Ringling Brothers has their own. August hates Ringling Brothers as a struggling circus. Jacob is told he will have a job if he can save the prized, top horse who is ridden by August's wife, Marlena (Reese). When the horse is put down, Rosie the elephant is purchased. This gentle giant and Rob steal the show for me.
Jacob and Marlena fall in love, it would be hard for her not to, she is constantly thrown at him by her husband. Jacob is the opposite of August. August uses force and Jacob uses gentleness.
The scenes are brilliantly lit to create a depressive sideshow feel. You are praying for August to suffer and for Marlena to get away from him. The scenes of two victims thrown from the train were hard not because of the graphic nature but because of the characters. There were also moments of violence toward Rosie that were hard to watch too! The movie made me want to read the book. It is something I will be picking up if I don't have it on my preloaded Kindle (thanks Susan, you are the bestest).
You will love this movie even if you are not a Pattinson fan but if you are, you will savor every moment. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Robert Pattinson Spotlight
Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon
The Traveling Show - Page to Screen
Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese