Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm sure Ringling has its own vet.

My wife and I watched Water for Elephants today. One shot. Start-to-finish. That may not seem like much to you, but as parents of a two and a half year old, this is nothing short of miraculous. Also adding to the implausibility of everything - she didn't fall asleep. Sure it was from three to five in the afternoon, but still.

We used to be people that would go to the movies on a whim. Maybe twice a week. Once, I remember we saw The Devil Wears Prada on a Thursday night. We were leaving the theater when this shady guy comes up to us and offers us free tickets to a special showing of Crank. We looked at each other, shrugged, and decided to go in for a super-awkward double feature. That ship has sailed, friends. Something like that happening now involves numerous phone calls, heaps of guilt and maybe an adrenaline shot to the heart (to keep the wife awake). Oddly enough, our son was born three years later to the day (don't worry about how I know that, but it's true).

Hmm. This seems suggestive.
Ridiculously pointless anecdotes aside, I have to say it again: the book was better. Please don't think I'm any kind of serious reader, but I did happen to read this one about a year ago. I honestly had no idea that it was being turned into a film when I began the book, I simply bought it because it was dirt cheap on Amazon and I had just got my Kindle (best present ever). So, yes, two of the last three movies I've caught have been books I recently read (if Legion was ever a novel, it'd probably look like a Super Nintendo instruction manual). I mention this, only because knowledge of the story skews the review. It has to.

They shoot horses, don't they?
I don't want to bother with the differences or anything like that - no time. I'll start by saying Pattinson does well as Jacob (I had a Edward/Jacob line, but we're way too classy for that here). Sure, he sort of only has one mode here, the aw, shucks this is real great boyish charm thing, but it didn't bother me. The guy's charming. Reese Witherspoon, didn't quite work for me as the star of the spec, Marlena. Physically, she handled the role well (swear she did some of the stunt work), but I couldn't get beyond her looks, specifically her um, face. I don't know, she looks old and...well, pointy. I asked my wife what she thought and she went with "beautiful," while I'm leaning toward odd. I thought she was pretty hot in Cruel Intentions and the first Legally Blonde, but now...not so much. The only reason I mention this is that lusting after her has some serious ramifications (a very Basterds-esque Christoph Waltz) and if you're going to risk everything, well...yeah.

Bingo! How fun! But, I digress. Where were we?
What does work 100% is the cinematography. This movie is truly a loving portrait of depression-era circus life. Granted, there's not a lot of competition, but I found it quite alluring. Other highlights include Rosie the elephant, an incredibly charming elephant who damn near steals the movie from its trunkless counterparts. Also, I want to mention the kickass-ness of the film's climax. Obviously, some of it was CG, but all of it was awesome.

BOTTOM LINE:  This movie is not required reading, but I thought it was enjoyable. Oh, if you've got a lady-friend nearby, she'd probably like this more than Legion. And Crank, too (let us never ever speak of Crank 2). Not sure about The Devil Wears Prada. That shit's got Streep in it. You don't mess with Streep.


  1. I was pleasantly surprised by Robert Pattinson's Jacob, and also loved the whole look and feel of the movie. However, I felt that it lacked the suspense and emotion you got from reading the story. What a good book. I think I'll read it again!

  2. Who do you think would've made a better Marlena?

    1. Kristen Stewart.

      No, for some reason I always imagined Rachel McAdams while I was reading the book.

      It's weird. I asked Kim and she said the same thing. Spooky, right?