Friday, April 22, 2011


Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants After hundreds of years entertaining the audience, circus gradually fades away and becomes a dying breed as a form of performance art, even when PETA is not outside the stage protesting. However, amazing performances by these talented artists and their equally talented adorable animals continue to awe the children and charm the adults, before they final pack up and leave for good. Stories about lives in a circus continue to be told in books and movies. (Seen "Circo" yet?)

Based on a novel by Sara Gruen, director Francis Lawrence tells a gripping love story inside a circus troop in a handsome looking drama "Water for Elephants" (USA 2010 | 120 min.), with a strong ensemble performance, including a giant elephant.

The story is set in the '30s, during the Great Depression. Polish decent veterinary student Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) is forced to quit Cornell after a tragedy in his family. He ends up being a vet in Benzini Brothers' circus troop, owned by a charismatic yet brutal August (Christoph Waltz). Jacob falls in love with August's beautiful wife, the circus's equestrian super star, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon).

After Marlena's horse gives out, the circus badly needs a new attraction to maintain the "Most Spectacular Show on Earth" status, as August unforgettably declares at the beginning of each performance. Rosie, an intelligent 57-year-old elephant, comes as the rescue for the circus, and she brings Jacob and Marlena even more closer.

Christoph Waltz, Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in 20th Century Fox's Water for Elephants

The film's conventional storytelling and character development are nothing out of ordinary, but the uniformly terrific performances stand out and make the film engaging and entertaining, even the elephant—Rosie is not just an elephant in a circus, she is a star.

August is Christoph Waltz's first major role after he wins an Oscar for his electrifying performance in "Inglourious Basterds" (although his minor appearance in "The Green Hornet" is also memorable). He shines again in this complex and multi-layered character. Despite a little resemblance to his previous roles, his performance is the main attraction to this film.

The circus might have gone for good, but their stories live on.

"Water for Elephants," a 20th Century Fox release, opens on Friday, April 22, 2011 at Bay Area theaters.

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