May 29, 2011

Water for Elephants (2011) - a good try that somehow waters down

directed by Francis Lawrence / starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz

Water for Elephants turned out to be one of those movies that technically have all the ingridients to be great, but for some reason you can't quite put your finger on, they flag in the level of being just okay. It could've been so good: it has a great, intriguing and visually exciting setting (who wouldn't love the circus atmosphere?), a dramatic, moulinrouge-ish kind of story and pretty good actors, too (the main threesome includes two Oscar winners and one of the most recognizable faces in the world right now (not that that necessarily guarantees anything)).

And yet... blah.  There was something missing; that little extra something. I kind of did enjoy myself as long as the movie lasted, but it didn't linger in my mind, and now, a few weeks later that I'm actually trying to get my mind around finishing this post, I can't say there are many thoughts in my head about the film. But I'll try.

Reese Wiherspoon has done some pretty good roles, yes, though usually their just the basic barbie doll roles, but somewhere between those she managed to win an Oscar, too, so she can't be a total loser, right? I'm a bit torn about her, but in Water for Elephants, I didn't like her much, if at all. She just lacked that... that leading lady spark. I mean, in movies like this you're supposed to fall in love with the characters like they fall in love with each other, or at least see what they mean, when they go "Ah, my love, I'd die for you, please let me die for you" and "Your mesmerizing beauty makes me see you in slow motion". (Like in Moulin Rouge!, for example, it makes total sense that they risk their lives for each other and all that, because we see her beauty and soul and his lovable romantic poor man's charm.) I just felt like telling Rob to ditch the colourless, soulless woman and go fall in love with someone of his own age. Rob at least was kind of charming. And you can't tell me I'm biased, because I was always Team Jacob when I had to choose.

So, Robert Pattinson is pretty good in this movie. It's delightful to see the total lack of all those horrible brooding mannerisms, but I'm afraid this is still not enough to shake the vampire from his shoulders, make less people hate his guts for being so famous and popular ans handsome, and make less people faint at the sight or thought of him or anything related to him. But it's a step away from all that, even if only a small one. It's going to take a while for people to take him seriously, and everyone knows that. Speaking of which, I'm actually become kind of a spokeswoman for Robert Pattinson since some months ago I read this interview. I'd kind of felt sorry for him before, but now I've taken up the habit of defending his honour in every chance I get. If you want to hear my speech, please do not hesitate to ask. Haha. But seriously, though. The guy's just taken too much crap for one little mistake, which you can't blame him for, because no aspiring young actor in his good sense says no to a leading role. Okay, shutting up now, before this gets out of hand.

Christoph Waltz masters the art of playing the vilain, of course. In fact, if he was really lazy and just wanted to make some quick, easy money, he could just do all of his roles by standing still and not saying anything, and the memory of colonel Hans Landa in everyone's minds would do the job for him and everyone would be freaking scared of him anyway. So that's all I have to say about that.

I've somehow failed to talk about the film itself, while talking about various other things. Well, first time for everything, right? (A little sarcasm, right there, in case you didn't notice.) Let's do a nice little summary. Good about Water for Elephants: Rosie the elephant (seriously, what a charmer! Hope they treated her alright...), setting (I just love me some circus stories), Christoph Waltz, Pattinson's non-Edward-ness. Bad about Water or Elephants: the lack of that little extra something, the TOTAL lack of chemistry between the two 'lovers', Reese Witherspoon's blandness, the annoying Nicholas Sparks-like vibe the ending gave me.

I've got the book waiting for me on the shelf and I will read it when the moment presents itself, because the story is still okay, and everyone says the book is better than the movie. I just have to imagine someone else's face in the place of the heroine...

"I don't know if I picked that circus. But something told me that circus picked me."


bubble said...

Thanks for this, you put the movie into words a lot better than I did! It really missed that certain something, although it's really enjoyable and especially the setting is beautiful. But still..

Anonymous said...

I actually liked this movie a lot ;O) I didn't expect anything so I was just simply pleasently surprised..

Eeva said...

bubble: Movies like this are almost frustrating! You know it wouldn't take much for them to be great instead of just okay, but you don't know what the thing missing is, exactly. Argh.

Ursula: I'd been waiting this for a long time, and I wanted it to be great so bad, but unfortunately I was left a little disappointed. A good try, still.