Friday, December 23, 2011

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2011)

Back in 1931, Edward (somehow completely immune from sunlight) is training to be a veterinarian. On the day that he's to take is exam his parents (obviously adopted parents since he had been a vampire for over 10 years at this point in his life) die in a car wreck. Edward is very sad and just starts walking. Eventually he ends up on a train with a bunch of roughnecks. He doesn't use his vampire strength and instead just goes with the flow to see where this leads him. Ends up he's on a circus train and since he knows a lot about animals he's given the job as the circus vet.

That's all well and good until he sees the star attraction (and the boss's wife), Reese Witherspoon, the horse rider. Reese is immediately taken in by Edward's animal magnetism and he with her, but they keep it quite. Turns out that Reese's husband is quite the asshole and rules the circus like a dictator, even resorting to tossing workers off the moving train if he can't afford to pay them. Soon an elephant joins the circus and Reese and Edward are commissioned to create an act around the elephant that will save the circus from financial ruin. You can only guess what happens next.

I liked this movie. For a trimmed down novel adaptation (I'm totally guessing that the novel was more detailed and had better character development), WFE was an enjoyable film and I liked it. But I do have a few suggestions for any time traveling filmmakers looking to go back and remake the movie: 1. different director. Bring in somebody that can create a richer feel to the story. Ang Lee for example. The guy who learned his trade by making Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears music videos ain't cutting it. 2. slightly darker tone. Nothing evil, but make the boss character scarier. He was an asshole, but I never felt threatened by him. 3. create a greater sense of danger for the elephant. There was some abuse portrayed, but if at least it had been implied to be worse the audience would have been drawn in further. 4. replace Reese Witherspoon with Bella. I like Reese Witherspoon as an actress, but here she was too old for the character and there was zero onscreen chemistry between her and Edward. 5. where's the sex?! this is suppose to be a romance movie, but there wasn't even a sex scene! I'm not saying there should be a 30 minute porno scene in the middle of the movie, but it'd be nice if there was some steamy stuff to get your juices flowing. I'm thinking THE LOVER or LUST, CAUTION (oh hey, look, Ang Lee again).

Worth watching if you enjoy Hollywoodized romantic movies, but over all, even thought the story is interesting, it's too tame for it's own good.