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Carl the Critic: Reviews "Water for Elephants"
Carl the Critic: Reviews "Water For Elephants"
Experience/ Expectations: I remember Tim Burton's "Big Fish," and I remember liking it very much, and I thought that "Water for Elephants" was the circus story that was extended for two hours. I found this to be a correct hypothesis, but it was a well made film, no matter how slow, or boring it was.I kept falling asleep despite the great acting, great cinematography, beautiful soundtrack, authentic costume and production design. I can't call it a bad movie but before you watch it yourself and judge let's talk about the story.
Story: The story has bookend/branching structure, and that circles around the life of Jacob Jankowski. When we meet him he is an old man (who you think is deranged at first) until he tells a random person his life story. We learn that Jacob was a Cornell student who was about to finish his final exam for being a veterinarian, until he learns that his parents have both been killed in a car accident. It's 1931, and it's during the Depression/Prohibition Era, and Jacob learns that he has no home any more. Then, Jacob runs away, and then decides to hop on a random train that turns out to be for a traveling circus. He meets some people, and makes friends with the ring master, August Rosenbluth, who has a smoking hot wife, named Marlena. There rises a love triangle within this, and August has a bad case of bipolar disorder, one minute he is laughing and having a good time the next he is taking his anger out on an elephant.
The title originates from the first job August assigns Jacob as a joke. You see, August was not convinced he could trust a random stranger to help out with his circus, so he assigns him a job (to give water to the elephants, but the joke is that at this time there were no elephants to give water to.) Later on after Jacob kills August's star horse, he is forced to buy an elephant named Rosie, who has to endure the abuse of the insane ringmaster.
Rosie the elephant proves to be smarter than she acts, and soon, Jacob and Marlena form a close bond with her.
This is the story told as simply as humanly possible without leaving any major details out or giving away too much of the story.
Critique: There is a lot that happens, and I think that is why I found it to be boring. It tries to fill up the drama as much as it can by having multiple stories. And although this is not an unheard of method of the branching structure of a movie it is very tedious and it can cause some jarring and unnecessary dialogue. The writing isn't horrible as it is droning, and not repetitive but certainly cliché ( a word I find myself using way too often to describe movies) and predictable (at parts.)
It's not a bad movie, but it has it's moments. The film overall is quite good, but it so long that I found myself enjoying it less and less. But the movie has a lot to offer. Like "Sucker Punch" there are some good things and bad things, and I am not 100% certain if I completely recommend it or not.
Overall: I give it a 7.4, at the very least because this certainly was a good film with a true cinematic feeling, but it is a film that is long, jarring, and may be hard for some people to enjoy.