Friday, April 29, 2011

“WATER FOR ELEPHANTS” Movie Review. Where ELEPHANTS tread, the GRASS shall be TRAMPLED upon. SAVAGELY.


When I was a gregarious kiddo in primary school, my English grammar teacher used to admonish us by saying, “Be warned where Elephants tread, the grass shall be trampled upon.”

What she was trying to impart was a lucid tongue-twisting advice like “don’t court trouble, unless you want trouble to seize you”.

My dutiful teacher was teaching us to be heavenly boys.

This is a stark lesson about life, a grim reminder for one to mind his own business and stay out of trouble.

And of course, to avoid being a screwball-in-between, such as messing around with somebody else’s beautiful wife.

But thy neighbor’s grass is often greener, temptation’s sweet, so what’s the heck.

With this in mind, this Reviewer shall now expound on the sorry tale of a listless country youth who cannot get his mind and hands off an alluring woman, she, incidentally, happens to be a pompous circus owner’s wife.

ROBERT PATTINSON is Jacob Jankowski, this restless young man, a horny rebel without a cause. He has a profound affection for elephants though.

He meets his match in Marlena (REESE WITHERSPOON), a bored-to-death housewife who’s tired of her dual-personality hubby and ever ready for a sexual fling to improve her libido.

CHRISTOPH WALTZ plays August, the demented jealous husband,who’s ready to declare murderous mayhem upon the entire illicit affair.

He is a ringmaster with a sadistic streak when it comes to animals and people who do not understand his term of “obedience”.

August exercises brutality on Rosie, the 9,000-pound elephant who is the show’s star attraction

There’s none so furious, as a man betrayed. Wouldn’t you be?

Rightly so, as most men would succumb to forbidden temptations.

Just remember there’s a price tag.

“WATER FOR ELEPHANTS” highlights an enchanting escapist fairy tale, sets alight in the Depression era.

Jacob, a college veterinary student, orphaned and penniless, discovers a brand new future opening up as he hitches a ride accidentally by hurling himself onto a moving rail car.

He has actually aboarded a traveling circus.

He is readily roped in as “family” and accepted as a new-found buddy of the ringmaster and his animal trainer wife, but our young hero instead, finds himself entangled in a complicated love triangle.

He has the hots for the beautiful Marlena, yet he is aware of the potential dangers of romancing another’s wife, what’s more,with a woman who has a psychotic husband.

It has been reported that the on screen chemistry between Miss Witherspoon and Mister Pattinson was far-from-nice.

The 35-year-old actress joked that her steamy sex scenes with the 24-year-old were anything but enjoyable.

“He had a very runny nose then,” she told MTV, adding: “So it wasn’t that appealing to kiss him.”

This could be fodder for gossip as adverse publicity is often, better than none.

The director-of-photography RODRIGO PRIETO brilliantly captures the strong moods, instilling wisps of nostalgia that are befitting of a forlorn era where poverty prevails, a world we can never get to see.

He sets a sombre pulse and tone throughout with an uplifting strain of sentimentality to instill a feel of authenticity.

We are treated to the insights of a Depression-era circus with visuals so vibrant that baby boomers can immediately experience a total recall.

Finally “WATER FOR ELEPHANTS” is in one part, a sawdust romance with the unbridled passion, the other part – a survival story with a heart.

It opens vividly with an old man’s trudge down memory lane, as the senior Jacob Jankowski (HAL HOLBROOK) recounts his vintage circus days to a modern day circus employee.

Stellar performances from an all-star cast but it is clearly Waltz, who was magnificent in “Inglourious Basterds” is at it again, as August the unscrupulous owner who will stop at nothing to keep his circus in business, even if it means serving the animals rotten food, or not paying his workers on time.

It may not be the greatest palpitating parable ever, but a love story is indeed, a love story.

It sears the heart and will leave an indelible imprint in the viewers’ emotive minds about bitter-sweet loves that were once conquered and almost lost.

Does this one sound familiar?

FRANCIS LAWRENCE, the film director sticks close to the essence of the popular novel by Sara Gruen.

Vivid descriptions and the pathetic grandeur of a lost era are “relived” once again through the lens.

You will be transported into the world of an “old school” circus – where ringmasters, acrobats, animals and elephants take center stage.

In everyone’s life there’s a youth and in his finality there is an old age.

Life moves in a circle.

“WATER FOR ELEPHANTS” is a glaring reminder that you can only be young once.

Youth has no repeat, no permanence.

And beauty will not last.

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