On Friday evening, I went and saw “Water for Elephants.”
In so doing, I broke a couple of my movie-going Kiki-rules: 1) the movie was longer than two hours, chiming in, officially, at 121 minutes long (although I was out of the theatre in less than two hours, so that time must include the running of the credits), and 2) this movie is an adaptation of a book I have read. [Quick reference note: I'll see a movi-cized version of a piece of writing if I have not read said paper-copy; I avoid novels-turned-films because they more often than not disappoint]. However,
I was desperate I really wanted to go out to a movie, and “Water for Elephants” was playing at the Princess, and it started at 6:30 p.m. Win and win!
I finished reading the novel “Water for Elephants” on October 15, 2008. Yes, that is the correct and precise date. Shades of my Grandpa C, I record, in a coil-bound journal, all of the books that I read, the date I finish them, and then I use my four star rating system to grade how much I enjoyed/disliked the book. (This reading log dates back to June 2004; first novel reviewed: “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger, and it was worthy of the optimal four stars!) What did I write down for “Water for Elephants???”… one and a half stars, only! (*1/2). Did not like.
I know everyone raved endlessly about this book. (In fact, it seems the only other person on this planet who did not embrace it with open arms was Kath). But then, I also did not enjoy “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom; that one, I finished on November 15, 2004 and gave it but a puny ONE star rating. Anyway, let’s leave the book talk and switch back to the movie.
So, what did I think of the big-screen “Water for Elephants?”
I loved it.
I was enthralled and captivated by the story and characters in a way I never experienced while reading the book.
Why? The film was much more vivid than the novel. I remember when I was reading, the story seemed very flat.
Or, maybe I was just in a different headspace now than when I read the book…hard to say, all I know is the movie was wonderful.
Here are a few reflections about the movie (no spoilers!):
~ The storyline in the film remains very faithful to the book version. This is not a case where the movie is unrecognizable from what you read.
~ I am a big Reese Witherspoon fan, and she did a wonderful job, starring as Marlena. Excellent casting.
~ This was my first introduction to Robert Pattinson.
Enh. Of all the actors, he seemed the least comfortable in his role.
And his too-small nose bothers me. I didn’t think there was huge chemistry between him and Reese, either.
~ I have to confess that I am not a pet/animal person. That being said, even I found some of the scenes involving Rosie the Elephant disturbing. So, if you have a huge soft spot for animals (please note I have nothing against pets or animals, I am just not enamoured) ,you will likely dissolve in tears during the movie, at least a few times.
~ The movie proper is a flashback. I appreciated that the present time is only found at both the beginning and end of the movie – they don’t flash back, flash forward repeatedly during the main story, which would have been very distracting.
~ Final thoughts: I’m really glad I saw this movie! It is engaging, surpassed my expectations, and is a worthy watch.
Rating: three stars (***)
Water for Elephants: did you read the book? see the movie? What did you think of either/both? I thought I had forgotten most of the plot, but I remembered more as the story went along.
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Philanthropic Opportunity of the Day:
Janetha, one of my favourite bloggers, has organized an online auction that starts today at 8 a.m. This auction is to benefit a Canadian blogger, Susan, who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. All proceeds from today’s auction will go directly to Susan to help cover her medical expenses.
Let’s help make The Great Fundraising Act a success!
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A year ago today, I flew home [on an airplane] from Florida.