Elephant the best thing in Water for Elephants

Sarah Gruen adaptation "a slog"

A melodramatic plot, an overdone soundtrack and countless montages make Francis Lawrence’s (I Am Legend) adaptation of Sara Gruen’s Depression-era novel (screenplay by Richard LaGravenese) a two-hour slog. Water for Elephants is told as a flashback in which a geriatric Jacob (Hal Holbrook) recounts his life story: young Jacob’s (Robert Pattinson) parents die the day of his final university exam, so off he flounces to becomes a vet for a traveling circus. Not even Christoph Waltz’s entertaining performance as August, the circus’s tyrannical ringmaster---more of a watered-down Nazi from the Inglourious Basterds Oscar winner---can salvage the boring dialogue. The love story between Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), Christoph’s wife, and Jacob lacks the chemistry it needs to be authentic. Rosie, a bejeweled elephant who doesn’t get enough screen time, should be the movie’s real star.

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