Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Water for Elephants

It didn't hurt that I still saw August (Chistoph Waltz) in his former Nazi role.  I couldn't finish Inglorious Basterds because... well, because I'm a hugely inexcusable wimp.  As much as I love some pretend violence from Quentin Tarantino, I couldn't let go of the realism of a WWII Germany backdrop so I shut it off.  The mind is funny in how it makes connections.  My mind is funny in how it overreacts to things and doesn't let them go.

Anyway, I digress.

August was just as loathsome as he was in the book.  Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) was better, more of a dynamic character than I remembered.  My favorite character from the book, Rosie the elephant, didn't get nearly enough screen time but her scenes were enjoyable.

Tuesday we saw Water for Elephants.  I almost decided to let this one go and wait until it came out on video, but I'm glad I didn't.  (Side note: Video?  Is that even what people say anymore?  Or do we just say DVD now?  Scheez, I'm too young to feel old.)  Sometimes I get anxious about seeing a film of a book I really like because I get upset when a story gets tweaked or shortened.   I get full of unreasonable rage when the feeling of the story changes.  I didn't have to get upset or full of rage.  This was a great movie and I felt like the story was handled with respect.

One of the things that I liked while reading this book was its uniqueness of subject matter.  The same was true of the film.  I liked reading a story and seeing a film about a Depression-era circus. It was just unusual. It's not something I can say I do all the time.

Without spoiling too much I can say that the only part of the story that changed for the film was that the older Jacob's scenes were merged into one conversation.  Though I missed the sweet interaction in his nursing home, I didn't mind the way it was rewritten.  It definitely kept with the spirit of the book.  The grit of the circus was the same.  The contrast of a glittering performer's life with that of the hungry workmen was there.

I enjoyed the movie and it was something completely different. No CGI, no explosions, no "friends with benefits" or poop jokes, just a good story based on a good book.  Hangover 2 and the like be damned--I feel like my faith in this summer's box office is restored.

1 comment:

  1. I so wanted to go see this in the theater! But my plans with a friend fell through. Now I guess I'll wait for video, errr, DVD...