Water for Elephants Reviews
Short-circuits the novel's quirky charms and period atmosphere by its squeamish attitude toward gritty circus life and smothers the drama under James Newton Howard's insufferable wall-to-wall musical soup.
Director Francis Lawrence and writer Richard LaGravenese replicate just enough of the novel's fantasy to keep audiences involved, even if the results hardly add up to the most spectacular show at the cineplex.
In an age of prefabricated special effects and obviously phony spectacle, it's sort of old-fashioned (and a pleasure) to see a movie made of real people and plausible sets.
Like "The Notebook," but with an elephant, the unexpectedly good film version of "Water for Elephants" elevates pure corn to a completely satisfying realm of romantic melodrama.
What with its big, lush close-ups of the principals, Rodrigo Prieto's moody, humidor-brown cinematography, and the life-is-a-circus emotionalism, Water provides the basic movie-movie pleasure of beautiful people struggling their way out of ugly situations