Pattinson does well in the lead, and while Pattinson and Witherspoon don’t generate a lot of heat, there is a surprising amount of tenderness that carries them a long way. And if Waltz’ character seems to be twice as villainous as humanly possible, there’s a reason--the screenplay by Richard LaGravanese combines the novel’s owner and the trainer characters into Waltz’ smiling August--whose ineffective, barbaric way with animals--and humans could only be gotten away with if the trainer was indeed the owner. Waltz may not play something resembling a credible human being, but he is extremely entertaining and his presence is electric throughout. If you enjoy a romantic melodrama–or a tale of life under the Big Top, then you should enjoy Water for Elephants.
As long as we’re talking circus, there are a couple of films that are worth owning and are both available on Amazon.com:
Trapeze, recently released on DVD by MGM Classics, is a terrific tale of passion in an Italian circus, as crippled trapeze artist Burt Lancaster tries to get rising star Tony Curtis to achieve the elusive triple somersault, as Gina Lollabrigida smolders in the background. There’s plenty of circus action, the three leads are dynamite, and the film builds to a very satisfying finish.
In The Big Circus, flamboyant, outspoken circus owner Victor Mature tries to keep his circus together despite such obstacles as fastidious accountant Red Buttons, insecure tightrope walker Gilbert Roland, looming bank creditors and some not-so-looming saboteurs. Toss in ringmaster Vincent Price and lovable clown Peter Lorre (in full makeup) and you have a fast-moving, colorful circus yarn that is guaranteed to entertain.