Recently (like in the past two months) I read the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and I absolutely loved it! It was such a good read! Then one day I watched the movie on Netflix. And I was like, hmmm that was goo, I think. I remember this movie coming out, and I didn't see it because I wanted to read the book first, but the hype for it really died quickly. It had some popular actors in it, and I hardly remember hearing much about it at all. So I looked up some movie reviews. On IMDB it has a 6.9/10... not great, and rotten tomatoes it got a 6.1/10.
I enjoyed the book so so much, but the movie was only ok, as it seems it was for most other people too. Since there was nothing overly glaringly awful about this movie, I found myself wondering why such a fabulous book could turn into a relatively drab movie.
So, it was directed by Francis Lawrence and the screenplay was written by Richard LaGravenese. If you are anything like me, this means nothing to you. But, Lawrence also directed I Am Legend, and is currently directing Catching Fire. Means more now, right? So, I liked I Am Legend (even though it was a lot scary for me!) So, he can't be the problem. I also thought that the filming of the movie was really good. Most of the scenes were beautifully captured. So, Lawrence, you don't get the blame. We also can try and blame writer LaGravenese, he is known for screenplays of Bridges of Madison County and PS I Love You (another of my recent reads I will have to watch the movie of soon!) This screenplay changes a lot from book to movie, with some big ones being:
1) The story starts at the story. There is quite a lot of lead up to when Jacob begins telling the story (a lot of time in the Nursing Home) in the book, which I assume is character building for the future. This is eliminated in the movie, and I think its for the best (not that it was bad in the book) but the movie didn't need it. I was very okay with this change.
2) They get rid of the away from home bit. I don't care about this, this detail didn't matter to me, but I think it was done to easily show the viewed that Jacob is Polish, as that is an important detail.
3) No Al, just August. I didn't like this fact actually. I liked Uncle Al in the book, and I felt like eliminating him from the movie made August feel more important, when really he was more of a middle man. Ithink he should have been kept.
4) The details of Jacob and Marlena running away and then how they return to the circus are not the same. In the end, this isn't a huge change for the better or worse, but it did surprise me a bit while watching. I think it makes sense in the book for the book, and makes sense in the movie for the movie, so that's fine.
There were some other changes as well, but I think this is enough to show that the screenplay was not the problem in this movie adaptation. So, lets turn to the actors.
Marlena - Reese Witherspoon (known for Walk the Line, Leagally Blonde, and recently This Means War)
Jacob - Robert Pattinson (known for the Twilight movies, and Remember Me)
August - Christoph Waltz (known for Inglourious Basterds and Carnage)
And these three people are why this movie is not as good as it could have been. Now, I actually have nothing bad to say about any of them individually. I hardly know who Christopher Waltz is, and he played a good August, but he played a bad Marlena&August. I just did not believe their relationship. Pattinson was a decent Jacob is the scenes where Marlena wasn't around (however I can't help that think that he talks awkwardly because he isn't very good at faking an American accent, it seems very strained and painful thought..) Anyway, he and Witherspoon couldn't make me believe they loved each other no more than I believe 16 year olds who marry old rich men really love them. It was so unbelievable. The characters were cast fine, until you take into consideration the fact that they don't have relationships well with one another. So there you have it, that is why I think this movie was not as good as it should have been.
Any thoughts from anyone who loved or hated this movie?? What about the book??