Take a journey back in time with the romantic tale based on Sara Gruen’s New York Times #1 Best-Seller novel of the same name, Water for Elephants, coming to Blu-ray and DVD on November 1st from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Starring Academy Award®-winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line), Robert Pattinson (Twilight series) and Oscar®-winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), the film presents an epic tale of forbidden love in a magical place filled with adventure, wonder and great danger. Showcasing the decadence of a bohemian circus and the majesty of its animals against the backdrop and beauty of a bygone era, Water for Elephants makes the ideal holiday gift idea for your favorite film buff, fashionista or book-lover!
Devastated by the sudden death of his parents at the height of The Depression, a young dreamer from the wrong side of the tracks, Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson), abandons his veterinary studies at Cornell University. With no other family, no house, and no money, Jacob stows away on a train carrying the circus performers of The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Hired as a veterinarian to care for the troupe’s animals, Jacob is temporarily filled with the promise of an exciting life that comes with a traveling circus troupe. However, as he builds a rapport and falls in love with the star of the show, Marlena (Witherspoon), they become prey to the circus’s owner, Marlena’s violent and abusive husband August (Waltz). As the circus begins to crumble from within and against all odds, Jacob and Marlena come together and fall in love through their compassion for a special elephant. With their love on the line, Jacob and Marlena come to a crossroads that will forever change their destiny.
Directed by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Francis Lawrence (Constantine), Water for Elephants features fantastic supporting performances from Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl), Jim Norton (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), Mark Povinelli (The Polar Express), Richard Brake (Batman Begins), and Academy Award®-nominee Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild).
The DVD special features include: Robert Pattinson Spotlight; Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon; The Traveling Show: From Page to Screen; Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese; and Theatrical Trailer.
I loved the book Water for Elephants (my review), and was so excited to hear that a film version was being planned. Then I read about the casting. Robert Pattinson? Edward? Really? I wasn’t happy, but…. I decided to hold on to my reservations and give the movie a chance.
I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theater, though, because I live in a little rural community with a one-screen theater, and we only get “commercial” films. When I was offered a screener copy on DVD, I jumped at it, and immediately scheduled a movie night with my best friend, Michelle.
This movie amazed me. I hoped I would like it. I had slight hopes that Robert Pattinson would be adequate. What I didn’t expect was to completely get sucked into the film within the first fifteen minutes. I didn’t expect to forget that it was Edward up there on the screen, but I did. Pattinson was completely believable as Jacob, and even though the age difference between Jacob and Marlena seemed larger in the movie than in the book, the two actors had fantastic chemistry.
Not only was the main couple cast very well, but the casting was solid all around. Christopher Waltz was truly chilling in his portrayal of the sadistic August. The scenes between August and Marlena, and August and the elephant, Rosie, were disturbing.
Best of all, the filmmakers were smart enough to know that Sara Gruen’s story didn’t need any tweaking, and they followed the book very closely. It was a surprising experience to walk away from a film adaptation without thinking, “They really screwed it up.” For once, they got it exactly right.
Thanks to the generosity of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, I am thrilled to be able to offer one lucky reader of my blog a DVD/book bundle of Water for Elephants.
Here’s how to enter:
~ To enter, please leave a comment below.
~ One entry per person, please. Entrants must have a US or Canadian mailing address.
~ All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST, Friday, November 11, 2011. On November 12th, I will use Random.org to draw the winner and announce him/her here at Books and Movies.
Also, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has put together a reading/viewing guide to enhance your experience: