Water for Elephants (BLU-RAY)

Water For Elephants

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Water for Elephants" is a classic doomed love story set in The Great Depression: boy joins circus, boy meets girl, girl has obsessive overbearing husband, they get an elephant, and that never ends well. But that's just the Cliffs' Notes version.

Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) is a one-day-shy-of-graduation veterinarian who finds his world turned upside down after a tragic accident. With nothing left to lose, Jacob takes a risk, hops a train, and finds himself on a journey that changes his life forever.

The next morning he finds himself shoveling manure for the struggling Benzini Brothers circus, rival to the Ringling Brothers outfit. While stowaways normally find themselves "red lighted" off the train (i.e., thrown off the moving train), Jacob manages to convince the circus boss, August (Waltz), that he is most useful to the circus as a vet. Enter Marlena (Witherspoon), star attraction and August's wife, and Jacob no longer has any rational control of his life.

August loves his circus and loves his wife. And by "love," I mean, obsesses, treats like possessions, and stops at nothing to make his business successful. He manages to procure an elephant who not only steals the movie, but is the lynch pin of the entire human dynamic.

This is a hard movie to watch in parts, especially if you love animals as much as I do. Thankfully, we know that the badness is purely special effect, but the real effect comes in hating August. Christoph Waltz plays just as big a bastard in "Water for Elephants" as he did in "Inglorious Basterds," but with less finesse. August is mean, very mean, and will stop at nothing to keep what "belongs" to him.

Jacob Jankowski is played by both Robert Pattinson (young version) and Hal Holbrook (older version); the latter of which is more convincing and more likeable. Reese Witherspoon is a joy to watch as the conflicted wife. She knows that she herself is a possession, but has so much compassion and love for the animals that she couldn't possibly leave August no matter how horrible he is. But it's Holbrook's final monologue that injects Jacob's true emotion into this film and brings believability to the entire affair.

This copy of "Water for Elephants" contains a Blue-Ray and digital copy of the movie that you can download onto portable devices.

Review by Jennifer Isbell