I saw Water for Elephants this weekend, and I have to say, I'm so happy it didn't let me down. As expected, I liked it. I enjoyed it, and thought it was really entertaining. The best part was that, except for minor details, it did stay very true to the book. And because I liked Sara Gruen's novel, I appreciate the fact that the movie didn't stray away too much. As expected, there were a couple of changes and misses, but overall, the heart of the story was there.
As for the actors cast to play the three lead roles, I thought they did well too. My favorite of course has got to be Christoph Waltz' playing the menacing character of August. After falling in love with him in Inglourious Basterds, where he played a part of an evil Nazi, I was excited to see WFE to see his performance here. He definitely did not disappoint. He is able to play a multidimensional character that the audience clearly hate and can sympathize with at the same time.
Robert Pattinson did awesome as well, I thought. Him playing the role of Jacob - ironic, right? - was so spot on. He was able to pull off the character really well. He was exactly how I thought the main character would be. Casting him was one of the best things about the movie. I also have to say that I think that anytime he comes out with a new movie (that is not Twilight - sorry fans!) I am definitely watching, because he is quite good!
As for Reese Witherspoon playing the role of Marlena, I thought she was alright. I love Reese Witherspoon and think she's adorable, but I just don't think she fits the "smoldering, exotic, sexy, fragile" characterat all, in my opinion. She did a great job playing a complex character though as she always does, but maybe another actress could have been a better choice. Also, she didn't seem to have much chemistry with Robert Pattinson at all, so maybe that could be it as well.
Word of caution though. If you are extremely sensitive when it comes to animal abuse, this movie might be harder to watch. The story itself deals a lot with the abuse of animals in circuses, so that's a given. To be honest though, I thought these scenes in the film were definitely the strongest moments. And the actual animal "actors" in the movie were pretty much amazing.
Overall, I really liked it. I paid $10.50 for the movie, and didn't feel guilty at all that I spent it on this, because to me, it's definitely worth seeing it. I loved the overall feel and ambiance of the movie, the actors playing the characters, the animals, the cinematography, the soundtrack... everything. So yes, I highly recommend the movie. It's not amazing or a favorite of mine by any means, but I am in love with how they truly paid attention and stayed true to such a good novel.