MovieLine: Can Water for Elephants Be the First Great Movie of 2011?

The Internet is popping with loving reviews for Gore Verbinski’s Rango, but might Water for Elephants be the first great, no-caveats-like-it’s-animated film of the year? If the second trailer for the Reese Witherspoon-Robert Pattinson three-hanky weeper is any indication, quite possibly.

I know: You’ve probably got fangs knives out for Water for Elephants, if only because of the presence of Edward Cullen and director Francis Lawrence (he of the immortal I Am Legend), but we’re now two trailers deep into the marketing campaign for this thing, and it still looks kinda great. Well, it looks good, thanks to Lawrence and his cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain, Biutiful), but it actually seems like a worthwhile adaptation of Sara Gruen’s bestseller. Pattinson makes for a winning-but-tortured protagonist, Witherspoon has a great classic movie goddess (not goddesses, Charlie Sheen) vibe, and Christoph Waltz seems perfectly capable of pulling off the mustache twirling villainy that Water for Elephants needs. Considering how bad this early crop of 2011 movies has been — and how the prospects for March don’t look that much better — isn’t it possible for Elephants to be the best film of 2011*? Here’s hoping…

[*Through April 22, when Water for Elephants opens.]

VERDICT: Sold.

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