Of course Water For Elephants was always going to carry the subtitle of What Robert Pattinson Did Next, and as such the myriad fansites dedicated to the Twilight star (my favourite of which is called SpunkRansom) quickly took it to their hearts. But look beyond the name that is top-billed, alongside Reese Witherspoon and everyone’s favourite German Christoph Waltz, and you’ll find a film worthy of watching on its own terms.
There is something fundamentally old-fashioned about the way the romance plays out on screen, and that vintage feel has a lot to do with the authenticity of the period setting, down to the most minute of details. There is a lot of time in the Extra Features spent detailing the near obsessive level of research and painstaking reconstructions that formed the basis for the production and costume designs, and that diligence really shines in the final film.
But Water For Elephants deserves better than that: it is beautifully designed, and wonderfully executed thanks to a head-turning combination of director Francis Lawrence, production designer extraordinaire Jack Fisk and the hugely talented cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto. Together, and along with costume designer Jacqueline West, the team create a lavish canvas on which the acting work can be done.
RPattz as he is hideously known to fans and media outlets that should know better has done very well to make Water For Elephants in a gap between Twilight projects, and it stands as a timely reminder that if allowed, the young actor could very well make a second go of an acting career after the Stephanie Meyer franchise has disappeared from the multiplexes for the last time. Though presumably, he’s going to need to make an “off-brand” choice that once and for all puts a stake through the heart of Edward Cullen.
Read the rest of the review over at What Culture