Water For Elephants

Featured In Issue 161, November 2011

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Moments of intense violence and sexual content
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Francis Lawrence
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In Water For Elephants, a young dreamer from the wrong side of the tracks, Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) is devastated by the sudden death of his parents at the height of The Depression and 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' 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. Based upon the novel by Sara Gruen. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard Lagravenese; six featurettes: Raising The Tent (HD 15:42), The Star Attraction (HD 09:12), The Traveling Show: Page To Screen (HD 09:14), Robert Pattinson Spotlight (HD 03:58), Working Without A Net: The Visual Effects (HD 22:37), and Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon (HD 02:35); the theatrical trailer; BD-Live functionality and a digital copy.

The 2.35:1 1080p AVC picture is gorgeously presented with glowing colors and dramatic contrasts. Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography is perfectly framed and lit, for a wonderful cinematic experience. Hues are nicely saturated with rich and vivid primaries and perfectly rendered fleshtones. The imagery is, at times, breathtaking. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is revealing of nuances in the production design. Resolution is superb as well, with fine detail exhibited in facial features, hair, clothing, and object textures. This is spectacularly beautiful picture that never seizes to captivate and mesmerize! (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is perfectly complementary to the stunning picture quality. Dialogue is nicely rendered with good spatial integration throughout. Atmospherics and sound effects, with respect to the circus, such as crowd response and animal sounds, and the scenes with a chugging steam train are nicely executed and dimensional. The surround mix is, at times, aggressive and consistently enveloping. Deep bass extension is nicely presented with, at times, sub-25 Hz energy, to enhance the dramatic effects. The soundtrack's dynamics and fidelity are wonderful. James Newton Howard's orchestral score is sweeping and dramatic. This is an extremely well-produced soundtrack with sensitivity, dynamic impact, and holosonic® envelopment that really emotionalizes the storytelling experience. (Gary Reber)