There’s an old line about how everyone wanted to run away to the circus at some point in their childhood. As it turns out, Robert Pattinson actually gets to do that as an adult in this spring’s adaptation of the popular literary title, Water for Elephants.
A second U.S. trailer for the film has been released, and it focuses more on the love triangle at the heart of the story – but loses some of the charming atmosphere present in previous trailers by doing so.
Water for Elephants recounts the experiences of Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) as a veterinary student living in Depression-era America. When his parents are killed in a car accident, leaving Jacob both penniless and heartbroken, he sets out on the road in search of paying work.
Jacob impulsively decides to hitch a ride on a passing freight train and finds himself in the company of the Benzini Brothers’ Most Spectacular Show On Earth, headed by the suave but cruel August Rosenbluth (Christoph Waltz). The ringmaster hires him on to serve as caretaker for the circus animals, but matters become complicated when Jacob falls for the show’s star performer and August’s wife, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon).
Check out the new Water for Elephants trailer (via Amazon) below:
Both the previous official Water for Elephants trailer and international preview revolved more around the romanticized imagery of the film and less on its coming-of-age storyline. Sarah Gruen’s original novel is largely praised for portraying the circus setting and its eccentric employees in a creative manner, and director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) appears to have captured that whimsical atmosphere on film to some degree as well.
Where Water for Elephants look to struggle is with its standard and predictable narrative, which may feel all too familiar. Pattinson could make for a relatively engaging lead here, along with Witherspoon as the object of his affection, but Waltz surprisingly seems like a potential problem. He needs to be convincing as a man who is both genuinely charismatic and sadistic, depending on the occasion – and so far Waltz looks to only have the second half of that act down.
This film might end up being nothing more than a soapy melodrama at the end of the day, but it seems like there’s potential for it to be more memorable and touching than that. Perhaps it’s best to withhold judgement for now – what do you think?
Water for Elephants arrives in theaters next month on April 22nd.