This really is a beautiful movie. It's a movie that knows people are fascinated by the strange nomadic glamour of the circus as much as--perhaps more than--anything they actually see from the seats, and that this glamour was never again quite as piquant or poignant as it was during the Depression. This is a movie about finding beauty even after you've hit bottom. This movie contains the most beautifully photographed horseshit I have ever seen. Go on, quote that for the DVD cover. You can thank me later. *finger guns*
If you like Robert Pattinson: you will enjoy this. Look, I keep seeing reviews (well, not Ebert's; he gave it three stars) that say he can't act, and I just don't get that. Is it that some of these critics--both male and female, yes--so resent having to watch That Twilight Guy at all that they're not actually watching him? I'm not saying he's Olivier, but he does a really good job of conveying what the character is thinking with his eyes. He's an actor meant for closeups rather than the stage, I think. Good news, guys! This happens to be a movie. Of course, I also think Orlando Bloom is a better actor than he's given credit for, and that he turns in some really beautiful work in the last scene of the second POTC movie. Apparently the acting of young heartthrobs exists at such a high pitch that only dogs and I can hear it, or something.
If you do not like Robert Pattinson: you may still enjoy the numerous scenes where he gets his face beat in (maybe this was the connection to the Ultimate Fighting movie).
I kind of got the feeling that Christoph Waltz might have been slightly phoning it in--you get to do that, when you're Christoph Waltz--and yet he is still pretty creepifying. You're going to sit down and start watching this and you're going to be like, "What is she talking about, he doesn't seem so bad...?" Just wait.
I do question his character's life choices, though. Yeah, you've got a glamorous young blonde wife who goes around riding animals in skimpy sequined leotards. You've just hired a strapping young vet student. Let's clean him up, put him in formal clothes, and make him spend a lot of champagne-soaked time with her. I don't see how this could possibly go wrong.
There are plenty of scenes with the elephant, and yet I feel like there must be further, more substantial elephant scenes that got cut. Of course, I would buy a DVD just to see more about the animals. (How, exactly, do you train an animal to not respond to commands? Like, how do you train Tai the elephant to know that "Rosie" the elephant isn't supposed to understand them? Do you just make sure that you word the two sets of commands differently? I have many questions about this.)
I confess, there is (CRYPTIC SPOILER) a moment involving a stake where I could only imagine a particular character shrieking, "NOOOOO! I'M NOT THE VAMPIRE! HE IS!" Yeah, but do you feed the elephant whiskey? No, you feed the elephant beatings. I know whose side she's taking.
So, like I said on Twitter, it's a really sweet movie; there is some extended heartwarmingness there at the end, in fact. It's a very old-fashioned romance of a movie, and kind of a nice palate cleanser before we get into the next four months of aliens and robots and explosions.
Tomorrow: I may or may not get to see Jane Eyre. I'm going through a bit of a manic rough-around-the-edges swing again, so I'm trying to work as much (and as quietly) as possible.
ETA: My mother wants to go on record as saying that she "really, really liked it."