Water for Elephants vs Water for Elephants (2011)



There’s an elderly gentleman in a nursing home, suffering from some elements of dementia. His present day is intermingling with memories of his youth; during the depression, he worked on a circus. There is laughter, tragedy, love, death. Everything you need for a good yarn.

I find that the elderly person reminiscing on their youth can be a really overworked structure unless it is done really well. For me, it was the perfect structure for the book of Water for Elephants. The character of the old man who has lost his independence and is feeling helpless and that he has had his dignity stripped from him was beautifully portrayed and led into the actions that he takes. It’s a very enjoyable book with a lot to keep you interested, and a lot of historical fact that I found fascinating.

I was extremely hesitant to watch the film as I am not the biggest fan of Robert Pattinson, the star of Twilight. It’s a small thing, but I often find that his lips are far too red, and I find that odd. Then I discovered the film also starred Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz, and I am quite a fan of both of their work.

For a film, I don’t think it needed the old man reminiscing at all. Especially because all of his character was taken away and he was just left an empty vessel telling the story. There is enough in the story that it would have stood alone as a film. Plus, there are several times in the book when a period of time passes; a few days, or a week, but the film rushes through this and, I feel, loses some of the development of the story.

Both the film and the book are good; entertaining, different and interesting, but not brilliant.

Django Unchained (2012) Film Review


The return of Quentin Tarantino. Good. I’ve always been a fan, despite having reached an age and sensitivity where I need to close my eyes during the most violent scenes and some of the hilarious dialogue makes me cringe. Thank goodness there’s a lot more to it.

Django Unchained sees Christopher Waltz (who played the massively evil Nazi in Inglourious Basterds) playing Dr King Schultz, a bounty hunter who travels America killing criminals for the reward. He finds himself hunting three brothers who he can not identify, and requires the services of Django, a slave in chains being marched across the country. Django previously worked on a plantation where these brothers were overseers, and Schultz enlists him to assist him to recognise that dispatch them. Eventually, the two men pair up to find Djano’s wife and return her to his arms. Things get bloody in the way that only Tarantino can manage.

I did enjoy this film, although I found that there were several times when it really seemed too long and I needed a break. However, the performances were so strong that I was caught up in the paths of the characters. Yes, at times they seem a bit too smart for their own good, but they have to be. And yes, those who are evil are totally and unquestionably evil. But that makes revenge so much more sweet.

I think Django Unchained is the type of film you need to enjoy for what it is – ultra violent, quite funny, very clever and with an awesome soundtrack. Like much of Tarantino’s work.

Robert Richardson has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography

Django Unchained has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture

Wylie Stateman has been nominated for an Oscar for Sound Editing and a BAFTA for Sound

Quentin Tarantino has been nominated for an Oscar for Writing (Original Screenplay), a Golden Globe for Best Director. He won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay (Motion Picture). He was nominated for a BAFTA for Original Screenplay.

Django Unchained was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Leonardo Dicaprio was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a  Motion Picture

Christopher Waltz won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and was nominated for a BAFTA for Supporting Actor.

Fred Raskin has been nominated for a BAFTA for Editing