Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hrs. 47 min.
Release Date: December 25th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking.
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Director: David Fincher
JJ Rating: B+
Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born old and ages backwards. He is a great personality that gets along with several people and having many friends along the way on his life’s journey. He has a particular love interest and her name is Daisy (Cate Blanchett). The story is epic and the adventure is long. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
First of all I want to tell Oprah to shut up. I had to go and get my car looked at by my insurance company because I was in a stupid accident that is not my fault and she so happens to pop on up on the screen to interview Brad Pitt about Benjamin Button. I was very pleased that my car was ready to go before she could gush all over it like a teenage boy over his first sexual experience. I did not need her to over hype a movie and ruin it for me. She overly liked The B Movie and that was not a movie to overly like or, for that matter, like that much to begin with. Her idea of what is a good movie is as good as a homeless person’s idea of how well they smell. Sorry to any homeless person because they are much better than an Oprah movie pick 100 times over.
Let me jump right into this and say that Brad and Cate do a fantastic job. They have great chemistry together. So well was it I think that we might hear about how he leaves Angelina for the ever hotter Cate. Brad Pitt had a down to earth, easy going personality that he layered his character with. He was able to convey how it was just as new to him, to live backwards, as it was to other people who found it odd. Cate Blanchett just doesn’t know how to disappoint. I cannot think of a single film she has been in that doesn’t just astound me at how well she acts. Every single film is different character she has to embody and she does it like it’s nothing. Cate is just a casting gem. You just can’t seem to go wrong by her. Her and Brad had to act their characters through different years. And that is pretty striking to see their different energies throughout the film.
Taraji P. Henson played Queenie who is Benjamin’s adoptive mother. She, also, had to act through several years from young to older. Like many actors in this film she just had the ability to shed off other characters she had been and just immerse herself as Queenie and she adds humor to the character with how she can say lines that would otherwise just sound mean. Captain Mike is a character of characters and he was played by Jared Harris. He is an older gentleman who acted like he was in a college frat house when he was on board that tug boat or on shore drinking. Harris just did a great job with this bundle of teenager energy in a middle aged man. Tilda Swinton played Elizabeth Abbott who happened to be the woman Benjamin has a long affair with and it ends on a funny note. Swinton is also a great actress who is a different character every film and puts her all into it. She is astounding to watch and lacks the ability to disappoint. She may not be nominated for an Oscar this year, but that does not mean her acting has fallen, for I think she’s getting better.
Another adaptation. This weekend has been full of adapted movies. Five out of the seven movies I saw were adapted. And I have to say that it is astounding how well all four were adapted for the screen.
The story for Benjamin Button is just epic in theory and it is epic in viewing. Not only does it take a solid block of time to watch but it takes a lot of mental energy to keep engrossed. That is why it is not an A- or above for me. It is a B+ because of the pacing of the film could not be worked out where it was even throughout. It had speed up moments and the slow down moments. In a good film the pace is even throughout the film without it mattering that this is an action scene, this is an argue scene, this is a talk your ear off scene. It also lacked the connection of heart. I think that it got lost in its own epic telling that it faltered on that. Lots of touching moments that were not emotional as they could have been.
There is humor in many of the scenes and there is fun and enjoyment as well. So the script is pretty well done as it was well acted. David Fincher did a good job with the movie. Great shots that not only wide enough to get the action of the scene but also close enough to see the actors and what they were doing or saying. He is the same director of one of my favorites Fight Club.
The visuals were perfect. The scenes in the cities, or the tug boat, the ocean, the home in Louisiana, they bars--it was just done perfectly. Then there’s the way they made Cate and Brad age. Wow. Cate glowed with perfection when she was in her twenties. It was astounding how well it looked. As well as it was funny to see Brad Pitt young as when I first saw him. I was astonished. The older Brad was cool as was having him look so frail. It was flawless, to my eyes.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an epic tale for the classic ages. I don’t see how this won’t be something that will become one of those classics that people enjoy cuddling up on a cold winter weekend or lazy out on a hot summer day to watch. The story beings with “I was born under unusual circumstances” and as story telling goes that is a sentence full of wonderment and word play that flirts with our wanting to know more; so is the same with the film. It’ll invite you in and hold you captive until it decides to let you go.