|The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 05/05/2009 Run time: 165 minutes Rating: Pg13
The technical dazzle of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a truly astonishing thing to behold: this story of a man who ages backwards requires Brad Pitt to begin life as a tiny elderly man, then blossom into middle age, and finally, wisely, become young. How director David Fincher--with makeup artists, special-effects wizards, and body doubles--achieves this is one of the main sources of fascination in the early reels of the movie. The premise is loosely borrowed from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story (and bears an even stronger resemblance to Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Confessions of Max Tivoli), with young/old Benjamin growing up in New Orleans, meeting the girl of his dreams (Cate Blanchett), and sharing a few blissful years with her until their different aging agendas send them in opposite directions. The love story takes over the second half of the picture, as Eric Roth's script begins to resemble his work on Forrest Gump. This is too bad, because Benjamin's early life is a wonderfully picaresque journey, especially a set of midnight liaisons with a Russian lady (Tilda Swinton) in an atmospheric hotel. Fincher observes all this with an entomologist's eye, cool and exacting, which keeps the material from getting all gooey. Still, the Hurricane Katrina framing story feels put-on, and the movie lets Benjamin slide offscreen during its later stages--curious indeed.--Robert Horton
Also on the disc
Criterion offers a two-disc presentation of the 2008 Oscar-winner, stamped as "Director Approved." Hard to miss that, since David Fincher is all over the extras on this one: he provides a talkative commentary track for the 165-minute film, which leaves little doubt about his fabled involvement in every aspect of the results you see on screen, and he figures in the documentary sections contained on the second disc. Fincher is such an assured, skillful talker that he easily justifies the otherwise standard-issue collection of behind-the-scenes material. The documentary sections can be played as one epic (three hour) making-of feature, which actually lasts longer than the film itself; they are also carved up and can be played in handy parts: the origins of the project (tons of people considered making it, including Frank Oz, Ron Howard, and Spike Jonze), the flabbergasting technical trickery involved, shooting in post-Katrina New Orleans, and anything else you can think of. Especially illuminating is the step-by-step stuff about how Brad Pitt's face was motion-captured for the purposes of morphing it onto the work of body doubles--in case you're still puzzled about how all that really worked. The usual production stills and an essay by Kent Jones fill out the package. --Robert Horton
Stills from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Click for larger image)
- Uncurious and uncuriouser...
Just throwing stars at what's a great story is counter-productive here. It's not surprising or unexpected. It's a short story that is stretched unimaginably into an unengrossoing overlength movie. They could have easily dispatched with a whole segment where Cate Blanchett simply fails to look both ways before crossing an intersection. The story THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI is more flushed out than BENJAMIN BUTTON and might have more meat for a movie. But all the same, this movie didn't need the Hollywood effect that was applied overthickly....more info
- A very curious title indeed... perfectly rendered on Blu-Ray.
"I was born under unusual circumstances..."
The curious case of Benjamin Button is something very different, very surreal. Told from the perspective of an old child, who becomes a young man, the story is about life and, most importantly, death. Exposing the viewer to the different views that people have on others who are "different," one can see how Benjamin (Bradd Pitt) is affected by all of the events surrounding his unusual birth. Living in an elderly retirement home, Benjamin is shown how death is constantly affecting the life of many people. People come, and they go. Of course, this film is not only about the glooms of life, but also about love. In the eyes of Benjamin, Daisy (Cate Blanchett) is his perfect damsel. The intriguing part of the story-telling is how the couple come to meet in different points of their lives. Seeing their relationship grow is certainly peculiar, an old man, who is a child, falling in love with those gorgeous blue eyes. This film is not just that, but rather a fusion of art and movie making. The cinematography, the editing, the pacing, the music, it all comes together, woven in perfection, creating a world where there is bad, but plenty of goodness and love. Director David Fincher knows how to get his audience what they want, an amazing story with incredible acting and pacing. By the time the credits roll, we realize that we were taken on a journey, full of life, death, love, and most importantly, that no matter who you are, life treats you the same. This is a film for the ages, one that will be studied for many years to come.
5 out of 5.
Whoa! As soon as I saw those buttons falling, forming the Paramount and WB logos, I was stunned. From the get-go, this film is reference material on Blu-Ray. All of the special effects, CGI or prosthetic, looked impeccable, and this Blu-Ray helps boast these effects at home. There are no artifacts or any blemishes, considering the films was shot on digital cameras. Perfect picture quality!
The audio is another great aspect of this BD. A talky film, dialogue is always prioritized, but when the rears need to kick in, they do. Bass is powerful, when need be, and the subtle atmospheric effects are always present. A wonderful DTS-HD MA mix. Overall, a solid, demo-worthy disc, courtesy of Criterion. This is easily a contender for Blu-Ray disc of the year. Kudos to the team of Benjamin Button....more info
- Long, Dull, Boring and Way Over-Hyped
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starts out slow, then slows down. The feeling you get watching it is "is this going anywhere?" The answer is no. It's not that it's a chick flick, because my wife felt the same way about it. The movie is pretentiously artsy without being artistic. The characters are developed so poorly you really don't care what happens to them. Save almost 3 hours of your life and avoid this movie....more info
- A story about love and aging
The movie starts out with a middle aged woman taking care of her dieing mother in New Orleans shortly before and during Hurricane Katrina in 2004. The woman Caroline wants to make her mother more comfortable so she reads from the diary of Benjamine Button (who is her father) who had an interesting life.
He was born November 11, 1918 (the day WWI ended) His mother died giving birth to him and he looked so old that his father left him on the steps of an old folks home. An African American woman who worked at the home took him in an raised Benjamin as her own. As Benjamin grew he started looking younger and younger. When he was about 12 Daisey the 8 year old granddaughter of one of the residences came to visit. Benjamin and Daisey became friends then.
When Benjamine was in his mid to late teens (but still looked about 70) he worked on a ship and became friends with the Irish sea captain who ran it. During his time on the boat Benjamin was stationed in Moscow and had an affair with a married English lady who was many years older than him. Shortly after this he saw action in the Pacific During World War II and saw many of his friends die.
He came back to Louisianna and got back in touch with Daisey who became a dancer during the war years. They kept in touch and Benjamin went to Paris to help Daisey out when she was severly enjured in a car accident.
Shortly after the accident Daisey came back to Louisianna and Benjamin and Daisey began their realationship. They lived together for several years before Daisey became pregnant and had a daughter named for Benjamin's mother.
Catherine (the daughter) grew normally and after a few yearsn Benjamin new that he had to go away because it would not be fair for Daisey to have to raise both their daughter and him at the same time.
Benjamin left and Daisey continued her life as a mother and dance teacher, getting married to a man that Catherine thought was her real father. Benjamin kept in touch and when Catherine was a teenager came back to see them.
Over the next several years Daisey saw Benjamin as he regressed into a teenager, and little boy and finally a baby who died in her arms in 2002.
All in all a very powerfull story with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett giving amazing performances as Benjamin and Daisey....more info
- SINGLE-DISC DVD HAS NO SCENE SELECTION MENU!
This review refers specifically to the single-disc DVD version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Being an avid fan of deluxe two-disc editions of films, I admit I very nearly bought the one for this, particularly since I'm something of a sucker for that attractive Criterion logo. I've never been disappointed with any Criterion release, even though in this case it's more of a marketing gimmick than a measure of the release's quality. However, upon reading that all the special features were simply making-of features and interviews, I simply couldn't justify paying ten dollars more just for a special features disc I'll only watch once.
So I bought this single-disc version, which I understood to have no special features at all, not even so much as a theatrical trailer. I was happy with that. I was not happy, however, to discover the DVD has absolutely no scene selection menu at all. That's one of the basic functions of a DVD and should NEVER be absent - particularly with a film this long.
The film is divided into sixteen chapters, but these can only be accessed by the Chapter Skip feature on your DVD player and some remotes (my remote doesn't have this feature). Sixteen chapters is a bit scant, particularly with a film this long. There should be at least twice as many chapters along with a chapter selection menu.
What is on the DVD is a brief anti-smoking commerical (easily skipped) and language & subtitle selections. I understand studios are attempting to compel more and more buyers to purchases two-disc editions by making the single-disc versions have little to no extra content on them, that's just big business doing what they do best (worst?) - but to remove the basic functions of a DVD is deplorable and, most importantly, just bloody irritating!...more info
- Long, but it doesn't seem long
2 hours and 45 minutes, be prepared. It's a long movie, no doubt about that. Aside from a bit of wandering at about 30 minutes in, the film really moves along at a good pace and, in the end, doesn't seem almost 3 hours long. It's a very enjoyable movie.
The bad about this film, the DVD transfer. This is one of the poorest DVD transfers I've seen in a very long time. In fact I'd almost forgotten what compression artifacts looked like. Oh my, they are present in this film. There's about 5 scenes, moderately dark scenes where pixellation is so obvious, it's hard not to be distracted by them. They are at very strange places, not the common problem places (midnight skies full of stars, sunsets or sunrises, inky dark black scenes); no they are at these moderate light level areas. Somebody was just asleep at the wheel during the conversion process.
The other bad - this single disc edition. Darn it, there's just the movie, nothing else. So they've used the full almost 9Gb of resolution for the film (no director commentary, very few previews, and only spanish and french alternate soundtracks), and they've managed to muck up the transfer - shame on the dvd manufacturer.
The great - this movie. Oh yes I enjoyed it. Brad Pitt is wonderful. He actually manages a credible New Orleans accent that he keeps consistent through the film. Kate Blanchett, oh what an incredibly gorgeous actress. Those blue piercing eyes. Probably the role of a lifetime for her. Queen, oh she had some of the best lines in the film. I loved her so much. And the man that is struck by lightning 7 times - yes he finally does tell the 7th time - the clips are actually very funny.
The mediocre - this is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Several years ago Salon dot com offered this and many other Fitzgerald short stories as a download. Bill Irwin, a wonderful voice talent reads this story on that edition. It seems that the script writers took some liberties with the story and tried to modernize it a bit. This is actually where I think the film falls apart a bit. The Katrina backdrop was a bit needless. The floating back and forth between Caroline, Daisy's daughter, reading the story and Benjamin, Brad Pitt, telling the story in his own words was a bit hokey. Blending the two voices together was not very good. Caroline, played by Julia Ormond, does not have a very good reading voice. Brad Pitt is infinitely better.
The other bits I didn't care for as much were the blending in of the Great Gatsby here and there, that sense of there's the haves and the have nots. The have nots will always look up to the haves. And poor Benjamin is an orphan, so he must be envious of the haves.
Overall this is a very touching love story between Benjamin and Daisy. I'm certain you've read or heard all about this film. It's all true and all wrong. It's a long movie that is a pleasure to watch. There are some good funny moments, and you'll be touched by the film.
Technically, the sound is outstanding. So many moments where the room felt like those things were really happening. The cinematography is very good. Kate Blanchett is in gorgeous light all the time, and her eyes stand out more than I've ever seen in an actress (short of Venessa Redgrave in Blow Up; or Jacquline Bisset in Day for Night). The pacing is generally good. It might have been better to edit down the first half hour or hour - tighten things up about 15 minutes.
Rated PG-13. There's one f-bomb for those counting. There's a few scenes with prostitutes (no nudity), and several references to going to brothels. There's a bit of violence on the tugboat where several men are killed. Overall, if this had been a foreign film with subtitles, the MPAA would have rated it R, hands down. But since it's Brad Pitt and an American production, it got a PG-13, just barely.
It's The Great Gatsby meets Forrest Gump without the speech problem; overlayed with a beautiful love story. This is a movie well worth watching and committing the time to watch. ...more info
- I had high hopes, but ...
Really wanted to like this. But after watching it, I can only say this:
It's Forrest Gump in reverse, only without the grand spectacle or sense of historical involvement or human connection. It has no soul. The reverse aging is a gimmick with no real purpose or meaning.
At the end, you get the feeling that not much has happened, and slowly.
I admit it has great visuals and effects and sense of period, but to what end? Each event and encounter left me wondering, so what? Who cares?
Forrest Gump's adventures and interactions showed us how silly we are, or how shallow, or how much better we could be, or what was important in life. Benjamin's, on the other hand, don't seem to point to anything at all - it's empty. In the end, nothing has been accomplished apart from an expensive exercise in backwards-aging Brad Pitt; you feel that you have gained nothing and experienced nothing.
No, wait. There is one thing to be gained, near the end, when he's a kid again, demanding his breakfast. He uses a vulgarity but the scene - all of 4 seconds - is hilarious (and sad at the same time). But that hardly makes up for 3 hours of nothing....more info
- Nothing short of phenomenal
I just watched this movie from start to finish and I feel that no matter what is said, Brad Pitt gave the best performance of his career. Oh he's good in other roles(The Ocean Trilogy for one), but in this movie, I can see the age progression, the changes between the two lovers, oh it is nothing short of phenomenal. Seriously. When I got to the end of the film, I didn't feel depressed, I didn't feel much. to be honest, I cannot explain it. I sat and watched a movie of two people who were moving in two different directions which made me feel sad for them. When they were at their best, they gave the love they needed to one another. But at the end I felt nothing but some sadness for them, but again I realize that the two were there for each other when they were there for each other. One thing that intrigued me was the buttons at the beginning of the movie with the movie company logo; that was cute. I was ticked with Benjamin's father because he wanted to toss that baby to its death and if it wasn't for that cop asking questions, he would have. I am glad to see that he came to terms with him though and did the right thing. I was a bit ticked that no one would reach him when Queenie passed away. An oversight? what is this? I must say I was quite impressed with the movie; I can see why it got the accolades it did; I am sorry it didn't get the Oscar but in spite of that lack, it's still a very good film. A darn good film. ...more info
- A stunning film...
This was one of my favorite movies of 2008.
I don't know HOW people are saying this was like Forest Gump. They're nothing alike, past both being great movies.
The tone of the movie is completely different. The language formation isnt anything like Forest Gump either. Clearly, the people who think so either saw something I missed, or (I think)just didn't get the movie.
Clearly, its a story about something that hasn't actually happened and more likely than not, never will. That aside, the characters are as believable as any other fiction of this sort if not more so.
I also didn't think this move was about his ineveitable death so much as what he did while he was alive. The ultimate 'you may never see tomorrow, so do what you can with today' movie. If you were depressed with the turns in this movie than you missed the whole point.
Everything about this movie was beautiful, endearing even. The score, the filming, the amazing fx, and brilliant actors made this movie the best I have seen in a VERY long time. ...more info
- Awesome Movie!
I think this movie was AWESOME!Great acting by Brad Pitt.Visual effects were great and story may be kind of long but it makes you appreciate these kinds of movies which some don't anymore.Long story short.Buy the movie you'll love it,cause I sure did. SUPERB!...more info
- Fitzgerald, twisted
F. Scott Fitzgerald made "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" a poignant but whimsical and often funny tale of a man born old who grows young. Hollywood twists this short story beyond recognition.
In Fitzgerald's version, the father is discombobulated but takes his gray-haired, withered newborn home and has him dye his hair and otherwise try to masquerade as a young 'un. The film father tries to drown and then abandons his son. Fitzgerald's Benjamin woos and marries the belle of the ball; as she ages, he uses his burgeoning energy to attend parties and master the latest dance steps. In the big screen version, romance ends in tragedy.
Thus does the film convey Hollywood's idea of a serious message, to wit, "Life sucks, then you die." Some reviewers have noted the similarity to 1994's FORREST GUMP. Was that the last time a Hollywood movie with a happy ending won Best Picture?
This reviewer is happy the Jazz Age master isn't around to see what they did to his odd little yarn....more info
- Uneven but thought provoking
I won't recount the plot here as many have already done so. This movie has its uneven points that I'll get to in a bit, but in general, I found it to be a little different than usual and somewhat thought provoking. Imagining a person aging backwards makes one think about issues of life and death as well as what it takes to enjoy life at any particular time. In that sense this is an interesting movie to watch. Now for the bad. First of all, I found the dialog in this movie difficult to hear for some reason. I don't know if it's the accents or background sound in the movie or what. While a lot is made of the portrayal of the aging, I found it to be a bit uneven. At times it seems like the Benjamin charater de-ages at the wrong pace. He seems to get young too fast in some cases. There were a few things in the movie that were interesting but seemed a bit out of synch with the movie like the Hurricane Katrina setting for the present-day storyline, the clock that goes backwards made by someone who doesn't appear to have a lot to do with the outcome or the string of fate sequence leading to an accident for one of the characters. Finally, one of the big disappointments for me was the fact that it seemed like long streches of the movie were somber sequences that left out many interesting possibilities. In spite of the insinuation that this character did a lot in his life, he actually does surprisingly little in the movie, and the age peculiarity actually is developed surprisingly less than it could have been. I also didn't find the love story to be terribly believable or the two characters to have a lot of chemistry, but somehow it sort of works in the end for what the movie is trying to achieve I think. This certainly isn't one of the best movies ever and I find it hard to see myself watching it a second time, but it was definitely worth seeing. ...more info
So many movies these days feel the same as Hollywood recycles ideas over and over again. This movie had a unique plot which was certainly a plus. The idea of a person growing young was an interesting idea to explore, the cinematography was visually pleasing and parts were rather amusing. Other reviewers have complained about inaccuracies and things that could never happen. These pieces of the story don't bother me, though, because the whole premise of the movie is a totally fictional idea--a man is born old and grows young; that is something that has never happened and never will, so who's to say what would "really" happen? I do have to admit, though, that when Benjamin grows chronologically old (physically young) he does seem to take on both infant AND aged characteristics at the same time which only puts him in a worse position and I found that a bit frustrating. But, like I said, this is all fiction, so who's to say the way it would or wouldn't be? Also, some reviews complain of a meandering story line that is hard to follow. I disagree. The story isn't told in a conventional way, and perhaps you have to think a little bit to follow it, but I thought the very slight variation in presentation was refreshing.
So why just 2 stars? I don't like walking away from a movie feeling depressed which I certainly did on this one. Just this aspect was enough to knock off a full 2 stars. The movie is full of lost opportunities, both forced and voluntary separation from loved ones, and a lack of satisfaction. There is a brief period in our main character's lives where they are together and both very happy, but it is such a short season in their lives. Really, they could have been together and have been happy like that for much, much longer but through a combination of their circumstances and their own choices, they are not. I found this especially depressing since I didn't agree with the characters' choices. I also found it terribly sad in the end that Benjamin becomes senile and can't remember who Daisy (or anyone else) is nor can he remember anything about his life, and yet he is a small child and Daisy still has to take care of him. And although chronologically Benjamin is eighty-something when he passes away, he has the body of an infant and it is very sad to me to see an infant die (perhaps that's just because I'm a new father ).
Another star was lost for all the sex. I don't remember any explicit scenes, but boy does Benjamin have a lot of sex in this movie. That got really old really fast.
To sum up, if I were to compare this to another movie or two, I'd say it was a mix between Cast Away (mood) and Forrest Gump (story style). If you really liked both of those movies, you may like this one. If you didn't, then I suggest you spend your time doing something more productive than watching this movie....more info
- An Intelligent and Heart Warming Tale
I have not read the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald the movie is based off but if it is as good as the movie, it's sure to be an American classic. To be honest I was expecting to be bored with this movie, I enjoy a good drama but prefer it with some suspense or even some action. That said, after sitting through the movie twice I can honestly say this is easily one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.
The plot runs smoothly and never drags and keeps the plot flowing at a moderate pace. The plot itself is so simplistic, it is the basic story of one man's life, but told not only by told himself but the love of his life and her daughter. Don't expect any crazy twists that Brad Pitt's movies are known for just solid storytelling from start to finish.
The cast is superb and never miss a beat. Whether it be the rather charming Brad Pitt as Benjamin or Taraji Henson as his well-to-do mother or even Cate Blanchett portraying the love of Benjamin's life, they all shine brightly. The amazing cast is also backed by some extremely intelligent dialog, by far some of the best in years. You find yourself drawn to the characters as they interact in Benjamin's life and when all is said and done they are as close to you as your closest friend.
Their is some light humor added to the mix, such as a man randomly being hit by lightning, or Benjamin getting drunk for the first time and it is approached in a charming manner. Their is also a couple parts that have some action including several extremely moody pieces shot on water. The visuals are amazing and the wardrobes and sets truly make you feel as though you have stepped back in time.
Well without chattering on and on I just would like to say that this is a movie that I believe even people whom aren't so interested in the more serious side of Drama's can enjoy. I highly recommend any one even slightly interested to get their hands on the movie at once. In my opinion there are no other movies to compare to this as it's tale is one of utterly undeniable originality. Thank you for reading and I hope that my review interested you and ultimately encouraged you to see the movie....more info
- Powerful, well done, thought provoking movie
This is an exceptionally long movie--perfect for DVD viewing as you can take a break if you need to.
The acting was superb, the plot interesting with twists and turns that I didn't predict. For me, the movie went by fast.
I think a key to this movie is that you either like it or you don't and you will know within the first 30 minutes or so.
I thought the special effects were amazing and I loved the psychological development of the characters.
Watching the extras on the DVD is interesting, although time consuming.
When you watch this movie more than once you pick up on different nuances that you didn't notice the first time. I suppose that is always true, but seems more so with this since there is so much detail....more info
- How Interesting !
How very interesting indeed. Fantastic. Kickin' butt movie. Loved the sailor with the tattoos and did you notice that Benjamin never lied in this movie? Once he avoided the question tho and said to the tugboat captain that he did drink too much :D .
~ Angel Sterri
- mesmerizing, meaningful--and exquisite
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button deals with life and interpersonal relationships with a degree of sophistication and artistic quality that few films ever accomplish. It moved me very deeply and I am extremely impressed by this film. At first blush it would appear to be a somewhat bizarre or even silly story about a man who ages backward and the people he meets in life; but it is so much more than that. The issues of life and death, love, compassion, loss, joy and suffering are all explored quite well in this movie; and the plot moves along at a very good pace. I was never once bored despite the fact that it runs roughly 2 and ? hours. The acting is superlative; Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett turn in stunning performances that prove they have the talent to be superstars for quite some while to come.
When the action starts, a young boy is born to a mother who dies after giving birth. The father is horrified at the infant's appearance of being elderly despite being the size of an infant; and he dumps the baby on the doorstep of a home for elderly people run by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). Queenie has a heart of gold; she accepts the infant into her home and raises him as her own--she even names him Benjamin. As time passes, we see Benjamin grow younger; and at age 7 he is finally able to get out of his wheelchair and take his first few steps during a gospel-style church meeting.
Benjamin soon meets the very young Daisy, who captures his attention and becomes the love of his life. When he appears elderly he is in fact quite young so they even play together; but when he gets older (and a bit younger in appearance) he leaves home and writes to Daisy regularly as he sails on a tugboat with Captain Mike (Jared Harris) and Mike's crew. Mike and Benjamin form a true bond and when the Second World War erupts there's they see quite a bit of action that results in very tragic consequences. From time to time Benjamin's life intersects with Daisy's although they never seem to meet quite under the right set of circumstances--at least, that is, until the 1960s when he (Brad Pitt) is getting younger and she (Cate Blanchett) is getting older. But enough of that--I won't give away too many spoilers here!
Benjamin meets several interesting people along the way--there's his affair with Elizabeth Abbott (Tilda Swinton), the wife of a British spy in the former Soviet Union; and he eventually meets his father who leaves the family button business to Benjamin after he dies. However, Benjamin refuses to recognize him as his real father; he still refers to Queenie as his mother.
What about Daisy and Benjamin? When they do meet halfway through life, what comes of it? Do they marry and stay together; or do problems crop up? Will Benjamin take to the family's button business or will he remain a somewhat free and innocent spirit? And the film opens with an elderly woman on her deathbed in a hospital--who is she? Who is her daughter? Why do they matter in this film? Watch and find out!
The 2 DVD Criterion Collection of this film has a plethora of extras on the second DVD. The DVD that has the film on it includes an optional running commentary with director David Fincher. The 2nd DVD has extras including featurettes about the production, visual effects and makeup; stills galleries; a good look at costume design and the costume gallery for the movie; a featurette about the musical score and another featurette about the premiere of the film. You won't be at a loss for things to watch!
I highly recommend this film for anyone who appreciates artistic films exploring the meaningful issues of life, death, hope, joy, compassion, love and loss; and of course this is a must-have movie for fans of the actors in this movie.
- Experience in Life May be Counted
I am sorry that one reviewer was sad but for those of us who have lived life with many chronic serious illnesses and have surmounted the losses of losing mates and children, this film was life reaffirming and embodies the wheel of life that can often resemble a roller-coster. Every character in this film, if you pay close attention, has had major loves, losses, and most have continued beyond the expected END, in so many instances. Hope , faith and love replace the regret that can cripple the willingness to go beyond the human expectation of others.
Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are at the top of their performances, far surpassing their duo in Babel. There was much more chemistry and honesty in their performances in this film. My only regret was the audio when Ms. Blanchett is talking to her daughter and near death. Yes, I realize she must have had a stroke but many lines were not understandable. Julia Ormand was wonderful and it was fabulous to see her again after so much time.
It is true that everyone wishes for a happier time, a time of great love, holding a loved one who is alive, a simpler time in history, a clock that could take us backwards to a joyous moment but that is the essence of this film- LIVE LIFE NOW and live without regret. Loving everything on this human roller-coster ride called LIFE will show us how to ride without ever giving up. EVEN IF OTHERS TELL US WE WILL NOT SURVIVE- POPPYCOCK! As long as we share our stories, we live in the hearts of those we love and if they pass that story on, as in this film, love will live forever. ...more info
- Mix in a tad of Titanic, a dash of Notebook, and a whole lotta GUMP
Overall, the costumes, make-up, special effects, and acting are all top notch, but the story line, which sounded so original, felt like it had been done before.
It started with an older lady narrating her young love story to her daughter, and I'm guessing the writer was watching Titanic when they thought up this premise. However they must have changed the channel when they came up with a young naive child and his unconditionally loving mother. He has trouble fitting in with other children. They all look at him like he's different, except for young Jenny or whatever her name was. At least the poor kid didn't have leg braces, instead he had arm braces and in almost a miracle he just wills himself out of them- it makes you want to yell `Walk Benjamin, Walk!' Then he hangs out with adults, but still being at a child's mental state, seems to be a little slow but has a good trusting heart. Later he meets a grumpy drinking Lieutenant, I mean Captain, and they work on boat a together. They even fight in a battle with the Captain fulfilling Lieutenant Dan's original goal. Also Kate/Jenny gets caught up in her artsy/hippy crowd and only comes back to Ben/Gump when an injury/sickness happens and he can take care of her. Another coincidence occurs during a special moment when Brad sees his old lady friend on tv swimming. It's the dyslectic version of Jenny seeing Gump running on tv. And finally the writers must have changed channels again and the Notebook takes over- I'll leave it at that.
However, what ultimately swayed me away from this long movie was the main actresses who played Brad's love interests just weren't attractive. Even though they are two of the best actresses out there, they just don't make good lovers on screen. They weren't as bad as The Dark Knight's leading lady, but falling in love with the Notebook, Titanic, or Gump's leading ladies was much more desirable. So overall I do not recommend buying this- a rental at best. However if you think you'll like it based on previews, then you will probably like it.
- Excellent, Thought Provoking, and Curious!
I just watched this on Blu-Ray last night and loved it. Not being a fan of movie theaters, I much prefer to just wait and have the home theater experience. This one was well worth waiting for!
Many of the scenes looked great on the big screen in high def. The sound was also high quality, however, I had trouble understanding some of the very low level, slightly mumbled dialog from the woman as she laid in her hospital bed.
Since I have only seen this on Blu-Ray, I can compare it with a standard DVD. What I can say is that I am quite sure that the picture quality must be superior since I know what upscaled standard DVDs look like and this is definately better - and worth the extra cost in my opinion.
In short, I thought this was a great movie - a real keeper that I'm sure I'll want to watch again.
- Curious Indeed.
C'mon, you know the plot! Do you really need a synopsis?
Benjamin Button was last year's ultimate Oscar bate film. It has everything the Academy loves: epic scope, movie stars doing drama, a gimmicky concept, and a bitter sweet conclusion. Plus, it was directed by one of the greatest filmmakers of the modern era, David Fincher. Like previous Fincher outtings we get great photography, and extreme attention to detail, whether it be period or character beats. The film's ultimate problem, at least for me, was that the whole concept of physically aging in reverse doesn't have as much of a theme impact as I had hoped.
The acting is all top notch. Though I would question how one would gage Brad Pitt's performance considering he's playing something totally unnatural to any living thing in the whole world. But, based on emotional and charismatic charm he gets an A plus. Cate Blanchett has been one my of all time favorite actors for a really long time now. She's like the modern Meryll Streep, no matter if the film is bad or good, she's always on her game. My only gripe with these two comes towards the center of the film's narrative, when they're both roughly the same age in literal terms and looks. The film fizzles a bit. The romance just doesn't ignite the screen and things get a bit water-logged until the next conflict, which should be obvious, finally arrives.
I really can't stand framing devices in any film. How much better would Saving Private Ryan have been if we didn't open and end the film with the old man version of Ryan? I think a bunch. This film has two framing devices. One involving the death bed ridden Blanchet character and an old clock maker who lost his son in WWI. I instantly groaned, but as the film went on both framing devices held some surprises that made them more emotionally relevant then usual, especially the clock maker. The final image explains its reason for being, as well as why the modern part of the film takes place during Hurricane Katrina. It's not spoon fed folks, so turn your brains up to eleven. Or don't, I heard they made another Street Fighter film for you to check out.
Besides Fincher's extreme attention for detail he is also well loved for his use of special effects. He always uses the most cutting edge visual effects and then hides them, and always uses them to tell the story better. This film finally in a long while brings us visual effects that A). We haven't seen before and B). Aren't the point for the film's existance. The effects, make-up and visual, in this film are so fantastic and seamless that it's worth picking up the Criterion 2 disc special edtion just for the second disc's in depth breakdowns of how they did it. Plus, the first disc has a Fincher running commentary, and for me that's the special feature I care the most about.
The major problem with this film is that the idea of Benjamin aging in reverse comes off more like a gimmick then a necessity to the story. Would it have changed the story that much if Benjamin was born normal? Sure, I get what the film is going for. It's one of the few big Hollywood films I've seen that was all about death, was obsessed with the art of dying and aging and the natural course of life. I just don't feel the gimmick and theme have as much connectivity as they should or could've.
I can't not recommend the film though. It's very entertaining and never drags, even though it runs two hours and forty minutes. The visuals are breathtaking and the aging gimmick is truly intriguing. It's a very somberly toned film, so don't go expecting a bubbley romp of the likes of Forrest Gump. Its Fincher, so if you've seen his previous works you know the man likes to paint his pictures in the dark. This is the litest film he's ever made, but the tone poem contained is still as somber as anything he's ever directed.
I for one hold this film up with The Game, Alien 3 and Panic Room in the Fincher canon. It's good but nothing brilliant. He's done brillaint already with Seven, Fight Club, and the truly masterful and unfortunately overlooked masterpiece Zodiac. That's probably his greatest cinematic achievment and Benjamin Button hasn't changed that....more info
- A Story Retold
How many renditions of miracle person overcomes struggle after fantastic struggle, only to triumph and be heartbroken by love can there be? I can think of two right off--"Button" and "Forest Gump"--it's formulaic equivalent. Complete with 'troubled childhood in the sultry south inspires world travel coupled with insurmountable challenges and insightful life experiences, only to end up faced with a love he can't have', Button's is almost exactly the same story as Gump's. If you can suspend that obvious plot doppelganger, the performances are great, the special effects are intriguing, and the film itself is lovely to look at. Just accept that from the beginning you already know how it's going to go. ...more info
- It was a solid move
i enjoyed this movie...i thought the acting, casting, directing, etc. was excellent. i also felt it stayed true to F. Scott Fitzgerald....more info
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Blu-ray Info
Version: U.S.A / Criterion-Paramount / Region A
MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / AACS
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Running time: 2:46:02
Movie size: 47,543,949,312 bytes / 47,54 GB
Disc size: 48,515,380,917 bytes 48,51 GB
Total bit rate: 38.18 Mbps
Average video bit rate: 30.96 Mbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3588 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3588 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Number of chapters: 16
#Audio commentary by David Fincher
Disc 2 (All special features presented in HD)
# First trimester:
2. Development and pre-production
3. Tech scouts
4. Storyboard gallery
5. Art direction gallery
# Second trimester:
1. Production - Part 1
2. Production - Part 2
3. Costume design
4. Costume gallery
# Third trimester
# Visual effects - Performance capture:
3. The Chelsea
4. The simulated world
# Sound design
# Desplat's instrumentarium
2. Production stills
#Theatrical trailers - 1 and 2...more info
- Want-a-be Forrest Gump
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a very, very depressing movie that I couldn't help but watch. The time line didn't make sense, Brad Pitt looked oddly blank the whole time, and the movie was long. What I didn't like about this movie was that I never really got why Benjamin Button did what he did. Brad Pitt was so odd just going through life that I never really understood what kept him moving. This movie seemed like it was trying to be Forrest Gump, a depressing version that is.
The best part of this movie was Taraji Henson. She was completely charming and loving and I understood what motivated her to take care of BB unlike the lifeless BB.
Overall, it is an all right movie and it is worth watching. If it is on TV during the day, I'd watch it. Maybe I'd like it more. However, it is a bit too long and I got tired so that may have impaired my judgment a bit....more info
- Roller Coaster Ride
Time passes smoothly with this long, uniquely premised movie which is a testament to the directors, actors, script writers and editors. But, for the audience it's a roller coaster ride viewing experience. It vacillates between being profound with it's (Fitzgerald's) thoughts on life & death and being wearisomely mundane (long journeys on tugboats & motorcycles) and unbelievable (souls becoming hummingbirds at sea). So, I give it an average of 3 stars. ...more info
- Terrible movie -- If I could reverse time, I'd not see this film!
I was drawn to see this movie because I actually saw some of the filming of the beach scenes (a one minute clip in this 166 minute film) in the US Virgin Islands. Yes, that is where this very small snipit was filmed.
I went into this movie with high expectations. The idea of reverse aging, in theory, seems like it could yield some interesting stories and a unique plot. But, the entire movie languishes -- think Driving Miss Daisy on "slow mode." While the stories effectively show the spectrum of age and the difficulties one faces along that spectrum, the plot is plain and overly somber. I understand the philosophical intent of showing what really matters in these character's lives -- swimming the English Channel, getting struck by lightning, and finding love. But, this point was not made with any flair or with any unique perspective. For instance, the Benjamin Button character takes on a very shy, quiet personality and his life story is just not that interesting. He wanders through his life seemingly depressed at his state of being and removing himself from his love for the sole point of making her life better. While it is a sad romance that he and his "normal-age" love could not be together because the age reversal created problems, the story makes me feel as though I have gained nothing from seeing it. What message was in this film? That life is short and you need to make the best of it. Or is it that memories, not age, are important. In either event, the message I took away is why waste your life on this piece of trash film. If I could reverse time, I certainly would not!
Check out Driving Miss Daisy, Forrest Gump, and the Notebook instead. You'll see three movies that are much better and more entertaining....more info
- A Great Film That Manages to Transcend Its Huge Premise
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has such a high concept that some people were thrown off. Even major critics like Roger Ebert bashed the film as a whole based only upon his thought that the concept made it a film that no one could ever relate to. I wholeheartedly disagree, and am a little disappointed that after so many years of reading Ebert's reviews, that he's limiting his scope by writing off concepts that, to him, just can't work, especially when this film makes its concept work so brilliantly. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a brooding, sweepingly epic tale about--no surprises here--Benjamin Button, who was born as an old man and will age backwards until he is once again an infant. While this is certainly never the case in life, the unusualness of it even more poignant, because it still does, in a way, mirror real life. When Benjamin Button becomes a boy after years of "growing down," he will begin to lose his memories the same way an elderly man with Alzheimer's would. Truthfully, it is a high concept that perhaps would have been one of those "huge idea, not so much story" films in different hands, but screenwriter Eric Roth and director David Fincher made a film that transcends even this looming premise.
The movie has a sort of Burtonesque whimsy, though it is textured in a way that none of his films are. The film is almost three hours long, and it's such a busy three hours that it feels more like four. There is a framing story, in which a dying woman and her daughter read the diary of Benjamin. These may be considered the weakest parts of the story, but it also comes together nicely in the end. All of the various characters that Benjamin meets along the way are so interesting and so well thought out. There's a man who gets struck by lightning seven times (we see six of these through hilarious flashbacks), a woman who wants to break a swimming record but is limited by her age, a drunken captain who opens up his world to carnal pleasures, and a whole lot of other characters who you will fall in love with over the course of the film. Many people die, because death--one way (old age) or the other (youth)--is sort of the whole point behind this film. People come into your life and one way or another, they leave. And they leave an imprint. The film is such a weird way to tackle the premise but it's so deliciously inventive and brilliantly made that its weirdness plays a central role in its overall greatness.
One of the better movies of 2008, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a universally enjoyable film that I suspect it will be even better to watch on DVD when one can take a bit of a break between scenes. The length, and the war scene, will definitely lose some viewers for a while, but everything that comes before and everything that follows is so fantastic that you'll definitely catch back up with it.
- I liked it!
I didn't see this one at the movies cause it was getting mixed reviews but I must say that once I got the DVD I liked it very much.
Brad's acting is brilliant and worthy of all the praise he got for it and Cate is amazing (she always is)
- Interesting epic romantic story
What an unusual and tragic film. It's very long and takes at least an hour before it pulls you in, if you can make it that long, it will get better. It starts off very poorly and very slow, but there is a point to setting it all up before the good stuff comes in. When the Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett encounter one another at that time is when the performances and chemistry between them is so fluidly moving you can't help but continue to watch and before you know it, this strange story can grab you. Worth seeing at least once, but you have to be in the right frame of mind for it as the pacing is on the slower side....more info
- Nice performances and design; sags in the middle
There are some decent performances here from Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, as well as some lovely period design on the sets, and a great soundtrack to boot. The concept of a man who ages in reverse is a fascinating one. I only wish that more had been done with the possible implications of it. The movie doesn't delve very deeply into this aspect. Also, the entire middle section of the film sags under its own weight. The earlier part, with Benjamin being born as a little old man, and the later part, with him growing back into a child and then a baby, are more interesting.
Quibble: hummingbirds do not fly during category 5 hurricanes, nor do they fly out to sea, as far as I know.
I'm just saying.
It's worth viewing, but I recommend taking breaks and not trying to watch the whole thing at once, as it does run nearly 3 hours.
- Unlike anthing you've ever seen.
Before it's release, a lot of people where compairing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with Tom Hanks' 1993 drama "Forest Gump." I have never seen "Forest Gump" so I didn't know what to expect. But I, as well as many other people, found out, this film has no other movies that are like it. You can not compaire any other movie out there to this film. In the film, Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin, a man born in the late 1918, who appon being born is stolen by his father and left on the steps of a retirement home run by Queenie (played BRILIANTLY by Traji P. Henson, who made her breakout performance in this film.) Benjamin grows up in teh reitrement home, as an old man, but while other people like Queenie are getting older, he is getting younger. For, he was born in his eighties and ages back down to an infant. Along his unique path of life, a spunky red head named Daisy (played in the begining by Elle Fanning, sister of actress Dakota Fanning, but as she matures in to adulthood, she is played by Cate Blanchett), he gets laied for the first time (at at about age eight or nine), reconects with his father, has his first drink, he gets a job on a tug boat, and eventualy goes out to sea with the, has an afair with a married woman (played by Tilda Swinton) watches his crewmates, Queenie, his father, and just aabout everyone in his life that he cares about, accecpt Daisy, die and persues an on again, off again relationship with Daisy. You should deffianatly go out and either rent our buy this movie. ...more info
- Some things last
David Fincher's film that follows Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), a man who was born in his 80s and continually grows younger, is one of three my favorite movies from last year along with Gran Torino and Synecdoche, New York. Now when I think of it, all three movies have in common the theme of aging, loss, memory, inevitable death and dealing with it. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the most technically accomplished, refined, and cinematically stunning of the three. It is based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald's short and little known story but it only has in common with the story the title, the main idea, and I believe as a tribute to Fitzgerald's more famous work, the name of Benjamin Button's eternal love, Daisy who was played amazingly by Cate Blanchett. The story in the film is Eric Roth (Oscar nominated script) through and through and it is obvious that he used the same approach and the same device as in his Oscar winning script for Forrest Gump. Does it make BB a bad movie? Most definitely, no. Even if it easy to spot the similarities, BB is a fantastic movie on its own merits. It is a work of art for all its duration. It is a moving dramatic story of love, longing, and losses of one ordinary man with the extraordinary condition. Yes, the film is long and it does not rush. But the film of such beauty can and must be enjoyed even if or when the story would stall for a while. The performances, the virtuoso directing by David Fincher, the incredible flawless work by the teams of make-up artists, visual effects specialists, and by the specialists in Art Direction departments have surpassed any and all possible expectations and achieved an incredible result. According to my rule of thumb, any film with Cate Blanchett is worth watching. I've been her fan for years, and I love her as the actress and admire her as a person and the most beautiful woman in the world. Her work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt belongs to the best screen romances ever and if anything, the film will be remembered for some of the most beautiful and memorable romantic scenes ever filmed. The night scene in NYC with the silhouette of dancing Cate has entered my personal vault of the most beloved film treasures. I loved the film. I know it may not be perfect story-wise but I don't care. There is much more to it than the story.
- its worth half a star
what a horrible movie!
long, tedious , forest gump wanna be. bad acting
what a mess, you will feel like hitting yoursel after you watch this
the fx are awesome yes, but wasted here
i rather watch white noise than having to go through this torture again...more info
- Slow and boring...
So slow and boring I couldn't even get halfway thought it. I will be calling Brad Pitt to see if he can give me the wasted hour of my life back....more info