movie thoughts: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

For me, this movie was an example of a good idea.  A very cool idea.  But a cool idea does not a great movie make. 

If you don’t already know, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ is about a man who is born old.  At birth he has arthritis, cataracts, and deafness.  The doctor doesn’t expect him to live. But this is a folk tale, so magic happens and Benjamin grows younger each day. 

The problem facing the film’s writers is that they have decided to show one man’s entire life in 3 hours.  80 years in 3 hours.  That’s a lot of time to cover, and not a lot lying around for character development.  This was the biggest disappointment for me.  Not at any point in this movie did I cry.  I just saw a man’s entire life play out, yet when the end came, I was left with a sort of “eh” feeling.  I just never felt for him, I had no connection to him. 

Also, we spent the entire movie building up the love story – waiting for Benjamin and Cate Blanchet’s character to finally sync up and be the “perfect” age together.  But when that time finally comes, all we get is a montage of them hanging out.  But you can’t blame the filmmakers, at that point you’re been watching the movie for over 2 hours and the excitement of the moment just isn’t there. 

And there was also some sort of metaphor going on with Hurricane Katrina that just went away.  I kept waiting for the big “oooh that’s what it was all about” moment but instead it felt so “oooh this will make it relevant” in a really “meh” kinda way. 

In the end, it was an interesting experiment.  It reminded me of ‘Forrest Gump’ – lots of great special effects, and the main character touches many people’s lives, but in the end, the main character is the least interesting character.  If felt like it could have been so much more than the Oscar clip reel for next year, because that is what it feels like (I’m guessing a nomination for best picture, best actor, best special effects at the very least). 

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