I don’t feel much like writing a full review for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Can you blame me? While overall it finished on the “enjoyable” side of the fence, it’s been my “most looked forward to” film for the past two years. Considering that what we ended up getting was (yep, as you’ve read and/or said 15 times by now) a post-millennial Forrest Gump/updated version of Big Fish…I’d say it’s the biggest disappointment of the year. Then again, perhaps my sights were set a bit too high.
Here are some random thoughts and comments, though:
* Going along with the Gump comparison, let’s get this out of the way, too: it’s a good 15 minutes too long. I’ve had it with you (director) people and your epics.
* Gorgeous film from start to finish.
* Spoiler: I’m still pissed that Benjamin didn’t stay adult-sized as he “aged” and became child-like. I felt that since he was born a regular infant size, he should die a regular adult size, only with child-like features. That would have been truly weird looking. End spoiler.
* While I don’t feel Ben should be nominated for Best Picture, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find it amongst the leaders in overall nominations, with possible noms coming for Direction, Art Direction, Score, Visual Effects, Cinematography, Makeup, and a few possibilities in the Acting categories, from Taraji P. Henson for Supporting Actress (a lock, methinks) to Cate Blanchett for Best Actress (possible, not likely) to Brad Pitt (more possible, less deserving).
* Yea, I said less deserving for Brad. Don’t get me wrong – he’s no slouch (and he’s amongst my favorite actors), but giving him a nomination would be like nominating Lieutenant Dan’s missing legs in Gump – Pitt’s role was almost entirely composed of makeup/effects, with him reacting to situations more than acting in them.
* After the first 10 minutes, I thought I was in the wrong movie – this wasn’t Benjamin Button, it was This is Your Life, Brad Pitt. There was a nonstop who’s who of former Pitt co-stars, from his lover in his breakout film Legends of the Fall (Julia Ormond) to his Snatch mate Jason Flemyng, not to mention his Babel wife Blanchett. Later on, even Burn After Reading co-star (though I don’t recall them sharing any scenes) Tilda Swinton popped up. Am I missing anyone?
…Yes I am. On a whim, I looked up Pitt and Elias Koteas together. Koteas has a small role in a flashback story told in Button. The actors share no scenes, but…of course, they each appeared in a 1992 short film titled Contact. Weird.
Egads, it won’t (and I can’t) stop! Even Jared Harris, who plays Captain Mike in Button – a pivotal role – shares another credit with Pitt. They each appeared in Ocean’s Twelve. I have to stop, this is getting insane. Suffice it to say, Pitt shares at least one credit with every goddamn person involved with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Curious indeed…
* Finally, it was a race against the clock (amongst other things) as Mrs. Fletch and I headed towards the theater to see Button. As we pulled near the parking lot on Sunday evening, we spotted what appeared to be some sort of police escort. Odd, them headed into a theater lot; there aren’t normally funerals held there, and we weren’t aware of any big political figures that might have been in town. Getting closer, we saw what the cops were tailing: two Coach buses. Turns out, after a day filled with practice no doubt, the University of Texas coaches decided that the Longhorns deserved a break prior to their Fiesta Bowl appearance the next night.
Despite our racing, we purchased our tickets and walked through the doors just as the entire football team, in warm ups and all, headed through the doors as well. The two of us were literally surrounded by giants, and though we didn’t know it at the time, perhaps we got to feel a bit like Benjamin Button himself for a few seconds – out of place and the wrong size in the crazy world around us.