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Monday, January 26, 2009

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Mama always said, when something isn’t broke, don’t fix it. In 1994 Eric Roth adapted a screenplay and made the film Forrest Gump. It was instantly loved by critics and audiences alike. It was nominated for thirteen Oscars and won six , including best picture (a prize that Shawshank Redemption deserved). This year Eric Roth adapted another screenplay about a man who ages backwards and gave us an extraordinary tale over this magnificent man’s life.
The movie stars Brad Pitt as the titular character Benjamin Button, a man who was born as the ugliest child you’ve ever seen, (To give you a better idea as to what he looked like, he was referred to as “A miracle you don’t want to see” “non human” and and 80 year old woman’s “ex-husband”) He is diagnosed with many diseases and disabilities that come with old age and he is expected to die very soon. His mother died giving birth to him and his father ran through the streets and left him at the porch to a retirement home, where he was picked up by his new mama, and began his incredible journey.
There’s not much to say about the plot without ruining too much, Benjamin ages backwards, he falls in love with a girl who is almost exactly his age (Cate Blanchett) but is aging regularly so while he looks eighty she looks ten, and he travels the world and encounters many life changing events. Eric Roth has given us a tale surrounding love and death with a surreal twist and done his best to make it as powerful as he possibly could. However, as original and new as this movie tries to be you simply cannot shake off the parallels between the stories of Benjamin Button and formerly mentioned Forrest Gump.
Benjamin Button is Forrest Gump, plain and simple. Their stories follow nearly exact plotlines and events with only a few details changed and tries to make it as magical as it can. And the surprising thing is that it works. David Fincher has crafted himself a masterpiece in this borderline copy of a previous great. He has made the character of Benjamin Button endearing and loveable, his tale timeless and pure. He fuses comedy and drama seamlessly and turns Eric Roth’s screenplay into ony hell of a majestic ride. Not only does he make the movie great, but he makes it look incredible. The special effects used here are some of the greatest I’ve ever seen. Many people think explosions and gunfights are the maximum use for special effects but they’re wrong, it’s all right here in this movie. Making Brad Pitt look like an eighty year old man and making it believable is simply jaw dropping.
The story of a man who ages backwards is interesting on it’s own indeed but Fincher adds his own style to take it to the next level creating a believable love story, told through the diary of Benjamin by the daughter of Cate Blanchett, and crafting one of the best movies of the year. The Oscar Nominations have come out and this movie deservedly gotten Thirteen nominations (Forrest Gump … …). So despite it being almost a carbon copy plot wise, it copied a perfect film and did it well. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button deserves many of the awards it’s up for (Though Visual Effects is the one that it has in the bag)and it will probably get them. If Forrest Gump had never been made no one would doubt this movie’s excellence, so I’m going to forget about FG momentarily and give Benjamin Button what it deserves, a 5/5 for it’s never dull three hour runtime.

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