Friday, January 2, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

That is a funny name. Brad Pitt tries his best to beat Tom Hank's Forrest Gump but falls short. I am not sure if a movie of this type can ever trump the journey that Gump takes us through and all of the characters it gave us. But this movie does try hard and Pitt offers up his best.

He is born old, yes, it is quite funny and strange. He has a young mind, born old and decrepit, crippled, a freak of nature. As he ages, or time progresses, he gets younger and more vibrant. Only Pitt makes menial labor seem fun and taking a bath in the filthy Gandes river seem like something one should do or worth while. Not at all to me. I have done the formers and it is not fun and I have no interest of traveling to India and especially taking a bath in dirty river like that.

The pastor yelling at the young/old Benjamin to walk and to get out of that seat was funny to me. With prayers and the will of God, Button takes his first steps, and his first fall.

Pitt plays the name in the title. Why he does not want to stick around and try to raise his daughter is controversial? But I guess he wants a normal or more traditional father for his daughter. Daisy later achnowledges this was a wise decision.

Cate Blanchett is the other star in this film. I am not a big fan of hers, never have been, so that is my arrow against this movie. If one likes her, then this movie will probably move them. She is not that attractive to me at all so that is it. She is introducted to us Daisy as she is a child. Button is old and decrepid, but mentally they are on the same level. About 9 years old. She does not understand this or realize this I do not believe because Button is born with multiple physical disabilities and just looks terrible. He is born practically in a wheel chair and it takes the will of the communities prayers to get him to walk with sticks. And even this is a sore sight.

There is not allot characters to mention that are recognizable. Faune A. Chambers performs outstandingly not very many people are going to watch the movie because of her. She is prettier in reality than her character is in this movie.

This movie does show some US history in it. It discusses WWI and WWII. Button is almost killed by some Japanese in a short but brutal sea battle. This scene is top and only action sequence in this movie. Button is the ship's cook, he does not fire one shot and ducks for cover as most of his friends are killed, including the charismatic Irish Captain. Button's expression and countenance during this firefight was funny to me. Sad too, he never hurt anyone in his life, totally gentle, and yet the forces of the world are trying to end him. Irony or just cruel intentions, WWII was a terrible time in man's history.

When Button is living with Daisy and they are sleeping on their lone mattress, where is he working during this time? Where is their income coming from? I guess they obtained a good deal when selling his father's home. His father who abandoned him as a child. Button's mother died during child birth.

The gorgeous Lake Pontchartrain is shown in this movie in many scenes. Benjamin goes through his life cycle, not sure if this is possible, but he grows smaller into a little boy. His long time companion-Daisy, does not stick with him during this time, she is busy being married, raising a small family, her daughter and Button is the father. Button, at the end of this movie, grew downward into a cute little baby. Died cute, born ugly.

I am not what she was thinking just dancing like that out in the middle of the street. Not bright. Lucky she only shatter her leg and not her spine. With Pitt being the narrator throughout this movie, he was really carrying along with his voice in this scene. In Paris, sometime in the 1950's it seems. Daisy was a world class ballerina and her stage status was ruined in this wreck, cutting her career short. She later opened up a ballerina school in New Orleans. Button comes to visit her during her recovery in Paris and she does not want to see him. Their relationship is touch and go throughout the movie but regardless, it is special and totally heartfelt.

The movie is touching and Pitt could win an Oscar since he has performed well before. 12 Monkeys was spectacular with Pitt really putting on a show. Too bad his character was too much of a head case in Seven, the villian Kevin Spacey taking full advantages of this cockiness.

Best Picture could be in this movie's future.

This movie is allocated four stars. **** I would give it five but like I stated before, Cate Blanchett just does not get the job done for me. She is a fine actress though, a star performer. Looks matter a little too much to me though. I did not care for her in the Indiana Jones movie either and this movie was just OK. Some fun scenes but the monkey and ant scenes were just too over the top for me to cope with. They copied this generic stuff from The Mummy movies.

Button died as an innocent baby. Born an old man, he was just gentle as can be. He lived a full life, going backwards. I am surprised his plight and uniqueness did not become a news sensation. But he seemed to stay out of the spotlight, only a few knowing his story. How that remained a secret, I am not sure.

One negative shot at this movie is the beginning. Too many cartoonish special affects. Hollywood must be on a shoe string budget, Forrest Gump never had computer scenes like this-that were recognizable.

2008 did not have that many quality movies until the end. Now we have 7 Pounds, The Wrestler, and Button. The former takes it. Despite giving the world a terrible movie a year ago, a total let down, fake as can be, Will Smith's I Am Legend was horrible. But the winning and hilarious Hancock, and now the powerful 7 Pounds. Will Smith may be winning the Oscar this year. No way Michey Rourke does with his wrestling movie. One must have something in their docket to grab a trophy like that.

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