movies: the curious case of benjamin button

the curious case of benjamin button - life isn't measured in minutes, but in momentsI don't know what it is about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button... but on Christmas Day in Philadelphia a man was shot in the arm because he was talking with his son during the movie.

Let me tell you, if I'd only been armed during the screening this evening... what is it with people who think they can go to the movies and then talk all the damn way through it. It's called common courtesy people, look it the hell up, okay.

And it's a loooooooooong movie... just shy of three hours long (actually with all the previews and ads and whatever, it's basically a three hour experience), so you're not just confined with annoying people for a short while, you're in there for the long haul.

But enough about the highly irritating people who shared the theatre and let's talk about the movie...

While I don't think it's a concept I've run into before (although I did find myself thinking of the book The Time Traveller's Wife a few times), it didn't feel particularly new as a complete idea, it just seemed like something that I'd seen before, or I'd seen some version of it. At it's heart it's a "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, plot ensues" kinda story, but it also has this great tendency to go off on tangents. I mean it starts on a tangent, uses flashbacks to tell the majority of the story, keeps coming back to the "present" and has a number of these little side stories that take you away, in some regard, from the main story.

It's also set against the background of Hurricane Katrina (at least all the non-flashback bits are), although you don't know what at the beginning, but once you do realise it, it becomes a little weird, because you know what's going to end up happening and it's kind of a ticking clock that turns out to be pretty much unnecessary and never really goes anywhere.

And because I spent the first third of the movie going "now how did they get Brad Pitt's face with all that make-up on it onto a total other body", and "oh lord, they went overboard on the digital wrinkle removal for Cate Blanchett" (although honestly that comes a little later), I didn't really connect with the story as much as I could have done (and actually part of that could be that every time I felt like I was getting sucked into the movie I was distracted by one of the two highly annoying couples in the cinema... grrrr).

If I'm being honest I disliked Cate Blanchett's character for most of the movie... she just rubbed me the wrong way... she's at times cold, self-absorbed, cruel, selfish and just plain old not nice. There's one point where she shows up and I just wanted Brad to turn, walk away from her and let the door slam in her face. But then it would have been a whole different, and much shorter movie.

It's also something of a odd movie in that it's a Brad Pitt movie, but at the same time it kind of isn't... he's only really "Brad Pitt" for about a third of it... the rest of the time he's either got another actor playing the body, or else he just looks so unlike the Brad we've come to know and drool over that it feels a little odd. And as with any of those movies where you go "well, that could be what he ends up looking like", you know at the back of your mind that no matter how old he gets, Brad won't end up looking anything like he does in the movie.

I'm also wondering if the movie was funnier than I thought it was, or if it was just that I was in a theatre with a lot of really stupid people, because a number of them kept laughing to one degree or another at things that actually weren't funny (and I don't think they were supposed to be "laugh out loud" funny, even if they were supposed to make you smile). I'm going with the "stupid people" option personally...

Don't get me wrong, it's (lush isn't the right word... it's not as refined as that)... it's a highly textured movie, and it is engaging and Brad is charming and very Southern (which I quite like), and there are a number of sweet moments (the montage after they buy the duplex sticks in my mind)... but it somehow didn't seem to manage to be more than the sum of its parts.

Like I said though, that could be more about the environment I was in than the movie itself, although you would think that a great movie would have drawn me in in spite of the distractions.

yani's rating: 2 anticlockwise clocks out of 5

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