Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Review] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Posted by Lex Fear on February 20, 2009

I started off commenting on the review over at Christ and Pop Culture, but it was getting long so I thought I may as well dedicate a post to it:

*Spoiler Warning*

The lack of biblical themes or the moral ambiguity were not what I consider the problem per se. Moral ambiguity can make for a good film element in itself if done right. BB’s aloofness also wouldn’t have been a problem were it not for the lack of story and character development in the movie.

First of all there was nothing to anchor the view down to a plot point. Just as BB is a drifter, so are we, the viewer, never quite sure where we are. Would a plain and simple subtitle specifying the year have done any damage to the quality of the film? Several times during the middle I thought he had become younger than he actually was at this point. When did begin his adult relationship with Daisy, was it when he was 60? 50? 40? I couldn’t tell. For someone who likes details like me (who is trying to work out the ages and the points in history) it’s frustrating.

Secondly, the character development – of other characters and his family relationships. The relationship between him and his family members to me seemed contrived. Maybe because they didn’t spend enough time showing us that family bond. I mean his adult sister was introduced with one line, and never spoke to him the rest of the movie.

It didn’t really seem to me that BB had much adventure either. It was like a poor mans reprise of Brad Pitt’s character in Legends of the Fall. I don’t count the amount of time wasted on his affair with Elizabeth Abbott and adventure, the only thing remotely adventurous was his time in the second world war on the tug boat. The rest of the time was spent in and out him meeting up with Daisy then visiting the retirement home. A film is not adventurous because you tell us it’s adventurous, you have to take us on the journey.

Finally, I haven’t read the novel but it seems to me the most interesting part of the movie, his transition to adolescence was left out and cut short. I don’t blame the producers if this is how the novel writes it. So this more of a criticism to the novel than the movie but why did he disappear because he felt he couldn’t be a father, but then write from all over the world on these ‘adventurous’ travels he was having how much he “wished I could be your father”?

That was plain dumb to me. It seems to me if he was cognitive enough to realise he had a daughter and knew what a father was – then he could have done it, at least until he reached the early 20’s – after all he was able to turn up again for one last jiggy with Daisy – it was a cop out, but that’s F Scott Fitzgerald’s fault if he wrote it this way – but as I said, I haven’t read the novel so my judgment may be misplaced.

My review is mostly negative, but it’s more of a response to the original post at CAPC, otherwise I’d recommend watching it, but definitely wait for dvd.

Read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A Graphic Novel from Amazon.co.uk.

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