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*** Official THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON Discussion Thread


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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted December 28 2008 - 03:20 AM

Interesting observations Chad. I know in some circles it's not cool to like Gump, but I appreciated your final paragraph about sentimentality. I'm tempted to catch it later, but given your's is not the first to compare it to Gump I'm interested more out of curiosity than anything else now.
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#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted December 28 2008 - 12:16 PM

This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


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#3 of 27 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted December 28 2008 - 01:04 PM

I was also reminded of Forrest Gump during the film, the combat sequence was intense and scary.
I've been near combat and was very impressed by the sound in Gump.
It was nominated for Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing.
During the pre-Oscar talk that year I recall someone sneering about those nominations, but, I thought they were richly deserved.
Since all those films had in common was Eric Roth, this was just good luck.
Another memory the film brought to mind was a book I first read over 50 years ago, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.
The romance with an age problem, that would be "corrected" later, made a big impression on me.
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button was a treasure for me, locations, makeup. costumes, music, actors, writing.
I'll be suggesting this to friends.

BTW..met a co-worker in front of the theater after the movie. He was going on about the computer effects and how they had made "Brad Pitt look so small".
I'll think I should just let that bit of Hollywood magic remain a mystery. Posted Image
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#4 of 27 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted January 03 2009 - 06:02 AM

i just have to remind ya'll that whenever a Fincher film comes out, there's always a lot of initial complaints about this and that... but when the movie makes its transition to home media and many have had several chances to watch his films 2 or 3 or more times, they will see his genius.

i didn't watch se7en, the game or alien3 in the cinema, but i did watch fight club opening night and 2nd time. it was extremely profound then, very impactful. but it was criticized when it opened initially and consequently found a large audience on home video and now it's a "classic" per se. i think it was a similar path with se7en, the game.

it certainly was the same with panic room and zodiac. lots of unrestrained complaints upon INITIAL viewing. people just don't sit back and THINK about it and review it any longer. they just talk about their initial reactions and think that's that.

curious case will also see similar adaptions (so to speak) to audience on home video. fincher has stated in interviews that he wants to make films that endure (classics, really). and so far, he hasn't turned back on his promises.

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   Thi Them

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Posted January 03 2009 - 04:16 PM

Wasn't he supposed to grow bigger, or at the very least reach a certain height and not grow back into a baby towards the end? It seems like a major screw up in the script, which isn't that good to begin with.

I thought it was a slightly above average movie. Fine special effects, makeup, art direction, and cinematrography; that's where the movie excels but it's too bad the rest wasn't as great.

The acting was very good, but Pitt and Blanchett felt souless. And I think as a result, I didn't care very much about these characters. A love story like this should make you want to see these two come together at some point, but the actors felt a little cold and the script had one too many false encounters before they finally connected in the middle. And jeez, they seem to care nothing more than just having sex with each other the whole time they were together. I felt Benjamin and Swinton's character had better chemistry and had a better love story than with Benjamin and Daisy.

The movie could've been trimmed by half an hour or so. Lots of characters appeared and didn't add much to Benjamin's life experience, or they were done so in a very obvious and stagey manner.

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#6 of 27 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted January 03 2009 - 07:04 PM

The film felt hollow to me. I was ready for an epic love story about life and death. The characters and performances were bland and I didn't feel much of anything for these characters.
A major disappointment.

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted January 04 2009 - 02:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediFonger
i just have to remind ya'll that whenever a Fincher film comes out, there's always a lot of initial complaints about this and that... but when the movie makes its transition to home media and many have had several chances to watch his films 2 or 3 or more times, they will see his genius.

I disagree. If anything, his films fall apart after multiple viewings. Fincher is an incredible technician, but he's a pretty lousy storyteller. Films such as "Fight Club", "The Game" and especially "Benjamin Button" fall apart if you think about them too much. The sheer number of contrivances in both "Fight Club" and "The Game" to make those plots work strains credibility. If people are spending time punching holes in the plot, they'll never bother to dissect the film's themes.

When he's given a solid script like "Seven" or "Zodiac" he can deliver, but if he's asked to work on the story he fumbles, which was the case with "Benjamin Button." It's just lifeless (and I've already gone over the glaring siilarities to "Forrest Gump" in the review thread) and far too long. Again, technically it's flawless - but emotionally it's flat.

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Thi Them

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Posted January 04 2009 - 03:31 AM

I haven't seen Panic Room and Zodiac, but I agree with Chad saying he's an incredible technician or whatever you want to call it, and a lousy storyteller.

~T

#9 of 27 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted January 05 2009 - 02:11 AM

to each his own. many have said the same of spielberg as well Posted Image. time will tell.

#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 05 2009 - 04:34 AM

Zodiac is a brilliant story, brilliantly told. I agree that Fincher is an extraordinary technician, but I think he is a better-than-average storyteller.
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   David (C)

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Posted January 05 2009 - 06:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediFonger
to each his own. many have said the same of spielberg as well Posted Image. time will tell.
Steve Spielberg can tell a story with a shitty screenplay (Indy 4).

I love Curious Case btw.

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted January 07 2009 - 08:50 AM

many of these thoughts were similar sentiments of people talking about spielberg pre-schindler's list... then that film happened... then saving private ryan.... =P. so when fincher gets his schindler and ryan, we'll talk then Posted Image

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted January 07 2009 - 09:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad R
(and I've already gone over the glaring siilarities to "Forrest Gump" in the review thread)
Just as I've gone over, in the review thread, the reasons why they're only "similar" on the surface. In fact, it's the differences that are glaring.

As for the film being "lifeless" and emotionally "flat", I respect your view, but if you've revisited the review thread, you must know that a lot of people don't share it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thi Them
I haven't seen Panic Room and Zodiac, but I agree with Chad saying he's an incredible technician or whatever you want to call it, and a lousy storyteller.
You should see those two before you make up your mind. I'll admit, though, that it took me two viewings of Zodiac to appreciate it. (I only needed one for BB.)
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#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Thi Them

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Posted January 07 2009 - 02:43 PM

Even if he was great with Zodiac and Panic Room, I still wouldn't call him a great storyteller since those are only two among several he's done.

~T

#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted January 07 2009 - 03:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thi Them
Even if he was great with Zodiac and Panic Room, I still wouldn't call him a great storyteller since those are only two among several he's done.
Well, that's progress, of sorts. You've gone from "lousy storyteller" to not a "great" storyteller. Posted Image

Seriously, though: We just disagree. I think that Se7en, The Game, Fight Club and, as previously noted, BB are compelling and well-told stories. Obviously not conventional in the telling, but each one has kept my attention, and deepened my appreciation, through multiple viewings.

(Alien3 is a special case, because Fincher didn't have creative control. But I've always liked the film, and the extended cut released with the Quadrilogy set suggests what might have been if he'd been allowed to tell the story as he wanted.)
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#16 of 27 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted January 08 2009 - 03:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Well, that's progress, of sorts. You've gone from "lousy storyteller" to not a "great" storyteller. Posted Image

Seriously, though: We just disagree. I think that Se7en, The Game, Fight Club and, as previously noted, BB are compelling and well-told stories. Obviously not conventional in the telling, but each one has kept my attention, and deepened my appreciation, through multiple viewings.

(Alien3 is a special case, because Fincher didn't have creative control. But I've always liked the film, and the extended cut released with the Quadrilogy set suggests what might have been if he'd been allowed to tell the story as he wanted.)

I think you are exactly right, Michael. To me, the signature feel of Fincher's movies, in tandem with his expert eye and knack for finding and telling compelling, interesting and inherently intriguing movies is among the very best working today. I don't think there is a misstep in his library of films, but his storytelling has matured and become remarkably solid. His pace has slowed but I think it adds time to savor the moments in the film and provides more time for truly great performances to resonate.
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#17 of 27 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted January 09 2009 - 07:34 AM

u compare him to every other director working today. the qty of films that others make is a lot more... but quality suffers. fincher's QUALITY is awesome on all his works. similar to kubrick's worth ethics.

#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 09 2009 - 12:01 PM

Separate from the Fincher discussion.

I expect this film will win the VFX award for 2008, and I think it absolutely should. I read my first Cinefex article in ages to get a feel for what was done in Button, and it simply made me excited for whatever special edition Button gets in a few months.

I'm looking forward to another viewing of the film itself, but that will probably have to wait until home viewing.
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#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted January 09 2009 - 12:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JediFonger
many of these thoughts were similar sentiments of people talking about spielberg pre-schindler's list... then that film happened... then saving private ryan.... =P. so when fincher gets his schindler and ryan, we'll talk then Posted Image

Again, hate to disagree with you, but Spielberg first major film, JAWS, was nominated for an academy award, and then the same for Close Encounters, Raiders, E.T., The Color Purple; in short he's always been hailed as a fantastic storyteller. The biggest complaint towards him for most of the 80s was a tendency to be over sentimental - but he's always been hailed as an incredible storyteller and embraced by both critics and audiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Just as I've gone over, in the review thread, the reasons why they're only "similar" on the surface. In fact, it's the differences that are glaring.

Huh, I just looked at your thoughts over there. I think their similarities are far more than cosmetic. Structurally they are almost identical, and thematically they are very similar. Thematically they are both about the importance of family, the importance of roots, history, fatherhood and forgiveness.

#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 09 2009 - 01:55 PM

1) I love Spielberg as much as the next guy but he's never tackled material like Seven or Fight Club. I trust Fincher at least as much as I trust Spielberg in terms of telling a story. Spielberg is stronger at some things, but Fincher is stronger at others.

2) I don't think that the themes you list are the themes of Button (and some aren't even Gump). I believe Button's themes are more relevant to understanding where you have been and what love means.
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