by Clarence Yu
From my personal notes:
Director David Fincher re-teams with Brad Pitt, who re-teams with Julia Ormond and Cate Blanchett, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Brad Pitt should have won an Oscar a long time ago for his role in Legends of the Fall, when he was still a young actor full of raw emotion. This attempt at redeeming that lost award is obviously framed at capitalizing on Pitt's current super, uber-celebrity status.
To see a movie where Angelina Jolie's hunky, chunky husband is portraying an old man who ages into youth is exactly the kind of clichéd fluff that will capture the hearts of the multitude of viewers that flocked to see Titanic, and will try to capture the minds of those who awarded Forrest Gump.
The premise of the movie is nowhere near the story of the original 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's merely an excuse to create a movie that tries to combine elements of fantasy, a sense of the epic, drama, humor, and love. The result is one big mess of splattered bird droppings, salvaged by excellent make-up and special effects.
Cate Blanchett lays her acting credibility to waste here in a role that would have been more suitable for Lindsay Lohan or Emma Thompson. Brad Pitt tries to channel Val Kilmer, James Dean, finally, himself, but fails miserably. Memo to Mr. Pitt: you will be better off sticking to pretty boy roles (Ocean's Eleven, Thelma and Louise) if you want to win an award. Your asset is your charm and movie star charisma, not this 180-degree turnaround against type. If you do happen to win, I'll quit watching your movies forever.
Why is Hurricane Katrina involved, and what's with the insulting and highly irritating New Orleans-Creole accented narration that you hear throughout the movie? Beats me. Again, a wild guess: Titanic and Forrest Gump.
I'm slowly losing my mental acuity and developing a curious case of narcolepsy in the middle of this long, long movie. I'm half-considering leaving the theater to buy the Back to the Future trilogy DVD to get my senses back to life. But I'm still waiting to see Blonde Brad as he ages into his present state, the way I see him on the front pages of every tabloid publication nowadays.
I'm curiously reminded, out of the blue, of a techniqu used in recording music called backmasking. I wonder what we will see if this movie is played backwards. Does it become a watchable movie at all?
The wretched gift this film gives is its interesting title, which will surely remind me of this unpleasant experience till the end of my days.
For the Academy's consideration: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Case dismissed, no contest.