The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection)
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Criterion offers a two-disc presentation of the 2008 Oscar-winner, stamped as "Director Approved." Hard to miss that, since David Fincher is all over the extras on this one: he provides a talkative commentary track for the 165-minute film, which leaves little doubt about his fabled involvement in every aspect of the results you see on screen, and he figures in the documentary sections contained on the second disc. Fincher is such an assured, skillful talker that he easily justifies the otherwise standard-issue collection of behind-the-scenes material. The documentary sections can be played as one epic (three hour) making-of feature, which actually lasts longer than the film itself; they are also carved up and can be played in handy parts: the origins of the project (tons of people considered making it, including Frank Oz, Ron Howard, and Spike Jonze), the flabbergasting technical trickery involved, shooting in post-Katrina New Orleans, and anything else you can think of. Especially illuminating is the step-by-step stuff about how Brad Pitt's face was motion-captured for the purposes of morphing it onto the work of body doubles--in case you're still puzzled about how all that really worked. The usual production stills and an essay by Kent Jones fill out the package. --Robert Horton
Stills from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a man who essentially ages backwards. When he is born, his own father attempts to drown him before a sudden change of heart has him leaving the swaddled and very whithered newborn upon the steps of an elderly home. There he is found by Queenie, played to motherly perfection by Taraji P. Henson. She sees past the deformity and oddity and loves him immediately.
Instead of dying, as a doctor predicted, Benjamin actually begins to age backwards. He appears as a very old man and slowly grows younger, but only in body. His mind seems to function as a typical human's mind. He learns, and dreams and experiences. This basically sets up the magnificent story and from then on, you are taken from country to country, from one decade, to another and it is just superb to witness.
The acting is fantastic all around. Brad Pitt does an outstanding job, portraying both the old Benjamin as well as his younger counterpart. Cate Blanchett as his childhood friend/love interest is also a joy to watch. She can do no wrong, she is simply stunning. For such a short part, Tilda Swinton surely makes the most of it. Her tale and part with Benjamin in Russia is just stunning. There is also the talented Julia Ormond, who has a bigger part to play in the tale than we may realise at first.
The most impressive aspect of the film is the flawless visual effects. Just flawless. You have never seen aging/deaging done like this.Read more ›
Benjamin and Daisy's story and the balance of Benjamin's life impart so many valuable life lessons that it is hard to recount them all - the idea that life brings many hardships and the best we can do is doing the best we can with what we're given, making the most of every moment because life is fleeting and unpredictable, find the joy and happinessin life and hold on to it dearly, and many other lessons.
"Benjamin Button" gives Brad Pitt the chance to shine in the title role, and he makes the most of it. He is ably assisted by Cate Blanchett as Daisy, Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's adoptive mother, Tilda Swinton as another love of Benjamin's, and many others. This film is marvelous and a hopeful fable for all of us.
So on technical merits alone I'd give the film 5 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, the story does not quite live up to that high standard. It's not bad, to be sure; I did enjoy the movie, but I couldn't help wonder, at the end of it all, what the point was. As the reviewer for the Sunday Times aptly put it: "It's a gimmick that goes on for nearly three hours." Now I don't think every story has to have a moral, or a great message, or all kinds of weighty allusions and themes, and so forth. But simple, escapist entertainment just works better as a comedy or an action piece. A moody, character-driven drama, one can't help but feel, ought to have a little more to say.Read more ›
The film opens with Mr. Gateau (Cake) constructing a magical clock that runs backwards and mounting it in a train station in New Orleans in honor of his son, dead in the Great War. No mention is made again of Mr. Gateau or whether his clock was successful in rewinding time to bring dead boys back to life. It does have a curious effect on the life of one boy, though, as Benjamin enters the world essentially running backwards. As other reviewers have pointed out, it's quizzical that the clock has this metaphysical effect on only Benjamin among all the other children born afterwards, but then, fantasy is not required to operate by the rules of logic. Perhaps Benjamin, with a Gullah mother was particularly susceptible to magic, and how serendipitous that old-man baby Benjamin's grieving father abandoned him, along with $18 on the steps of an old-folks home, rather than say, a brothel . . .this being New Orleans, after all.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It takes great actors proficient in their art to pull off a drama of this caliber. The movie is painfully human in its depth, sensitive in its human feelings, and respectful of the... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Diana Finch
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I just took a wild stab in the dark and ordered. When it arrives, I'll let you know if the slipcover and insert are still included on the package. But even if they weren't, at 4.96 (Black Friday week price) I'm not complaining, though.
Nov 22, 2012 by Arturo Lugo Gonzalez | See all 10 posts
|confirming - region free?||
Unfortunately no. This one is region-coded.
Jun 16, 2009 by Can Erzi | See all 2 posts
|Portugues, audio or subtitles ? help||
sorry.. english, french and spanish only.
May 21, 2009 by Itchy Scrote | See all 4 posts
|Best Buy has Buttons, Slumdog, and The Wrestler on blu for $14.99...will...||
They already did.
Jul 28, 2009 by D. Choina | See all 3 posts
|Benjamin Button Criterion||
The product image has been updated to reflect the Criterion cover art, but there's still no mention of this being the Criterion edition in the description.
Apr 6, 2009 by Christopher Meadors | See all 5 posts
|Region-Free?||Be the first to reply|
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