June 25, 2009

#029: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Over three weeks ago Netflix shipped us The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. It sat on our entertainment center collecting dust as other movies came and went. This past weekend I finally reached the breaking point. We were either watching it over the weekend, or it was getting sent back Monday morning unwatched.

 I am not sure why we kept it so long without watching it. I guess I just couldn't find 3 hours to commit to it. The other night I decided to finally pop it in and give it a try. I was definitely interested by the premise of this movie. Aging backwards seemed like a solid basis for a compelling story. There seemed to be a lot they could do with it. I was looking forward to it even though I hadn't heard a lot of good things about it.

From the beginning the pacing of this movie is extremely slow. The start of the film felt clunky and had a difficult time gaining any momentum. I was waiting for it to pick up pace, but it never really did. It clumsily meandered along for the full 3 hours. I could have put up with the slow pace if the film made some interesting statements, or allowed me to connect emotionally with it. However, it was severely lacking in both departments.

 In hindsight, I am not even sure what this movie was about. Yes, the dude aged backwards, but the novelty of that quickly wore off, and there was nothing left. There was no comedy, it seemed to take itself way too seriously for that. There were a couple quirky characters, like the guy who was always getting stuck by lightning, but there wasn't enough of that sort of thing. It all felt very dry and gloomy, with the feeling of death hanging over everything. This is all fine, but to pull that sort of movie off you have to really allow the characters to connect emotionally with the audience. This is where the movie really failed for me. It completely lacked heart. There were moments, but overall I just didn't get it. It wasn't charming, it wasn't tragic, it wasn't happy, it wasn't sad.... it just really wasn't anything.

 I thought parts of it came across as corny. The Brad Pitt voice-over was lame. Overall this movie just didn't work for me. It definitely isn't worth investing 3 hours of your life. I am wishing I would have just sent it back without watching it. I rarely regret watching a movie, even if I don't like it. This movie was so... "bleh" that I actually wish I hadn't even watched it.

 My thoughts about how the movie would go were so much better than how it actually was. All that being said and I still haven't got to the worst part. The whole movie is told through the reading of a journal as a daughter sits with her mother in the hospital. These scenes were painful to watch. The old woman, aka Granny McStutters, takes forever to speak. I get it that she is on her death bed, but can we move it along a little bit. The movie is slow enough already without having to sit there and wait for old Daisy to choke out a few words.

To sum up my feeling on this movie... I hated it. At first I didn't think I hated it. But now that I have thought more about it, and I hated it.


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