David Fincher's Potential Masterpiece - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by Alex Billington
May 23, 2008
If you've seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in theaters this weekend, then I'm certain you've seen the first trailer for David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. You might remember seeing a rather weird trailer with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and no dialogue but with beautifully melancholic music - that was the Benjamin Button trailer. Remarkably it's not online yet, so I can't exactly show it to everyone, but I can say that is absolutely phenomenal. I was not expecting it when I went in to midnight showing of Crystal Skull a few nights ago, but I was astounded at what I saw. I've got to start talking about this now, I can't constrain myself, because this trailer looked downright amazing, so much so, that I'm already claiming this is next year's Best Picture.
For those of you who were utterly confused, let me explain the story. Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of the same name, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences. At the beginning of his life he is withered and worn, but as he continues to grow younger he embraces life - he goes to war, runs a business, falls in love, has children, goes to college and prep school, and, as his mind begins to devolve, he attends kindergarten and eventually returns to the care of his nurse. Pitt plays Benjamin Button throughout most of the story, although other actors embody the character during various stages of his life.
At my local theater nearby, I've gone in and watched this trailer four times just to bask in its brilliance. Not only is David Fincher, of Fight Club and Zodiac, directing, but the script was penned by Oscar winner Eric Roth, who also wrote the screenplays for Forrest Gump, The Horse Whisperer, and Spielberg's Munich. Fincher is known for his brilliant production design, wonderful cinematography, and great visual sense, and here in this trailer it definitely shows. With a rumored budget of around $150 million for Benjamin Button, I'm expecting an even more epic and incredible film than anything Fincher has ever done. I wouldn't be hard-pressed to call it potentially a masterpiece.
The music in the trailer is really what makes it extraordinary. It's one of the most emotional, thrilling, and tragic trailers I've seen that encapsulates the entire story in itself. I even heard the people next to me realize that "oh, he's aging backwards" partially through - which means it achieved its goal of explaining the story without any need for dialogue. While the visual style isn't necessarily as unique as Fight Club, this looked beautiful anyway and the make up work on Benjamin Button throughout various stages of his life (e.g. looking old and wrinkly while technically being born only a few years prior) will also be a shoo-in for that Oscar. I really hate to jump to conclusions, especially based off of a two minute trailer, but I haven't been this affected since I saw the trailer for Zack Snyder's 300 back in at Comic-Con in 2006.
Back on January 1st, I posted an article discussing some very early buzz that had originated from a costume designer who worked on Benjamin Button. She had said that "the script was top-notch — the only script she can recall making her cry," which nearly happened to me in the trailer alone, and that this was easily going to be "one of the highlights of her career." If that's not enough, this last little bit was what got me excited the most. "Furthermore, she mentioned that some of the sequences they saw that had been edited were absolutely stunning. Her description of the mood of those who worked on it is that of bated breath — a near universal belief that they have made an outstanding and moving film, one that transcends and one they wish not to jinx by too much loose talk."
However, not until I saw the trailer, did I actually acknowledge that everything they had said was true. And now that I've seen it, everything that the costume designer mentions seems legitimate and completely accurate - which makes me believe I am not making an outrageous statement when I say that this already seems like Best Picture material. We'll be damn sure to bring you this fine trailer the moment it hits the web, but until then, we'll all have to discuss this based off of memory. Was anyone else as moved by the trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as I was?
Reader Feedback - 34 Comments
One of my most anticipated of this year. Ive been interested in it since I first saw it listed on IMDB. And as I have yet to get out to see Indiana Jones, I was hoping that this was the trailer being posted. Damn!
Zach D. on May 23, 2008
i'm seeing indy 4 tonight but i'm not so sure the benjamin button trailer is attached to it here in sweden. i sure hope so thought, because this movie is going to be the highlight of this year. my god, i can't wait for the trailer to go online!
diesel on May 23, 2008
I saw the trailer and I thought it was pretty and gave out the gist of the plot but I still didn't like it much and most of the audience went WTF? I am surprised they didnt but Pitt or Blanchett's name up there too.
Ryan on May 23, 2008
I'm in the same boat as Zach; my anticipation for this has been fervorous for a long time. Supposedly Digital Domain have applied the same technology they used for the Michael Jordan vs. Michael Jordan and Redenbacher Popcorn commercials - Fincher having directed the latter. If anyone is interested in reading the short story, you can find it here: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/f/fitzgerald/f_scott/jazz/chapter7.html
Ross on May 23, 2008
Australia and this look amazing. Next years oscar will be much better.
Jojo on May 23, 2008
Sadly, the music is from Terrence Malick's The Days of Heaven. It is great, though.
Joseph on May 23, 2008
I found the trailer on YouTube. It's the Spanish language version, but since there's only speaking parts at the very beginning and very end, it's not a big deal. At the beginning he says "My name is Benjamin Button and there are unusual circumstances in my life. While the rest of the world gets older I get younger". And at the end a woman says "He's so young". http://youtube.com/watch?v=CuCo8skhaNc
Joe Campos on May 23, 2008
Yeah, I saw this in the theater and it was amazing. It really made me think this could be Oscar material. Which is presumptuous to say, but that's how it hit me! Wonderful. DON'T WATCH THE SPANISH VERSION. WAIT FOR THE AMERICAN VERSION TO HIT THE NET. It really should be watched in high-quality.
Marty Martin on May 23, 2008
I totally agree with you Alex, when I first saw the trailer I felt very moved, and it seemed to me that this movie has the potential to be very good. Especially with David Fincher being the director, I'll be sure to check this out when it hits theaters. Maybe Brad Pitt will even win an Oscar, he looked pretty good from the trailer. I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself.
terces7 on May 23, 2008
I went to see Indy yesterday, but sadly this wasn't attached.
Tom on May 23, 2008
I's great! Pitt looks kickass as an old man, I wonder how the did it! I'm looking forward to this now
bltzie on May 23, 2008
Absolutely stunning. That's all I have to say.
Mike G. on May 23, 2008
My question is why would they green light this movie with a 150 Milllion dolla rbudget? Its clearly not going to make anything close to that because, as we all know, only movies with stuff blowing up makes that kind of dough. Even Juno would not have covered that budget.
Mike on May 23, 2008
I haven't seen Indiana 4 yet but for friends who have, all they could rave about was Benjamin Button trailer. Hope we get the English language trailer soon! But I worry that Warner Bros is involved in this endevour, I hear they were responsible for the lucklustre handling of Jesse James. I hope Paramount keeps a close eye on how the publicity is dealt with. Jesse James was also a beautiful and well acted film and Warner Bros seem to dump it without care.
taegan on May 23, 2008
Mike - "...only movies with stuff blowing up makes that kind of dough." Forest Gump (written by the same screenwriter as Benjamin Button): Production Budget: $55,000,000 Worldwide Gross: $679,400,525
numlok on May 23, 2008
I saw a rough cut. And it is one of the best movies I've ever seen.
Have to Be Anonymous on May 23, 2008
Yes! This and "Australia" are the two Fall films I'm looking forward to the most.
Rob on May 23, 2008
Here, from a Spanish YouTube site. Title and end dialogue is also in Spanish, but you get an idea. http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/benjamin%2Bbutton/video/x5ix5m_el-curioso-caso-de-benjamin-button_shortfilms
Rob on May 23, 2008
Anything with the Days of Heaven music = a win. Also it's David Fincher!
David on May 23, 2008
Indy 4 was defidently a let down, saved only by Harrison Ford's performance and this brilliant and hauntingly beautiful trailer. I have loved David Fincher since I saw Seven, the man can do it all(Vogue, Fight Club, whatever it may be- is always brilliant. One of my favorite films is Big Fish and this reminds me of it a great deal, but with another brilliant angle. I agree that btween this film, Australia, Clint Eastwood's Changeling, and Soderburgh's films about Che Guavera, we are in for one hell of an oscar movie season. Heaven's Gate music was a good call.
Tyler on May 23, 2008
When this trailer was done and it got quiet in my theater I yelled out one simple word. "Sucks" and everyone laughed and agreed with me.
Kail on May 23, 2008
@Kail: You must have been in a really uneducated theater with a lack of appreciation for anything artistic. Hancock will probably do really well in your theater.
duff on May 24, 2008
Loved how everyone "agreed" with Kail. And you deduced this from their chuckles? Maybe their laughter was their embarrassment for you. Grow up.
Cinema Fan on May 24, 2008
I HIGHLY doubt the movie cost $150 million. Where did you hear that? Transformers cost 150, so I doubt this did.
A on May 24, 2008
Unfortunately I have to agree a bit with Kail, the trailer looked really wired to me. You could tell that it was Brad Pitt's head CGIed onto that kids body, and it looked like that scene from the Love Guru trailer. I still think that it could be good but I have a bad feeling that it could be dissapointing.
ED_1138 on May 24, 2008
The only movie's that have been kicking around with as much positive studio buzz, are the dark knight and changeling, so I think that we can safely say that this film will be great. When has David Fincher not delivered?
Tyler on May 24, 2008
To put it simply, I loved it.
Gemma on May 27, 2008
I have been waiting with great anticipation, for the completion of this film. My house was the original choice for the home. Apparently, there were some problems with the filmmaking in the beginning and the movie was "shelved" for awhile. When they began to work on it again, another location was chosen (sigh). Good enough. I am still very excited about it, and was quite enthralled when I saw the trailer. Simply mesmerizing.... Great cast, great story, and I'm sure a quality film for all of us to watch.
carol nemeth on Jun 2, 2008
I've been waiting for this movie so anxiously. when I saw the trailer, i was so moved by it. Brad Pitt may win a Best Actor Award for this one. The costume design was beautiful.
adult costume on Jun 4, 2008
Cate was great in Indy IV, but she looks simply amazing in this.
Kelli on Jun 12, 2008
The word that came to mind was EPIC. And, yea, it does look like it should 'at least' get a nomination for Best Picture. Good luck to Finch and Pitt.
Jack on Jun 18, 2008
head looks weird..
rollo tomasi on Nov 11, 2008
First time i see the trailer on youtube in spanish language.
Climinax on Feb 18, 2010
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