Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The

Featured In Issue 141, July/August 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
The Criterion Collection
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Brief War Violence, sexual content, language and smoking
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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David Fincher
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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From the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button chronicles the exhilarating adventure of a not-so-ordinary man, played by Brad Pitt, who is born in his eighties and ages backward. His journey is filled with romance and redemption from the end of World War I through the 21st century. The story is about the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys and romance of life, and what lasts beyond time. Cate Blanchett is the woman he is destined to love forever. The film was directed by David Fincher, nominated for 13 Academy Awards®, and was the winner for Best Visual Effects, Art Direction, and Makeup.(Gary Reber)

Special features on Disc One include audio commentary by Director David Fincher. Disc Two includes a four-part documentary (HD 175:24), which feature interviews with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and chronicles production, costume design, visual effects, and sound design; still galleries; and trailers. There is also a booklet featuring an essay by Film Critic Kent Jones on this epic masterpiece.

The 1080p AVC picture quality is outstanding! With the exception of certain sequences that were filmed on 35 mm film, the movie was created in the digital realm, without ever being output to a film element and transferred. The opening flashback sequence is gorgeously portrayed with a beautiful desaturated look. This is followed by a visually spectacular birth and early days in the life scene that is sepia filtered to create a dated look. Various filtering techniques are applied throughout the film for creative effect and stylization. As time progresses, the color palette transitions to a perfectly natural look. Resolution is impressive throughout, exhibiting fine facial features, hair, clothing, and building textures. Blacks are deeply rendered and shadow delineation is perfect, impressively revealing the details in shadows. The imagery is nicely dimensional, which enhances the realism of the periods depicted. Throughout, the picture exhibits a natural look, which is enhanced with visually stunning cinematography that is reference quality. The picture is absolutely
pristine. This is a spectacularly impressive and warmly hued visual experience that is a feast for the eyes. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ soundtrack quality is fantastic and was optimized by Sound Designer Ren Klyce for home theatre listening. The orchestral music is beautifully recorded, revealing every instrumental timbre and nuance projected across a wide and deep soundstage that extends to the surrounds, to create an impressively dimensional effect. Production and ADR dialogue is always intelligible and perfectly integrated spatially within each scene. Brad Pitt's narration is perfectly natural sounding and balanced. The tugboat on the river scene is impressive sonically with the sounds of deep rumbling engines. Bass extension is often deep and powerful, especially in the .1 LFE channel. The battle scene at sea delivers an SPL that is fully energized and deep-bass challenging. At times, phantom center back imaging adds an extraordinary dimension to the soundfield. Often the soundfield is holosonic® and nicely immersive, with an aggressive surround presence. This is a beautifully crafted soundtrack that is reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)