David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looks so charmingly otherworldly that it somehow feels appropriate to watch the film’s Spanish-language teaser on a Russian website. This may not be an ideal presentation, but it does further the disorientation of the imagery, which looks like a child’s fever dream of Forrest Gump.
It’s all so haunting and kinda sui generis that I’m more than willing to forgive Fincher’s usage of “The Aquarium” from Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals. We’ll have to see how it’s deployed in the film (and it surely will be a major theme since it also comes up on the official website), but I can’t imagine not thinking of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven when I hear that cue. Could be worse, though; he could’ve dropped in the “Organ” movement from Symphony #3. That would not do, pig.
Most interesting to me is the fact that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has a very good shot at ending the F. Scott Fitzgerald film curse (which essentially began when the author hit the west coast in the late 1930s). There have been four high-profile adaptations of Fitzgerald’s novels – Henry King’s Tender Is the Night, Richard Brooks’s The Last Time I Saw Paris (aka Babylon Revisited), Jack Clayton’s The Great Gatsby (copy-and-pasted by Francis Ford Coppola) and Elia Kazan’s The Last Tycoon (adapted by that hack Harold Pinter) – and they all stink in their way. You’d think Hollywood would find a way to give back to Fitzgerald since it played such a huge part in killing him, but it’s been nothing but misery since he passed in 1944.
Benjamin Button certainly has a puncher’s chance with Fincher directing Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton (from an Eric Roth adaptation of the short story). That we’ll have to wait until December 19th to find out if they pulled it off is enough to drive me to drink.