Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Curious Case of Film Adaptation

I read the Fitzgerald story 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' is based on yesterday. The end cannot but be a little touching, but all in all they did a far better job with the movie than Fitzgerald does with his slight story. Fincher (director) and Roth (screenwriter) ultimately take the basic idea and run with it in another direction. The romance element for instance is completely at odds with the view on romance Fitzgerald presents. By rights I should prefer the Fitzgerald take (it's truer), but the movie works better overall. Afterall a fantastic storyline can easily accomodate an unrealistic view of love.
Anyhow as Fitzgerald himself noted, the premise is based on a casual remark by Mark Twain and Samuel Butler apparently contemplated something similar in his notebooks, so it's fair game for any manipulation, in my book.
The movie, by the way, is no masterpiece, but it does entertain. A lot of critics have highlighted its similarities with that other Roth-scripted epic, 'Forrest Gump'. It's not nearly so bad as that.
As an aside, though not quite the same, Martin Amis' "Time's Arrow" is another telling of a life lived backwards, though this time quite literally. A Nazi war criminal (I believe) is born at his death and lives his life in reverse, the concentration camps thus becoming a joyous place of birth. Dark stuff, though a little gimmicky, it's still worth a look.

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