Critical Analysis of:

The Curious Case of Benjamin

(Luis Zanforlin)


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): The Oscar wining film is about a man whom ages backwards and meet his love interest at different stages of his strange life. The film’s script was passed around Hollywood for a few years but only in 2006 the producer Ceán Chaffin decided that we were technologically ready to make the film. Because the protagonist goes through an entire life time of reverse aging it was too challenging to naturally convey the aging process maintaining the actor’s features through practical make-up, instead the method used to accomplish it was through computer generating images (CGI).

The technique was applied mostly throughout the beginning of the movie when the character is at his oldest apparent age, initially Brad Pitt’s performance was recorded with motion capture along with the top different facial expressions humans are capable of doing, then a 3D model of the old looking protagonist was generated based on Pitt’s facial features. When both fazes were done the “data soup” goes through o number of digital processing stages that resulted on the raw animated model of Benjamin. The animation is placed over an other actor’s shoulder at the film’s raw media and composited so that it looks like it is part of the film’s world.

The long and expensive process of digitally adding the head of the protagonist is justified by the necessity of the story to suspend your belief that the character is actually aging backwards without a questioning of the methods used to acquire the final media. In my opinion the digital adventure was very successful since I never questioned the authenticity of the protagonist while watching the film. The film now represents a ground breaking change on the technical capabilities movies have in order to tell their stories.


FP158 Luis Zanforlin 13/July/2014