Image source: The Blemish
The above image is from a link that is no longer available. It was a mashup video of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Forest Gump. Friends who have seen Benjamin Button said that the film reminded them of Forest Gump. After viewing the movie, myself, and doing some research, I learned that the screenplay was written by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord. Eric Roth also wrote Forest Gump. And here is when things began to fall into place.
I realized that Roth was very much following his own Gump template to develop Benjamin Button. Both main characters in the films are different from average people. Forest is just a little bit off in his relation to the world (he is close to being mentally retarded), while Benjamin is aging backwards. Their “disabilities” make them special and allows both characters to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary events.
The similarities are numerous. For instance, both characters cannot walk in their early years, but eventually learn, and decide to go out and experience the world. Both characters have a love interest that somehow never is fully realized except for a brief moment in life. For Benjamin this is possible when he is able to live a somewhat normal life with the love of his life, but he has to leave her because he is aging backwards. For Forest the reason is move elusive. The film takes place in the sixties, and Forest’s love interest, while she was intimate with him, was not ready for a long term commitment. The list of similarities goes on.
When I received the link to the mashup of Forest Gump and Benjamin Button, titled “The Curious Case of Forest Gump and Time Wasters,” all of the similarities described above and many more were mentioned. The video mashup presented Forest Gump on the top half of the screen and Benjamin Button on the bottom. The editing made the remix feel as though, if one were to watch both films simultaneously, they would almost match frame by frame. This, of course, was a deliberate trick in the mashup editing, but nevertheless it showed the limited originality of Benjamin Button.
After viewing “The Curious Case of Forest Gump and Time Wasters” I quickly realized that it was Eric Roth who was in fact remixing himself. But then I realized that Benjamin Button does not even qualify as a remix because in a remix one must know that it is a remix. Roth blatantly presents Benjammin Button as something new, and thereby shortchanges his own merit as a content producer.
NOTE: The day after I wrote the above commentary, I found the site, gigglesugar, which links to the video under a different title: “The Curious Case of Forest Gump/Benjamin Button.”