Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

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A late review (as always) ... I had seen this movie before and did like it then also (guess I was lazy to blog about it then .. ) But some movies one likes more and more as one sees it multiple times ... This movie is one like that ...
I was simply amazed by the wonder that was created by the make up and the computer graphics team working in tandem. Its was an absolute work of art. I have always had this liking for Autobiographies/Life History kind of movies and books, so it was natural for me to like this movie as well. The movie shuttles between the past and present similar to Kamal Haasan's "Hey Ram" and was narrative like Tom Hanks' "Forrest Gump" - both of which are movies that I have loved in the past.

I was impressed by Brad Pitt's impeccable acting skills. What also impressed me was the guts he had to kill his "cool dude" image (which ladies worldwide fall for) and adorn this character of a old man for almost three quarter of the movie. Hats off to him .. :)
And all of these kind of movies always have the most incredible dialogues. I present to you some of my favorites.
  • My name is Benjamin Button, and I was born under unusual circumstances. While everyone else was aging, I was gettin' younger... all alone
  • Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life.
  • You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.
  • Letter to his daughter: For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
  • Sometimes we're on a collision course, and we just don't know it. Whether it's by accident or by design, there's not a thing we can do about it.
  • About Daisy: I think, right there and then, she realized none of us is perfect forever.
  • Mrs. Maple : Benjamin, we're meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?
Happy Movie Watching !!

Visit to Cape Town

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All Cape Town Photos
The visit to Cape Town, began on a disastrous note (well … almost). We reached the airport to catch our flight to Cape Town. My friend Abhay dropped me to the airport. Just as we were entering the security check area, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet (with all my money and cards) at home!! I just couldn’t believe that my forgetfulness would reach this level. I calmed myself down and called Abhay and coordinated with some other friends and had Abhay come back to the airport with the wallet. Thanks to Abhay, I managed it on time and moreover to add to my advantage the flight also got a bit late.

So finally we reached Cape Town – which was “picture postcard perfect” and made me “forget” my bad start. The scenic beauty that I saw in Cape Town was something else.

Firstly we drove through Simon Town and then to the Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. It was a wonderful feeling to go through this place imagining how so many Sailors including the first one Vasco da Gama would have come here and turned left and upwards to finally reach India. It was beautiful to be able to distinctly differentiate the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Also it was amazing that we were standing at the point which was the southernmost tip of the African continent.

The beaches in Cape Town were also beautiful. The sand on the beach was white in color. Amazingly … pretty uncommon for someone from India … the water was ice cold … COLD beyond words !! Forget about going into the water … it was difficult and highly painful to just stand in the water. So we kept a safe distance … :)

The other attraction in Cape Town was the Table Mountain. It gave a bird’s eye view of the entire city from the top of this mountain also the Cable Car that we had to employ to get to the top of the mountain was the added thrill to the event. It was a cloudy day and the view that we got from there was so different … it was as if we were in Heaven.

Other noteworthy experiences in Cape Town included:
  • The Drive to the Chapman’s Peak
  • The World of Birds
  • The Huge Canal Walk Mall
  • V&A Waterfront Experience
We left Cape Town with fond memories of the beautiful locations which we had earlier only seen on picture postcards … It was fun to be now part of the picture postcard!!

Visit to New Castle and Durban

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All Engogo Photos
All Durban Photos
My leave plan at office has been simple ... I was taking the Thursdays and Fridays off for the weeks that Janani is here. So I was getting three such long weekends - One was planned for "New Castle and Durban" next one for "Cape Town" and the last one for "Places within Johannesburg - which essentially means shopping".
So Week 2 - was for New Castle and Durban. I researched and searched out this "not-so-well-known" place in the middle of nowhere near New Castle - Engogo River Water Lodge. Set in the scenic surroundings of Drakensburg Mountain ranges, reaching this place was a bit tricky; actually driving to the place I was thinking if I had not chosen a wrong place. Once we reached the place, all my apprehensions faded away and I was struck by this wonderful feeling of awe. This place has by far been the best place I have ever been to ...
Three beautifully built cottages by the side of a river stream which is passing by the valley with a beautiful backdrop of the Drakensburg Mountain ranges. The continuous sound of the water flowing added to the beautiful environment. Room was cozy with all amenities (a fireplace also !!) and a fully equipped kitchen - no room service, only self service - so we had brought things so that we can cook and eat there. With no cell phone coverage, we were completely cut out from the world and it was a wonderful feeling. We took a scenic walk by the side of the riverstream and on the way back walked through the shallow portions of the stream. The water was cold but was it fun wading through it. The ambiance in the night was also out-of-the-world. We left the place next day morning with fond memories of being in a place like paradise. And I must repeat that it is by far the best place that I have ever visited.

The drive to Durban was very scenic and beautiful. Durban is a place which is highly populated with people of Indian origin. Durban is the land of beautiful "warm" beaches and Bunnychows. Bunny chow is a slang term for a South African fast food consisting of a loaf of bread, with the inside scooped out, and filled with curry. I had heard about the Gounders Curry – which is very famous for its Bunny Chows in Umbilo, Durban. We tried the veggie Bunny chow there; was nice but too spicy for me so I let Janani do most of the eating.

We visited couple of beaches there in Durban but I feel the highlight of Durban was the visit to the uShaka Marine World. It was again a place that I would have never seen anything like that in India. uShaka Marine World is a theme park which is comprised 4 sections, uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild, uShaka Beach and uShaka Village Walk.

Of the four sections the best one was the uShaka Sea World where we spend most of our day. It is the 5th largest aquarium in the world containing sea creatures ranging from small sea horses all the way through to sharks and dolphins. The Aquarium is built to look like an old ship wreck. There are also Four very unique things that we/I experienced there.
  • The Shark Cage Experience - where we (yes Janani also did this one !!) were lowered into the shark tank in an acrylic cage to view these magnificent predators of the sea swimming around us.
  • Snorkel Lagoon give me an opportunity to swim with the fish in the aquarium. Geared in a buoyancy vest, a mask and snorkel, I snorkeled among colourful fish species - and the feeling was completely out of the world. I snorkeled throughout the pool seeing strange fishes swimming with me. I also had some sharks like fishes in the bottom and i tried to keep away from them. Janani was watching me swim with the fishes from the viewing galary in the aquarium.
  • Ocean Walker Experience. is where I took a walk among the sea’s beautiful creatures; such as rays, sand sharks, tuna and dorado. It was also bit scary as a stingray was nibbling away on my back for few seconds before a diver came and got it off my back. :-O ...
  • The dolphinarium - the largest dolphin stadium in Africa - where we saw a beautiful dolphin show. The Dolphins showed off their skills and synchronised activities that left us wanting more at the end of it.
We skipped the uShaka Wet 'n Wild as this was a waterworld themepark similar to the one in Sun City. The Village Walk was designed in an African theme consisting of Restaurants, cafes and other shops - resulting in some shopping experience.

The 4 day visit which started out scerene, peaceful and beautiful ended on a thrilling, and exciting note. I was happy that I had seen somethings that I had never seen in my life. :)

Visit to Sun City and Pilanesberg

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As a part of Week-1 of Janani's visit to South Africa, we visited Sun City and Pilanesberg Game Reserve. We need to have accomodation as well so after careful research, I decided on the Authentique French Guest House. We drove down to the guest house by late evening. The guest house was so tastefully built, pretty much inside the forest, at the same time secure and cozy.

On the first day, we went to Sun City (my second visit), where we rushed straight to the Wave pool. After having some good time at the tsunami that the wave pool generated and the water slides and splashes, it was time for lunch. Post lunch we went for a small trek up into the woods by the waterfall in Sun City - to check out the hanging brdge and the better view of the palace. We also briefly checked out the shopping center and Casino in Suncity. Overall, we had a nice time at the Suncity.
The next day, we headed out first to a Lion Park on the way to Pilanesburg. We had a nice opportunity to take photos with Lion cubs. It did scare the hell out of Janani when one of the cubs started to run around in the cage that we had entered - and she promptly exited the cage on the first possible chance.
We then headed to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve for the evening Game Drive starting at 4:40pm and ended at 8:00 pm ... We managed to catch the following animals in action. Three of the Big Five - Elephant, Lion and Rhino - missed the other two; Buffalo and the Cheetah. Apart from that we caught the Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Fox, Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Impala, Cape Hare etc ... As they say, never miss the wildlife safari when in Africa - and it was a wonderful experience.
We drove back safe and sound after that visit back to Johannesburg - reaching home late at 11:00 pm - had office next day morning:Sad part :( .. Took back wonderful memories: Happy Part :)!!