A good movie is not created by beautiful visuals and decent acting. It also must include a fully realized script and emotional connections with its audience, both of which The Lovely Bones sorely lacks.
Peter “Hobbit whore” Jackson has tried to cram a novel into a celluloid emotional journey of loss, fate and acceptance and ends up with misfires, pretty pictures and cheesy lines.
Susie Salmon (like the fish) is a young girl excited for things young girls are excited about – boys, a glamorous career, the mall. Unfortunately, all those dreams are snuffed out at the hands of a neighbourhood killer (Stanley Tucci). While Susie adjusts to life in that place between life and death, her family (parents = Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz/grandma = Susan Sarandon) deal with the loss and lack of closure such a violent end brings.
If you tell me Peter Jackson directed something, it’s worth seeing and so off I went. Unfortunately, I think reading the book would have filled in a lot of emotional blanks. Though the movie felt unbelievably slow at times, it tended to gloss over parts of the story that would probably have made me connect to the characters more. For instance, there’s a character that has some connection to the afterlife but the reason is pretty much, “because she just does.” She’s put in the movie for one scene that just feels like it comes out of nowhere. Sorry Peter, didn’t work for me.
The response I will probably get from people that liked this movie is, “did you read the book? Well you should really read the book.” No I shouldn’t. I should not have to do my homework or read a better version of a story to understand/better appreciate this version. That’s the director’s job to translate the material.
Now, the acting was fine. You really felt the loss from Wahlberg and Weisz, while Sarandon was fantastic as the whirlwind, alcholic grandma. I’ll say this too – any movie with Stanley Tucci is a better movie for it. You may not go see a movie for him, but he’ll make any piece of crap better…and he shined this one up nicely. I do like the lead actress Saoirse Ronan,who was amazing in Atonement, but her lines here were cheesy and fake. They may have been pulled directly from the book but in the film, it was certainly not language used by a girl her age.
There were great moments of suspense and the world between heaven and earth was visually brilliant. And any time Tucci or Sarandan were on screen was worth a look but even they weren’t enough to make me recommend this movie.
THE LOVELY BONES Rating:
1 star– don’t waste your time. You know what? Just go read the book. I’ve heard nothing but good things as demonstrated from fan excitement to see this bland, piece of…film. How can a movie feel so slow and still not take the time for me to care about the characters? You are a mystery Lovely Bones. (a title that was badly explained and tacked on the end. Ok, I’m done now).
I Love You Phillip Morris (release date: March 26, 2010) – based on true events, Jim Carrey is a family man who discovers he’s gay and proceeds to break out of prisons to be with the man he loves. This trailer is for you homophobes. Enjoy.
Honourable mention: Big Night (1996) – Stanley Tucci and his pet project (he stars, writes and directs) which I’ve heard great things about…but I don’t recommend movies I haven’t seen. This is more a movie I’m suggesting you and I both watch. Though not together…that would be weird.
The Frighteners (1996) – Peter Jackson directs Michael J. Fox in a sort of horror, kinda comedy, dramaish type movie about a guy who can see dead people. Only about three years before the creepy kid and Bruce Willis. A little different and certainly not how we usually see Fox but that’s not always a bad thing.
Enemy at the Gates (2001) – Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris in a sniper duel set during the Battle of Stalingrad (don’t worry, you won’t have to read). It at feels realistic and gritty in a good way. A very dark, cat and mouse type movie that captivates you until the end. (Sidenote – the sex scene reminds me of backpacking in Australia).