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The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

What he said:

He

I remember hearing some people say that they were disappointed in this movie because it wasn’t as good as the book. I didn’t read the book, so I don’t really care all that much. Even if I did, I still probably wouldn’t care. I tend to look at a movie as is. Sure I may be comparing on some level, but they are separate works and should be viewed as such. I don’t always assume the book is better either.

The Lovely Bones is the sale of Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) and her life after death. She is murdered by a very cruel and sick man (played by Stanley Tucci).

This is only the beginning of her story though, as the bulk of the movie takes places from some sort of limbo world. She is stuck here, because she refuses to accept what happened to her. She wants revenge for what George Harvey (Tucci) did to her, so she reaches out to members of her family in an attempt to guide them towards the truth. That goes directly against the advice of newfound friend Holly, who thinks Susie should accept the fact that she is dead and move on.

Meanwhile, back in the land of the living, her dad Jack (Mark Wahlberg) suspects just about every male in the county, and her mother (Rachel Weisz) is struggling to cope and eventually flees, leaving her family behind. Also along for the ride is her grandmothers (played wonderfully by Susan Sarandon) and sister Lindsey, who actually starts to suspect George Harvey. It makes for all kinds of emotion and drama, which for the most part was just fine.

But as time goes on, the movie loses me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just got kind of goofy. I thought it started out fairly well, but kind of became a parody of itself. The visuals weren’t doing it for me at all and actually detracted from the movie imo. It’s a shame, because I was really into for a while, but felt disappointed as the movie went on. It felt like it was all glossed over very quickly and sloppily, which carried itself over into the ending of the film (you’ll know what I’m talking about it when I see it).

It’s a shame too, because I thought it started out just fine. It could have been a fantastic movie imo, but just lost its way.

It also ended up being a waste of some very good performances. Tucci was so good as this sicko, I actually view his talents in a whole new light. I did not think he had that kind of versatility. Susan Sarandon also stood out to me. Her pill-popping, booze guzzling, Grandma Lynn, was extremely entertaining and believable! And Saoirse Ronan continues to impress me, despite the fact I’ve yet to see a movie with her that I actually like (Hanna did nothing for me).

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 21, 2011.

What she said:

She

The Lovely Bones is one of those movies that I really wanted to like, but just couldn’t.  It had so much promise.  I’ve read, and generally liked, the book, and Peter Jackson was directing, so I figured this was a guaranteed thumbs up.  Unfortunately a disjointed script, over-the-top special effects, and underdeveloped characters ruined this for me.

Saoirse Ronan plays Susie Salmon, your super average teenage girl growing up in 1970s suburban Pennsylvania.  She likes boys, photography, and friends.  And, although, she’s only fourteen, she has a budding relationship with a high school senior.  Unfortunately for Susie, her young life is about to come to a horrific end when she is murdered by a neighbor.  The movie then follows Susie as she gets stuck in a sort of netherworld, watching her family struggle to move past her death, while she struggles to go on to heaven.   Her death remains a mystery for some time, until her father and sister begin to realize who the killer is.

So those are the basics.  There really isn’t much to the premise of this story.  The beauty of the book was in the richness of the characters and the haunting realness of the emotions they felt.  Unfortunately for Peter Jackson, I think he failed to capture that in his film.  Instead he dwells on this netherworld that Susie is trapped in.  The movie is long, 2 hours 16 minutes, and yet it seems that several of the strong plot devices that made the book work, were omitted to instead give screen time to Jackson’s digitally produced dream world.  We’re told that the Salmon family falls apart, but we don’t really see too much of it, just the bare, and not so lovely, bones of it. 

Some important things to at least mention would have been the fact that Susie was not just murdered, she was also raped.  I think this gave even more fuel to Jack Salmon (played by Mark Wahlberg) as he went on his relentless search for the killer.  Also, of importance is the fact that the mother, Abigail (Rachel Weisz), had an affair with the detective.  It also urked me that in the movie really glossed over the characters of Ruth Conners and Ray Singh (the kid she had the crush on).  They played a much larger role in the book, and were mere afterthoughts in the movie.  It almost made me wonder why even bother having them at all.

Jackson spent way too much time off in his CGI dream world and neglected to give his actors much to work with.  They did well with what they had, but it wasn’t enough to carry the movie.  Stanley Tucci was quite good as George Harvey, the murderer, but I was left wanting more from all the characters.  Sadly, I feel like Jackson ruined this one.

Thumbs down.