Movie #8: The Lovely Bones

I almost never call any movie “a mess”, but I think that’s the best way to describe The Lovely Bones. I have no idea how much of this film was true to the original Alice Sebold novel and how much of it was artistic license taken by writer/director Peter Jackson, but I hope that the book made a lot more sense. Essentially it’s the story of a young girl who is murdered by a neighbouring serial killer. What makes it unique is that we spend half our time with the spirit of poor little Susie Salmon in a kind of gorgeous, new-age, CGI purgatory from where she watches over her loved ones, and provides sweet and cryptic narration. Not only was I confused by the significance of this metaphysical device, it was thoroughly distracting from the human drama of the family trying to cope with their loss. Add to that attempts at insight into the mind of the killer (played by a creepy Stanley Tucci) and some typical “he’s right behind you!”-style suspense scenes, and top it off with an incredibly sloppy and unsatisfying series of endings (Yes, that says “series”, as in “You will look back fondly at the interminable goodbyes of LOTR: Return of the King if you make it to the end of this film”.) Despite a bright and endearing performance by Saoirse Ronan as Susie, there were numerous times where I had to stop myself from turning off the movie. The Lord of the Rings films were some of my all-time favourites, but I worry about Jackson’s future projects after watching this mess. (1.5 out of 5)

8 down, 42 to go!

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