Proof that Peter Jackson isn’t the greatest.
When 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is murdered, she watches from above as her family deals with her tragic death — and as her killer prepares to strike again. Torn between vengeance and healing, Susie’s loved ones are forever changed. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz star in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s riveting best-selling novel; Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci co-star.
Now this is based off a n0vel, that I have never read. Before this movie was coming out I really wanted to go out and buy it but never got that far. But now after watching this I have decided I need to give the book a nice read.
Peter Jackson uses a lot of these great ways to lighten up the mood in this film. He uses a full pallet of rich color, lush music, and astonishing visual effects that will simply leave you in awe. When Susie is in the after world there is a lot of images to look at, yeah they may be a bit creepy and weird with their CGI look, but I felt like I was in a whole new world of love and beauty when these scenes were on.
There are some beautifully crafted suspenseful set pieces within this film as well. Scenes come up out of nowhere that just leave you on the edge of your seat not knowing what was going to happen next, and how it was going to happen.
The one big bad problem that the film has is that it can’t find a coherent approach to this story. At times its grim and the others its beauty, but it just didn’t work out real well. One minute I would be in this beautiful wonderland full of joy and happiness, then the next minute I would stuck watching this serial killer at all nutty, while the parents of Susie are still trying to investigate. The film should have just went with one whole approach and mood towards this film instead it tries to combine these two, and it doesn’t work at all.
The biggest problem, overall, is that in a movie that runs well over two hours, Jackson is so busy bombarding us with trippy post-death visuals that he forgot to include actual human relationships. There are maybe fifteen minutes of actual conversation between characters in the entire movie — and believe me, I’m not exaggerating. Everything else is given over to our perky dead girl running through CGI mountains and fields, or observing her mopey family, while the ponderous, constant, droning narration makes the whole thing feel like an illustrated audio book.
Wahlberg and Weisz are completely given really nothing at all, other than being just these cheesy one dimensional characters throughout the whole film. For me they could have been given more material, because these two have proved in the past that they can work with good material, if given it correctly. The best performance here is Stanley Tucci as the creepy serial killer. Every time he was on screen I was just scared and wondering to myself what was this man going to do next. There wasn’t one time that I didn’t believe that this man was a crazed and amazingly creepy neighbor. Ronan is OK in this role, as sometimes she is just seen as being scared, and at the same time just repeating these little monologues.
One last thing with this film is that it’s message about death, and the after life did not seem all that well brought out. It wasn’t that preachy, but it also wasn’t well brought out in the way it could have been with the source material it was given.
Consensus: The Lovely Bones has Peter Jackson’s visual flairs and a great performance from Tucci, but can’t find a coherent approach to its mood, and barely shows any other human emotion other than just being sad all the time.