Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review- The Lovely Bones

Continuing my attempts at bettering my review writing, here is the next one. Sadly, it's another misfire.

A plethora of seamless CGI effects and period details cannot save Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones from being a complete bore to sit through. Narrated by young, murdered Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) from the “in-between”, the film charts the after-effects of her murder while Susie…well, just kind of waits around for….something to happen.

The trouble here is the fetishistic attention to detail. Set in 1973, the film gets all the period trappings correct. The “in-between” that Susie inhabits is filled with constantly shifting landscapes and amazing visuals. All this detail attention leaves less time to tell a gripping story. The movie flips back and forth between Susie observing the grieving of her family, her murderer’s (a decently creepy Stanley Tucci) follow-up moves and her own adventures in this “in-between”, which, given the visuals, is a cross between What Dreams May Come and Disney’s Afterlifeland; yet none of it registers emotionally enough to capture an audience. Susie just walks around doing not much of anything. Given the fact that the audience is told who the killer is early on, it takes an inordinate amount of time for the family to catch up. This leaves a second act that just sits on the screen so people can check their watches. Even a decent chase through the killer’s house, as Stanley Tucci goes after Susie’s younger sister who was looking for clues, leads nowhere. The film just slowly peters out.

Saoirse Ronan does manage to pull out a good performance, investing her character with the proper amount of wonder and angst given her situation. After Atonement and this film, she is one to watch for the future. Mark Wahlberg, as Susie’s father, grieves well enough as first, but then turns into the crusader and interest drops. Susan Sarandon, as Susie’s grandmother, blows in looking like Jacqueline Susann, performs a comedy routine, then is given nothing else to do.

The book of The Lovely Bones is supposed to be a searing and emotional read (I have not read it). As pretty as the film’s visuals are to look at, poring over pages with your imagination would be a much better expenditure of time than sitting through these 122 minutes.


Michelle M. said...

Hmmm... maybe I'll only go to Fdot reviewed movies. Are you going to have a thumbs up or star type of scale in the future?

I just saw Everybody's Fine. It was like getting kicked in the heart. And I accidentally put sugar instead of salt in my popcorn : (.

Polt said...

I've never even heard of this movie...and with this review, I'm glad I can see I'm not missing anything.

I wonder, do you take requests on reviews? Do you review only current stuff, or older movies as well? Do you charge for your reviews. :)


FDot said...

Michelle--I keep grades of everything I watch further down omy my sidebar, but I can start posting grades in the reviews. for The Lovely Bones, I'd give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Polt--I am happy to review any and everything. Request away! Possibility of payment can be private ;)

Michelle M. said...

Yes - I think you should post them in the reviews. I am *that* lazy and it makes it easier for me.

Having said that - now I'm going to catch up on your reviews : ).