January 4, 2010

Review: The Lovely Bones (2010)

"Not as perfect as I had hoped, The Lovely Bones is a great film none the less..."

In Attendance- Me, Karrie, Dave, Michaela and Adrianna.
Cast Members of Note- Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci. Directed by Peter Jackson.

Susie Salmon is an average 14-year-old girl who likes boys, riding her bike, building bottle ships with Marky Mark, taking pictures, and crawling into makeshift underground clubhouses with skeezy old pervs. Unfortunately, that last little hobby of hers is the reason why she ends up raped and dead. Then again, people still thought the best of people in the 1970's, so it was easy for kids to trust strange, creepy old men back then.

Damn the 1970's, run!
When Susie goes missing, Marky Mark sets out on a personal crusade to find his little girl, because he hates making bottle ships alone. While he frantically searches for clues about her disappearance, she watches from heaven (her own personal version of heaven that is) wishing she could be alive because she really wants to "do" the British kid in her class, who has a million dollar smile. Really. She wants to come back and do it with the kid. Not making that up. Read the book.

Monopoly piece or a clue? Hmm...
As more an more information and clues come to light, Marky Mark finds himself getting dangerously close to the sick bastard who took his little girl from him. Will the killer get away with murder, only to strike again? Will Marky Mark break off an old school freestyle rap for that ass? Will Susie ever find peace in the afterlife? I won't spoil what happens here, but suffice it to say that Susie Salmon was safe the whole time. Heh.

See what I did there?
Peter Jackson is the man. Whether it be Hobbits or Zombies, Homicidal Schoolgirls or Aliens, the guy just knows how to make movies, and make them well. Here, he takes a child-murdering Serial Killer and family melodrama, and weaves them together seamlessly. For the most part. I just really love his vision and storytelling ability, and especially the way he can make an audience empathize with his characters. Like the movie or not, you will definitely feel it.

The most engaging thing about the movie, aside from its characters, was how easily it reminds you that monsters are everywhere in this world, and sometimes right next door. Literally. Walking home from school can lead to your death. So can trusting a stranger. Worse still, it could be someone that you know. And to see the killers calm "every guy" demeanor after knowing in detail what he did (and the horrible nastiness of his acts), is truly chilling.

Saoirse Ronan is just great as Susie Salmon. I've been a fan of hers since Atonement, and she takes a big leap forward here in my opinion. The girl has chops for someone as young as she is, and I can't wait to see what else has to offer as her career progresses. Also of note is the performance of Stanley Tucci, who gets the whole Creepy Pedophile/Serial Killer thing down perfectly. Oscar worthy? You never know.

Now that is classic beauty.
***BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD!*** The movie left out a lot of the details that were present in the book, and some of them were quite sordid, such as: Susie was raped as well as murdered in the book; her elbow is found in a field; the mom has an affair with the Cop assigned to Susie's case; 14-year-old sex happens all over the place; Susie clearly wants to "do it" with Ray in a bad way, and in the final scene, she doesn't just kiss Ray, she flat out bones him.

There's a bunch of other story elements that were changed too, and I get why they did it, but some of it could have made the movie a bit edgier and more intense. Just sayin'.

Instead, we get fucking trees.
Dear young (and old) girls of the world: Never willingly go into a man-made hole in the ground with a creepy older man, even if he calls it a "clubhouse" or "place to hang out." Never, ever. Especially when it's in the middle of a barren cornfield at dusk. Trust me on this one.

He's waiting there for you, in the cornfield at dusk.
This is definitely not a gory movie, and aside from one scene that's literally covered in blood, all we get are a few quick shots of corpses, and a pretty mean looking beating.

That's a nasty little scene.
No nudity. Teen sexuality does rear its head throughout the movie, though very subtly. For those that may feel cheated by the lack of perversion and nudity to be found here, I give you Rachel Weisz naked with a snake. Hey, at least it's something...

"Be polite."

The world is a sick place. Also, building ships in bottles is a pain in the ass.

It's a globe, idiot. She's not in there!
I toyed with the idea of giving this one an A or A-, but I'll need to go see it again before I can truly decide how I feel. On one hand, Jackson gives us a deep, richly textured, emotionally charged creepfest that will make us look oddly at out neighbors for years to come. On the other, the film failed to delve into the starkly deeper and darker places that the book took us, which left me a bit cold. Nevertheless, The Lovely Bones is an excellent film and should be on your go-and-see list when it hits theaters on January 15th.


The Lovely Bones is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.


Rachel, oh Rachel. Wasn't her name an used for the old German Christmas Song, Rachelweisz?

"Rachelweiß, Rachelweiß,
Du grüßt mich jeden Morgen..."

No? Oh well. Can't win 'em all, I guess. *Also Sorsha Roman (or whatever her name is.)


  1. Agree with the review...also noticed you have 'Forget Me Not' pending for a review...an awesome film thats getting great reviews with a kickass ending!

  2. Hmmm, I must be the only person in the world that hasn't been impressed with ANY of PJ's films to date... especially his turgid LOTR series, or King Kong. Add that to a premise that no atheist can get behind, and I just don't see the appeal in this movie.

  3. Hey first off...love the new look for the page. Very Classy

    I thought Lovely Bones was a good looking movie... but it just wasn't something for me.

    Not because it didn't have zombies in it or anything... I thought it was the kind of movie you really had to be in the mood for. Not something to just go grab some pop corn and watch.

    My girl friend loved it... and so did her sisters. But they had all read the book.

  4. See Purgatori, I'm the opposite. I love PJ's work. To each their own though, I still respect you :)~

    And L.Cass, thanks a lot. I agree that it's more of a "in the mood" movie rather than something that you just watch for the sake of fun. Don't worry though, Daybreakers is coming up, and you know that will be all sorts of fun! :)

  5. Likewise M'hael :P I don't mean to diss anyone who DOES like his work, I can even sorta understand why they do, but for whatever reason(s), nothing he has done has vibed with me so far.

    And yes, Daybreakers is going to be wicked good fun :D

  6. I see it already. The local police is absolutely clueless about the murderer; Marky Mark starts an amateur investigation, in which every single neighbor is considered a suspect; Marky Mark decides to kick a couple of freestyles to a random suspect in an interrogation room; coincidentally, the suspect happens to be the murderer, who prefers to confess his horrendous crime than to be submitted for one more second to such atrocious rhymes.