The Lovely Bones
I tried reading The Lovely Bones a few years back. It was given to me by my wife who loved it and wanted me to read it. I think I managed to get half way through the book, or at least far enough to want to finish it so I would know how everything panned out in the end. But alas, Alice Sebold’s writing style didn’t mesh well with my reading style and I gave up on it. Luckily for me, this was around the time that Peter Jackson announced he was turning the book into a film. It was at that moment that I decided I would make sure I saw the film, I was absolutely confident that Jackson’s passion and vision would create a film that embraced the essence of the book, whilst turning it into a visually engaging experience.
The Lovely Bones really is an odd story, it follows the short life of 14 year old Susie Salmon, who is murdered by her neighbour in the early stages of the film, but then narrates and watches as the story unfolds, stuck in the in-between world that separates heaven and earth, trying desperately to communicate with her earthly father as to who her killer was. On the one hand it’s a devastatingly dark film, and on the other it’s an uplifting story full of light and the power of love.
The absolute passion that seems to emanate through Director Peter Jackson is evident throughout the entire film, proving that the one thing Jackson has over his Hollywood peers is his ability to embrace fully every project he under takes. But The Lovely Bones is a truly spellbinding experience that draws you in with an apparent ease, causing you to literally sit in awe, not only through the talents of it’s director. The casting of this story is pitch perfect, from the magnificent performance of Saoirse Ronan is the role of Susie, who undergoes a transformation from the utterly innocent school girl, to someone who suddenly understands what it is to hate someone with all your energy, to the perfectly cast Stanley Tucci as the neighbour who murders Susie. Tucci’s grasp of the role is so realistic that it’s unnerving to watch him, and literally sends a shiver down your spine every-time he turns on the creepiness with apparent ease.
And then there are the special effects. Jackson naturally uses Weta Digital to bring the idea of heaven and the in-between to glorious life, creating a massive smorgasbord for your eyes, that elevates the story from a well paced drama to a visually spectacular event that puts most summer blockbusters to shame.
If you, like me, didn’t see the film on the big screen, make sure you watch it on DVD or BluRay. It really is a story worth experiencing more than once.
The BluRay comes as a 2 disc special edition, with nearly three hours of special features. I don’t normally go for special features, as they never seem to add anything to the experience. But with a whole disc worth, I figured I’d take a look. I was initially disappointed as there was essentially only one special feature; a 15 week diary style documentary hosted by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens that followed the shoot, in the order the film was shot. Once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. The intricate behind the scenes details, and the ever present passion of Jackson made for an engaging watch, witnessing how they created the different locations, coaxed the best out of the actors, and how the visual effects were set up was almost as good as watching the film itself.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Release date: April 30th, 2010
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan, Amanda Michalka, Jake Abel, Rose McIver, Nikki SooHoo, Reece Ritchie, Thomas McCarthy, Andrew James Allen, Carolyn Dando, Anna George, Charlie Saxton, Christian Thomas Ashdale
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Director: Jackson, Peter
Studio: Universal Pictures