Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Lovely Bones - Movie Review

A good reason to see The Lovely Bones would be to see director Peter Jackson's vivid creation of the in-between world that Susie Salmon finds herself stuck in. I haven't yet seen Avatar so I understand that movie pretty much owns how an imaginary world is depicted but Jackson does an outstanding job. Is that enough to recommend the movie? Maybe if you can catch a matinee; the digital effects should be enjoyed on the big screen so treat yourself.

But after that, there's not much to be enthused about. Though the previews try to convince those who are unfamiliar with the book that this is some kind of a thriller, it's not, or at least that parts that try to be a thriller fail. It's too passive - events happen to the main character and she's powerless to do anything about them. Oh, she might be lucky in that another character may sense her presence but that's about it.

This kind of thing might work in a novel - I'd started the book once or twice but abandoned it because the father of two girls doesn't need to be reading a literary novel about the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl. The movie makes it tolerable - it's not explicit in the crimes but concerns itself more about the aftermath. That's the real subject here and what could have been a moody, feely piece about that opts instead for the eye-candy and faux thriller elements. We've seen too many Law and Order episodes so that the crime-solving elements look amateurish here. And Susan Sarandon? What's up with her character?

I'd looked forward to seeing this movie so I came away disappointed that it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Lost in the holiday and post-holiday releases, it's doomed to be forgotten, I'm afraid. Still, there's some life to it and may be worth seeking out on a slow, rainy, Sunday afternoon.

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