Friday, July 9, 2010

The Lovely Bones. C

The Lovely Bones goes all wrong and I know exactly why: it doesn't stray away from its source material enough. Based off a very popular book by Alice Sebold (a good read, but overall a novel I've liked less and less since finishing it), The Lovely Bones looks pretty terrible on screen, mainly because it's a very imaginative story that's nearly impossible to bring to life (even through the innovative eyes of Peter Jackson). But there is one element of the story that works: the murder story. Jackson, who, helped write the script, should have kept with this premise: Susie Salmon watches from heaven as her family tries to solve her murder. See, the problem with the movie is that there's so much going on with so many different characters that none of them are ever fully developed. I was especially disappointed with the story of the parents, played by Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg. The murder story is just part of the movie, but it's really the only portion of it that actually works. When I look back on the film, all the scenes that could be called masterful concerned the investigation of the murder. We know who the killer is from the beginning, which some might claim dampens the suspense. But that's a technique Hitchcock loved and actually makes the story more exciting and compelling. The sick psycho who lures Susie Salmon into an underground fort and rapes and murders her (this is handled in the safest possible way, as Jackson wanted to keep this at a PG-13 so more people could see it) is a lonely man named George Harvey (Stanley Tucci, in an obvious, but strong performance). This leads to some great scenes, one involving a dollhouse and a detective named Len, another a conversation outside between the father and Harvey, and finally a scene in which Susie's sister sneaks into Harvey's house while he's away. But unfortunately this isn't just a murder story. It's a lot of things, and most of them aren't very good simply because there wasn't enough time to let them fully evolve.

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