The first buzz I heard on The Lovely Bones had me thinking that the film was a fantastic movie. The first two official reviews, however, don't seem to agree.
The Lovely Bones Gets Reviewed
Not only do the trades claim that The Lovely Bones is lacking that emotional connection that the book offered, but it takes a different angle on the story's outcome.
Peter Jackson's infatuation with fancy visual effects mortally wounds "The Lovely Bones." Alice Sebold's cheerily melancholy bestseller, centered upon a 14-year-old girl who narrates the story from heaven after having been brutally murdered, provides almost ready-made bigscreen material. But Jackson undermines solid work from a good cast with show-offy celestial evocations that severely disrupt the emotional connections with the characters. The book's rep, the names of Jackson and exec producer Steven Spielberg, and a mighty year-end push by Paramount/DreamWorks will likely put this over with the public to a substantial extent, but it still rates as a significant artistic disappointment.
The Lovely Bones
Sebold's otherworldly meditation on unspeakable tragedy and hard-earned healing has been transformed by Jackson into something akin to a supernatural suspense thriller. A philosophical story about family, memory and obsession has regrettably become a mawkish appeal to victimhood.
Readers' eagerness to see the film version, plus Jackson's name above the title, should deliver a significant boxoffice take during the film's initial release. Whether "Bones" will sustain those numbers as it expands domestically and then into foreign territories in January is unclear. This is, to Jackson's credit, daring and deeply unsettling material.
Disappointed? Well, you should find a few more positive comments if you read further. Check out the full reviews for The Lovely Bones by clicking the bold links above.
The Lovely Bones opens to theaters on December 11th.