Before I get started, first let me say that I have not read the book by Alice Sebold upon which this movie is based. Personally, I think this is a good thing since it didn't provide me with any preconceptions. The main reason I wanted to see this film was that it's directed by Peter Jackson and that I had heard some good things about it – although I heard some bad things as well. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I got to see The Lovely Bones because I liked it. I wouldn't call it a great film, but it was good.
The Lovely Bones
Right at the start, we're introduced to Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a 14 year-old who seems both intelligent, but also naïve. She's never kissed a boy or done anything more than pine after one of her schoolmates. This makes the story all that more disheartening because she loses her life before she's even begun to really live.
One day after school, Susie is walking home through a nearby cornfield – a lot of kids use this route, and unfortunately, everyone knows it. Here she meets George (Stanley Tucci), the next-door neighbor – a middle-aged man with a look that would give anyone the creeps. But contrary to her seemingly intelligent nature, Susie doesn't worry about talking with George in the middle of an empty cornfield with nobody else around. She even believes the story that George tells her about building an underground playroom right there in the cornfield for all the school kids to use – and she makes the fatal mistake of going into the room with him.
Throughout the rest of the film we see Susie as a spirit who is stuck in the place between Heaven and Earth. She won't move on until she somehow helps her family figure out what happened to her. Watch the film to find out what happens…
The Lovely Bones Blu-ray
Readers of the book who have been waiting for the story to be brought to life won't be disappointed with the Blu-ray presentation. The visuals are absolutely beautiful, especially in regards to the depiction of the spirit world in which Susie resides. Bright colors, perfect blacks, and a great attention to detail make this movie a feast for the eyes.
The audio is also quite good. There aren't any over the top audio experiences since the entire film is very much subdued, but ambient sounds are presented nicely as to give you the experience of being in the different environments shown here. The music score by Brian Eno also fits in very nicely, especially the music related to the George character.
The Lovely Bones Bonus Features
All of the special features are provided on a separate disc and are all presented in high-definition. If you've ever wanted to know how a film like this is created and produced, then you're going to love all of the extra content included here. Introduction By Peter Jackson is a quick 1-minute segment in which Peter Jackson introduces the special features. USA Principal Photography provides a very detailed account of each of the eight weeks that was spent in the USA doing shooting for the film. During the 1-hour and 27-minute feature, Jackson narrates, explaining what went on during each of the eight shoots.
New Zealand Principal Photography provides a similar account to that of the USA Principal Photography feature, but this time the location is New Zealand. There are five different shoots here with more narration from Jackson with a time of 59-minutes. Film buffs and students will really enjoy the amount of detail provided in these features. In addition, Visual Effects Photography gives 30-minutes of coverage to the making of the visual effects used throughout the film. It's a nice way to round out the very thorough behind-the-scenes footage presented here.
For Fans and Readers
Those who are fans of Peter Jackson and/or readers of Alice Sebold will probably want to see this film. Those who are not, may or may not like it. To me, The Lovely Bones is a good film, but not a great one. I say this because there are a number of times where the story just doesn't flow well enough and some things seem to just be thrown in – this is especially true with the rock music montage with Susan Sarandon… I didn't think that scene fit at all. However, I did like the overall story and I really liked the presentation. So I say that fans should see it and others… maybe.