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    March 29, 2010

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE LOVELY BONES

    THE LOVELY BONES (English/PG13)
    Genre: Drama/Crime/Fantasy
    Release Date: 18 March 2010
    Distributor: DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures
    Running Time: 135 minutes
    Director: Peter Jackson
    Producers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Carolynne Cunningham, Aimee Peyronnet, Steven Spielberg
    Writers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Alice Seybold (novel)
    Casts: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Armanda Michalka, Stanley Tucci
    Plot: Based on the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, "The Lovely Bones" is the story of a 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all the while attempting to get someone to find her lost body. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.


    THE VERDICT

    What is so wrong about this movie? Foremost, nothing!! While I can understand the outbursts of many famous movie reviewer regarding this movie, I can't help to notice that one of them was my idol - Roger Ebert. He criticize the movie for been "deplorable", "happy gathering of new Facebook friends" and "this whole film is Jackson's fault." This will be the first time in many years that I have to go against Ebert. Not that Ebert is wrong but the sentiment of hatred is too much of a resentment. I believe Peter Jackson has done his best for this movie.

    In 1973, a potential girl with a bright future, Susie Salmon was brutally raped (not seen in the movie) and killed by her assailant, who turns out to be a psychopath neighbour of her, George Harvey. As Susie's parents (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz) are trying to cope with the sudden loss of their daughter, Susie watches from the interworld of Heaven and Earth. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all the while attempting to get someone to find her lost body. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

    Let's start of with the plot. I find it ridiculously hard to adapt this novel while retaining the original emotion in it. While I have to admit that this film turns out very deplorable. Yes, that is the core of the story itself - by inflicting pain and torments, as well as passing out the desire judgement of hatred and compassion. I felt that, as I watched this movie, I can feel the pain and the much needed of Susie Salmon to condemn her rape and murder. There are slight changes than the original novel but I have to say these were made by Peter Jackson to ensure the movie does not goes beyond the acceptable nominal. You can't afford to see how Susie's mom became estranged from her father and indulge in an extra-marital relationship with the detective, do you?

    The plot carries the novel's message lightly. Perhaps that is why some critics punished Jackson for bringing in a wrong message. Only in one particular scene I realized that the true message was swayed away. The happy-looking Susie Salmon while in in-between suggested that she was indeed happy after what had happened to her - raped and murdered. It gives a wrong picture that heaven is more like a happy gathering of the similar victims under the hand of the serial killer. But that is only scene! After all, Jackson managed to explore the various themes amazingly well. The story of teen romance, a gripping tale of the psychopath, family falling apart and after-life fantasy are successfully compiled on the piece of plate, although these weren't strong.

    The exploration of the movie is undeniably mediocre but shows a bright bold attempt by Jackson to turn this into a touchable story. It is not an easy subject matters but you have one that really grips the heart and empathy while watching it. You felt incredibly hard to put away those hatred and sympathy towards the characters which has anchored the movie so well because of their performances and variety backgrounds. Stanley Tucci's portrayal as George Harvey, the serial killer across the street is indeed the most captivating. He is barely recognizable from his bald appearance, but the only complaint is that he has a weird psychopath record - my friend pointed out that why he wants to keep Susie's body after all!!

    The visual displays are nevertheless stunning. It employs what imagination and fantasy of after-life perfectly and it does not come to contradict the notion of believe and faith in it. I have to say the in-between world is enchanting, artistic and glamorous. This is not Jackson's fault after all. He did tried his best to make it like gripping after all. Why punished Jackson for something he did not did wrong for.

    THE RATING:
    Story - 3.5 stars
    Casts - 4.0 stars
    Cinematography - 4.0 stars
    Effects - 4.0 stars
    OVERALL - 3.5 stars
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.2
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