The afterlife is one of many things but I’m not even sure Peter Jackson had the slightest idea of what he could do with the concept at hand. Yes, it’s visually very nice but that’s only what adds more in part about what I absolutely despise about The Lovely Bones. Sure, it’s visually attractive but under that veil is what I find to be one of the most abhorrent messages to be attached onto film in such a manner for it simply made me feel unclean in the very end for even having watched it. To think, how does Peter Jackson go from The Lord of the Rings all the way down to something as utterly despicable as this?
I guess the first thing I can go on with about my hate for The Lovely Bones is that when Peter Jackson starts with one story thread, he doesn’t do anything in order to establish it perfectly well for he goes just all over the map and forgets all about a focused narrative. The Lovely Bones has absolutely no idea what it even intended or what it even wants to be, it just goes as many random directions as possible and loses every sense of itself. By that point, I simply didn’t even care any more what The Lovely Bones were even aiming for yet nothing was established to keep me invested enough with what I was even watching here, and attempting to invest or get a clear idea of the film’s message (which I’ll get down to at some point) is what soon made me despise this film all the more.
One thing I’ve noted is that the visual aspect is a certain thing that people praise about The Lovely Bones but more that I despise from it comes from how I feel it also goes ahead to work against the film because it also creates a confused message, but when decoded, it suddenly is horrible when you think about it. Some of the visuals (particularly those on Earth) look rather dull but then come the visuals from the afterlife and that’s what simply angered me to my very core.
The very message that the film creates is what leaves me disgusted because reasonable thought can already agree that what’s being said by The Lovely Bones is just something horrible to send off to viewers. The message that I picked out from The Lovely Bones is that if you’re a victim of rape or murder, you have so much to look out for because in limbo, you have a world that looks like the best thing that can ever happen to you for Peter Jackson wastes so much time in here creating a visual effects extravaganza at the expense of what Alice Sebold’s novel was trying to say. Too much time is spent in this limbo which was not presented as frequently in the novel and it’s made out as if when you are in here after getting murdered, you should be glad that said offense had been performed upon you for you’re living a lifestyle that even celebrity magazines can’t exaggerate this much.
Even with that said, I’m not so sure this film even has a clear idea of what the afterlife even is because in one moment it says Purgatory is such a bad thing yet it paints it with a visual effects extravaganza and makes it look like the cover for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and at another point it’s so gloomy. Why isn’t Peter Jackson explaining things at all? There’s another moment in which Mark Wahlberg is smashing bottled ships and suddenly it creates something up there in Purgatory, any reason for it? Most importantly, what even was the point if absolutely nothing was even being established?
Seeing just how much time Peter Jackson wastes creating Purgatory, the characters on Earth are never made believable in any sense. Susan Sarandon as a drunk grandmother creates what I’m supposed to take as comic relief and she doesn’t feel like a real character. Then again, you can say that about just every performance in here ranging from Saoirse Ronan’s lead to Stanley Tucci’s apparently Oscar-nominated performance. You’d see in one moment Ronan is dancing around happily in Purgatory and then suddenly in another she’s more gloomy than anything around her, but the lack of reasoning makes everyone feel so awkward.
I think the most insulting thing about this is that Peter Jackson executes The Lovely Bones almost in a manner it feels like a young adult novel adaptation because there are many threads that go to remind myself of young adult novel-turned-films. I’ve read the book a long while ago and seeing how the book gives rather graphic descriptions of the rape performed onto our leading character simply don’t call out for a PG-13. Surely, when I think of a film that’s going to be very successful in earning the attention of an extremely wide audience, obviously I’d imagine a film about child rape toned down to this degree is simply going to do the trick if it feels so much more expository and is turned into a gratuitous CGI-fest.
What I’d have expected from Peter Jackson was something much more than this seeing that I know what he’s capable of. The Lovely Bones is something that could have been great but suddenly it’s so toned down to the degree it sends a terrible message to its audiences and it becomes overdone with the most loathsome examples of sentiment that I’ve seen. Everything about The Lovely Bones only made me madder as it kept going on, for there’s simply no point to anything about it as Jackson has no clue what he’s dealing with. The Lovely Bones is simply far from lovely in every aspect, it’s rather easily one of the most hateful and disgusting films I have ever laid my eyes on.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Paramount/DreamWorks.
Directed by Peter Jackson
Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, from the novel by Alice Sebold
Produced by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Carolyn Cunningham
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon
Release Year: 2009
Running Time: 136 minutes