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Paramount Unveils The Lovely Bones

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 24, 2009 at 10:31AM

First, AICN's Harry Knowles ran his review of The Lovely Bones. And now that the Royal Premiere has taken place in London, there's no holding back the floodgates.
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Thompson on Hollywood

First, AICN's Harry Knowles ran his review of The Lovely Bones. And now that the Royal Premiere has taken place in London, there's no holding back the floodgates.

UPDATE: Here's a preview from Time's Richard Corliss. And Todd McCarthy weighs in--with a pan:

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 Guardian is outright negative, while Screen is more mixed:

Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited film version of Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel is sometimes exquisitely realised, sometimes frustratingly uneven. Sebold’s time-spanning story – taking place half on earth, half in heaven, narrated in the first person by a deal girl – was never an easy prospect for adaptation, and Jackson can’t quite capture a fluid structural rhythm for the piece, even while individual sequences and creative decisions are spot-on.

Believe me, I'd run my reaction if I'd seen the film (I don't until later this week). I've been reading the book, so on the one hand, I appreciate how much rich material there is to work with, as a high-schooler (played by Saoirse Ronan) moves fluidly in time through the past and present, heaven and earth, as she observes the aftermath of her murder. On the other hand, that also increases the degree of difficulty. A lot.

This article is related to: Directors, Reviews, Peter Jackson


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