Director/ Producer: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
DVD and Blu-ray Release Date: April 20 2010
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
No of discs: DVD (1), Blu-ray (2)
Price: From £11.99
Running Time: 135 mins
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Imperioli
The Lovely Bones is testimony to Peter Jackson’s diverse interests as director and producer. Based upon Alice Sebold’s acclaimed novel, the story gives Jackson something to play with, as parts of it are set somewhere between earth and heaven, allowing for imaginative otherworldly scenes.
The narrator, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) reflects on how she was raped and murdered in 1973 by George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), a man in her suburban close-knit Norristown neighbourhood in Pennsylvanian. As Susie watches over events on earth, the effects of this tragedy on her family and friends are explored while she tries to grapple with her desire for vengeance and contact with the living over her need for closure.
Her father, Jack (Mark Wahlberg), refuses to let the police get on with their investigations, preferring to do his own detective work than sit around and mourn, while her mother, Abigail (Rachel Weisz), discovers her only coping mechanism is the temporary abandonment of her family. Left to his own preoccupations Jack calls in the unconventional Grandma Lynn (Susan Sarandon) to keep his family together.
Mark Wahlberg is convincing as the determined father who will do anything to find his daughter and her killer, Susan Sarandon looks fantastic as the Salmon family’s rock and Stanley Tucci creates a truly detestable villain in his ability to unexpectedly switch personality from smarmy neighbour to cold-blooded paedophile killer.
The film closely follows the book and 70s fashion but fails to truly develop the significance of the characters of Ruth and Ray – both interesting in their own right. Jackson also under-uses Rachel Weisz, making her character almost non-existent, totally omitting her affair with detective Len Fenerman (Michael Imperioli); perhaps alongside the almost complete avoidance of the brutality of the act of rape and murder, the decision aids Jackson’s family-friendly 12 certification.
Adapting The Lovely Bones to the big screen is no easy feat and Jackson certainly creates some beautiful imagery and successfully captivates viewers in this fluffy adaptation. Fans of the novel passing a critical eye will probably be disappointed while new-comers to the story may find more satisfaction.
Special Features: On Blu-ray a 15-segment production diary hosted by Jackson and screenwriter Philippa Boyens is included that follows the film’s shoot and post-production work on the stunning visual effects.