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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The Lovely Bones Video Review

18 Responses to “The Lovely Bones Video Review”

  1. IOIOIOI says:

    I would watch this, but the image alone is so funny. I do not want to taint the hilarity of that fucking screencap. Good lord, that’s awesome.

  2. LYT says:

    That is awesome. The Fantastic Mr. Poland.

  3. Tofu says:

    DISTRACTING, you say, Mr. Poland?
    Thanks for the What Dreams May Come shoutout, it was screaming to be compared.

  4. leahnz says:

    glad to hear you ‘got’ it, DP, and that others are starting to as well – it’s a stunner (your ‘loveliest’ video review set up to date, btw)

  5. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Is it just me, or is there something deliciously ironic about proclaiming “a book is a book, a movie is a movie”… and then using good chunks of the review to pointedly refer to other reviews rather than the movie at hand?

  6. That is one… snappy ensemble. I can’t watch the video because i’ve nearly reached my download cap. Oh well.

  7. jennab says:

    Good review, Dave! You look downright angelic. Excited to see this movie, trailer looks amazing. One question: I wonder if PJ didn’t have Weta, would he still have animated “heaven” to such a degree…? It sounds like the conceit worked for you, but is somewhat distracting to others.

  8. lazarus says:

    Can someone remove that tree background and replace it with the view from the deck of a cruise ship?

  9. Lynch Van Sant says:

    So what if it uses CGI, he did the same with Heavenly Creatures – those CGI butterflies and such. The drama was still heartbreaking in that. Dreams are not the real world and neither is the afterlife so if CGI effects are used to cement that we’re not in Kansas anymore, I don’t care. Is the only good CGI something that’s unnoticeable like in Zodiac? I think not. …And I liked What Dreams May Come.

  10. jennab says:

    No, nothing inherently wrong with CGI. Sounds like some folks either found this particular use of CGI overwhelming for this particular film, or tonally out of sync with the rest of the story. And, if PJ did not have a huge staff @ WETA to support he may not have used VFX to such a degree…I haven’t seen the film, this is just my interpretation of the complaints I have heard.
    And, BTW, people are completely entitled to their opinions. Doesn’t mean they didn’t “get it,” just means they didn’t like it.

  11. leahnz says:

    some people will ‘get’ susie’s fantastical 14-yr-old-girl vision of purgatory, some people won’t, and i suspect whether or not the movie works for each individual will depend a great deal on if you can roll with susie’s rather astounding, surreal version of the afterlife
    (and the size of digital’s vis effects team – many of whom were soaked up by ‘avatar’ anyway – for ‘bones’ is immaterial to the visual interpretation of the afterlife, a collaborative design process based solely on ‘what would this 14-yr-old girl encounter on her journey through purgatory?’ and not ‘we have enough people so let’s render THIS vision’, that’s not how it works. many of the fantastical effects shots are composits with natural enzed – and a bit of pennsylvanian – geography)
    just on the subject of sebold’s story, the description of susie’s ‘heaven’ in the book is one of the weakest elements, quite vague and even mundane, which does not lend itself well to the visual possibilities of film. the door was wide open for a bold, beautiful interpretation of susie’s purgatory

  12. movieman says:

    My major problem with the film isn’t an excess of CGI (although Jackson does get a tad carried away with his digital magic from time to time). The primary beef I have with Jackson’s “Lovely Bones” is how the screenplay compresses/condenses the book to fit its 125-minute (before end credits) run time. Nuance and telling character details are irretrievably lost, and the emotional impact–a huge factor in the book becoming the worldwide phenomenon that it was–is diluted/muted/squandered in the process.
    My guess is that it’ll play much better for anyone who hasn’t read Sebold’s novel. Fans of the book (like me–and Leah perhaps?) will regret that it didn’t receive the HBO miniseries treatment which might have done full justice to the scope of the story and the power of the drama.
    Ironically, Ronan won an Oscar nomination for her role in an equally abridged version of a terrific novel (“Atonement”) two years ago. But in that case, the adaptation was a lot more skillfully done. Resultingly, even lovers of the book (including myself) didn’t feel shortchanged by the stuff that was “missing.”
    Wahlberg simply doesn’t work (we don’t see any evolution to Jack throughout the course of the film), poor Weisz seems to have had her best stuff left on the editing room floor and Sarandon needlessly overplays her granny role (the “Long, Cool Woman” montage is the worst thing in the film). Ronan is OK, but
    Tucci–whose casting I had serious issues with before seeing the movie–actually fares best of all.
    My sincerest hope is that several decades hence somebody (ideally HBO) gives “LB” the miniseries treatment it demands/deserves–sort of like the “novel-for-television” “The Shining” became many years after the release of Kubrick’s movie. (Of course, I had no complaints with the Kubrick version and didn’t bother watching the network mini.)

  13. leahnz says:

    no, not me, movieman, i adore ‘bones’ the movie! tho i can’t be totally objective i think the film is an amazing, ambitious work — wondrous and sinister and imaginative and touching, evocative of time and place, love and loss, the power of family and moving on — true to the spirit of the book but entirely its own thing (it’s not sebold’s ‘lovely bones’ and it was never meant to be; the book isn’t one to easily lend itself to a visual adaptation in the first place and i wouldn’t be at all surprised if hard-core fans of the novel find fault with it, that is the nature of the adaptation beast. people who love certain books already have a reeaaally long movie of it in their heads, and anyone else’s condensed movie is hard-pressed to get it right and likely to come up short — and fair enough, i’ve been there too many times to count. ‘bones’ the film will be a hard sell to some fans of ‘bones’ the book, who are expecting certain things)
    for me the biggest loss in the film adaptation is abigail’s story, which is quite powerful and complex in the book. it brings to mind the similarly excised character arc of ellen brody in the adaptation of ‘jaws’, how benchly & co sacrificed ellen’s prominence and complexity by getting rid of the steamy affair she had with the younger hooper; but having said that i can see why abigail’s affair was excised for the film for reasons of time, obviously, but also tone and focus, much the same as ellen brody.
    (personally i like sebold’s novel a great deal but i’m not a breathless fan of it like so many. i think ‘bones’ the movie works beautifully on its own merits)

  14. movieman says:

    That’s interesting, Leah.
    I may have to give the film a second look if a screener arrives.
    But as a passionate admirer of the book, I couldn’t help but be distracted/annoyed by what was missing. And I never truly felt that Jackson had captured the primary theme of the book (“the power of family and moving on” as you so succinctly put it). If he had, I think it might have been a little clearer just how much time had elapsed between key events (e.g., Abigail returning from California; the cosmic punishment-death of the Tucci character; etc.) For me, the most moving scene in the film–and I would’ve liked to seen a lot more like it since that’s the type of stuff I most responded to in the novel–was where Susie
    witnesses Lindsey experiencing the thrill of her first kiss with a mixture of happiness (for Lindsey) and sorrow (for herself because the same thing will forever be denied her).
    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on “LB,” Leah.
    Loved your thoughts on the film, however!

  15. leahnz says:

    hey, i feel your pain, movieman; when you feel that rare passion and emotional connection to a book it’s a powerful thing, and when an adaptation doesn’t capture and evoke that certain feeling for you, it can be so deflating.
    perhaps one of the worst movie-going experiences of my life was seeing lynch’s ‘dune’ in whatever year that was, i was a teen and herbert’s novel was one of those seminal literary experiences of my youth and all that, and i was SO EXCITED for a film version; i’d seen ‘eraserhead’ and ‘the elephant man’ and found them hugely fascinating and intriguing and interesting (and in the case of ‘elephant man’, heartbreaking), so i was eager to see how lynch would envision the world of dune and its inhabitants, how the story would play out.
    coming out of the cinema after seeing it, i felt as if i’d been sucker-punched, literally, i felt a bit sick. the utter shock and disbelief at how lynch could have gotten it so fucking wrong was unbearable to my young psyche! of course i was naive and teenagers are terribly melodramatic at the best of times, thus the near-nausea and overwrought head-hanging devastation, but i can clearly remember that feeling of shock to this day
    (naturally i’ve long gotten over it and now look upon the film more as a curiosity, a messy lynch sci-fi experiment gone awry but possessed of some genuinely bizarre, interesting elements; however that can never negate what was my first real taste of personal disappointment in a book-to-screen adaptation. to some degree i think that experience actually taught me to try to separate my own expectations of what film adaptations should look like and steel myself for completely different interpretations in the future, so perhaps something positive came out of it after all)

  16. leahnz says:

    goodness, having to sign in to typepad fewer than 5 times just to post a few paragraphs on this blog would be a welcome relief!

  17. movieman says:

    “Deflated” is another word to describe how I felt leaving the screening Tuesday afternoon, Leah.
    And you’re so right to have missed the Abigail arc from the book: it was so wonderfully moving, and we both know that Weisz could have brilliantly nailed it. (I’d completely forgotten about the adultery subplot in Benchley’s “Jaws.” In that case, I can definitely understand why Spielberg dropped it, though.)
    Curiously, I remember digging Lynch’s “Dune” when it came out.
    Of course, I’d never read Herbert’s massive tone so I had nothing to compare it with. For me, it was just another trippy Lynchian
    mindfuck, and I (tremendously) enjoyed it on those terms.
    Maybe Jackson fans unfamiliar with “Bones the Novel” will have the same reaction to his “LB” adaptation….
    P.S.= I just read that the Coens’ “True Grit” won’t be ready until 2011. Boo-hiss!!!!!!!!!!

  18. leahnz says:

    i have a feeling lots of people will dig the movie (‘lovely bones’ that is), it’s a bit of a genre-bender and will likely connect with men and women alike on some level.
    just in general i think it’s a mistake to adapt a book for the screen too closely and literally, cramming in too many subplots and details doesn’t often work on film, only serving to dilute and muddy the visual waters. there’s something to be said for the old adaptation adage of “read the book, do nothing for a month and then write the screenplay based on your memory of book only, the scenes, themes, characters, settings, plot, etc. that stand out in your mind as important without going back to the source material” (paraphrasing of course, i can’t remember the proper wording of the old adage); this way the screenwriter preserves the essence of the source material by taking the most compelling (according to them, anyway) aspects and reassembling them into a visual tale, which by nature of the medium needs to told faster and cleaner (of course what the screenwriter feels are the most compelling aspects of a book are not necessarily the same as what the fans of the book find indispensable, and therein lies the rub and why one seldom hears, “you know, that movie was as good as/even better than the book!”)

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