Lovely Bones, The (Blu-ray / DVD)



The Lovely Bones on Blu-ray and DVDReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Mark Walhberg, Rachel Weisz, Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci

Directed by Peter Jackson

Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment


Let me start off by saying that I have never read the best selling novel by Alice Sebold that this film is based upon so have nothing to compare this film version of The Lovely Bones to. As a result I'll be reviewing this film only on its own merits. That being said ... wow! What an incredible movie! Not perfect, mind you, but still pretty damned good.

The Lovely Bones is the story of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon (Ronan), an everyday girl with a loving family who by all rights should have lived a very long and happy life. Unfortunately one of her neighbors, George Harvey (Tucci, who turns in a remarkably evil performance), has other plans. In Susie's world George is the monster under the bed or in the closet. A person who kills females of any age with no remorse just for his own evil and sick satisfaction.

One day while following her home from school, George coaxes Susie into his underground lair by promising her that she'll be the first one to try out his new and special place for the local kids to hang out. Of course once she's there, things go horribly awry, and our little protagonist vanishes from the lives of everyone who loves her.

From there Susie finds herself in another world, a purgatory of sorts, where she befriends the equally as lost soul Holly (Nikki SooHoo), who tries to convince her that they both need to let go and move on. But Susie has other plans for the moment. Plans that involve putting a stop to the deadly menace lurking about her home who's been casting more than just your average evil eye on her sister.

The Lovely Bones on Blu-ray and DVDThe Lovely Bones does a number of things right. The acting for the most part is as solid as it comes, the special effects are stunning, and the sound design, sets, and music are spot on for a film supposed to be taking place in the Seventies. It's quite an illusion. Of special mention is Stanley Tucci's portrayal of Harvey, which is one of the most brilliantly frightening performances of the year. Every second he's on screen it's as if all the air has been sucked out of the room you're in. The words creepy and unnerving don't even begin to convey the true sense of dread one feels while he's around. And Sarandon as Susie's grandma is a hoot, providing some much needed comic relief.

So what holds this flick back from being perfect, you ask? Two things: pacing issues and the really wooden performance of Nikki SooHoo as Susie's spirit guide. Though she gets more right than she does wrong, SooHoo completely snaps you out of the film on several occasions due to her delivery of some pretty stilted dialogue. And here we thought Walhberg was going to be the problem. (Sorry, Mark, we still haven't forgiven you for The Planet of the Apes!) There are scenes in the movie that go on for too long, and that makes The Lovely Bones feel much longer than it is. Thankfully these nagging trouble spots are on the infrequent side of the fence. Peter, we love you as a director, but not everything has to be so epic. We don't need to learn every nuance of a character or see every detail in a scene. If this flick was about ten minutes shorter, it'd be pretty damned close to perfect.

If you're wondering which package to get, DVD or Blu-ray, the answer is pretty simple -- if you have the tech, Blu-ray is easily the way to go. In terms of picture quality I've yet to see anything else on Blu-ray as good as this. Paramount's 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer is vibrant, sharp, and leaps off of the screen, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack does nothing but complement this meaty sensory feast. Incredible stuff.

The Lovely Bones on Blu-ray and DVDNow for the truly bad part for DVD owners. In terms of special features you get nothing. Not a single solitary thing. I know. It sucks, especially because the Blu-ray is home to an entire extra disc's worth of extras. Speaking of which ...

Things kick off on the disc with a quick introduction by Jackson, and from there we're treated to the nearly three-hour long feature Filming The Lovely Bones. Thankfully this mammoth sized extra is broken down into three parts -- "USA Principal Photography", which clocks in at around an hour and a half; "New Zealand Principal Photography", which runs about an hour; and wrapping things up is a segment on the "Visual Effects Photography" that comes in at nearly half an hour. Jackson guides you through the lion's share of the goodies here via voice-over narration, and thank god for that because honestly? The amount of stuff covered here on Disc 2 is overwhelming. If I attempted to walk you through all the goodies present and accounted for, I'd be sitting here for the better part of the day. This is far and away the most extensive look at the filmmaking process of a single feature I've ever seen. So much so in fact that anything else, even a commentary track, would come off as overkill. You will be floored, and if you're a fan, this will be your rendition of what Heaven looks like.

Simply put, The Lovely Bones is nothing short of one of the absolute must-buy Blu-ray packages of the year. It's both a technical achievement and one hell of a good time. Take the ride. Be intoxicated by its visual goodness and encyclopedic coverage. Do not miss this one.

Special Features (available on Blu-ray only)

  • Introduction by Peter Jackson
  • Filming The Lovely Bones three-hour feature
    • USA Principal Photography
    • New Zealand Principal Photography
    • Visual Effects Photography

    Film

    4 out of 5

    Special Features

    5 out of 5

    Discuss The Lovely Bones in our forums!




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    Floydian Trip's picture

    Totally agree with everything WIB says as usual even when I refuse to admit I'm wrong.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 9:54pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Okay, so if you agree with everything she's said, why do YOU think the ending is poetic?
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 9:59pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    She took the words right out of my mouth. It's as poetic as when EA releases the next Medal of Honor and it's going to destroy Actvisions newest Call of Duty.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 10:31pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Wow, there's a cop out if I've ever seen one. People REALLY gotta bring their game or stop playing altogether.
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 11:00pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    I knew you were going to say that and already prepared a statement.

    WIB put it as simply, plainly and eloquently as anyone could have. She even gave you the definition of poetic justice which really should have been enough. I could understand if you still disagreed but you're not even comprehending or trying to look at it from her perspective which OK I am guilty of at times but come on you're being stubborn. Sometimes it seems like you fast forward through movies and don't ever bother reading anything before you comment.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:57am.
    Terminal's picture

    So what? That doesn't mean the icicle was some form of payback. Reaching a little bit, I have to say. And again: WHY is that poetic? Just curious.

    Hey I'm just trying to have a friendly dance with you, you keep slipping on the floor.
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 9:05pm.
    Vanvance1's picture

    Dare I watch another Peter Jackson movie? King Kong was 17 or so hours out of my life... wasn't that the running time?

    Jackson suffers from Kingitis, it's a disease that strikes horror writers and directors who achieve mainstream success. Suddenly everything is 50% longer than it should be.


    Submitted by Vanvance1 on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:56pm.
    Terminal's picture

    "King Kong" was mediocre at best with the various mind numbing moments ruining the experience. Why he thought the homo erotic sub-plot between the captain and his first mate would be interesting is beyond me. And man was it long as piss. And I watched "Giant" without difficulty!

    I'll take the original any day of the week.
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:10pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    King Kong is amazing. Especially the extended cut. It's my favorite version by far. PJ had even gotten Fay Wray do agree to do a cameo but she passed away before he could film her. He was all choked up about it. That's love of the original. Actually if you watch the original and PJ's version back to back you'd probably be amazed at how much of it he put in there. As epic a monster movie as there probably ever will be. Unless he decides to do another one. Maybe Godzilla next time.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:03pm.
    Vermithrax's picture

    Saw it last night and I'm still on the fence weither I like it or not. I will have to view it a second time.

    ***SPOILER ALERT*** Read comment at own Risk

    One thing that bugged the crap out of my is the ZERO payback at the end. You have the girls whole family obsessing over finding her killer and bringing him justice and then when the truth comes to the table everyones kind of stops giving a shit (including the cops) and without a care in the world he skips town. That pissed me off.


    Submitted by Vermithrax on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:15pm.
    Terminal's picture

    ***SPOILER ALERT*** Read comment at own Risk

    Yeah that was so stupid! It was like the obligatory happy ending in "Radio Flyer."

    Oh people might be mad he got away, so let's have an icicle kill him! Yeah that's believable. What a fucking stupid way to kill this character off and end the movie. Crap ass movie. I would throw it away but it came with "Up in the Air," so it's there... festering on my shelf.

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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:12pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    Shark Alarm! Shark Alarm!

    First, You think living the rest of your life as a fugitive is something to look forward to? Second, he fucking died horribly. How was there no payback?


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:06pm.
    Vermithrax's picture

    Having the character just randomly die years later, by his own fault isn't a payback in my eyes.


    Submitted by Vermithrax on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:17pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    I don't know much about what it takes for a fugitive from justice to survive but he had to leave everything and run. His life was built on routine and privacy which he would never have again. Maybe it would have been easier to survive in the 70's like that but his life was shattered. Besides it's all moot 'cause he died like that night a horrible death. Looked pretty painful to me and who knows maybe he wasn't dead on impact but wound up lying there and starved to death or something.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:36pm.
    FireRam's picture

    I never really had any determination to make sure I saw this. Now, I have even less. I believe this just got downgraded to a "if I happen to catch it on cable and no I don't mean pay to order it movie" movie.


    Submitted by FireRam on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 8:42pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Oh man this movie was god awful. Tonally uneven, poorly acted, horrifically written, terribly edited, really bad CGI, brain dead symbolism, irritating cliches, an obnoxious climax, ends the fate of our villain in such an insulting to our intelligence manner, and completely avoids any and all impact on the viewers to keep its PG-13 rating in tact.

    "Yeah you were brutally raped, badly murdered, stuffed in a safe, dumped down a ditch, your murderer got away, but you can't be mad or you won't get in to heaven like the rest of us!"

    Ugh.

    It's hard to believe this is from a man who once made a movie about cursing and fucking puppets. What happened to you Peter Jackson, seriously?
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 8:35pm.
    moderator I couldn't disagree more. I
    Debi Moore's picture

    I couldn't disagree more. I wasn't insulted at all by the ending and Harvey's fate but thought it was beautifully poetic. I loved the idea of letting go of the pain and moving on. But then again, you've said many times how much you like revenge flicks whereas they're way down on my list so it figures we'd have vastly different opinions of a movie like this.

    But mostly, since you said the acting was poor, did you really think Tucci was no good? Having just seen Julie & Julia the day before watching this, I was amazed by the transformation and could hardly believe it was really him.


    Submitted by Debi Moore on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 8:55pm.
    Terminal's picture

    **SPOILER ALERT*** Read comment at own risk.

    So you thought that a man who managed to evade police for years who is conveniently hit by an icicle that conveniently knocks him back off of a convenient ledge to fall to his death never to be found again is poetic? Seriously? I see it as a quasi-happy ending to appease the viewer and keep their bubble in tact. I saw rushed and hackneyed not poetic.

    I mean there's nothing poetic about this movie. She's angry about her death, everyone is angry about her death, a ghost comes to show her the anguish, then tells her she has to let go or she can't go to heaven, and then out of the blue they show us that these girls were his victims who were never found again and somehow we're supposed to let that go?

    Tonally uneven and contradictory down to the last second.

    And come on, her killer is a few feet away about to get away, she has one last chance to come to Earth and she uses that time to snog a boy she liked instead of pointing him out?! Come on.

    Tucci was okay, honestly. But he suffered from the crap movie that took place here.
    ----------
    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:02pm.

    I haven't seen this death myself, but going by your description, that doesn't sound too far-fetched at all. Just watch 1,000 Ways to Die on Spike. That show will convince any skeptic that fate exists. Fate is a crazy motherfucker.


    Submitted by LSD Zombie on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:54am.
    Terminal's picture

    And judging by "The Lovely Bones" fate is a stupid mentally disabled motherfucker used as a cheap ass plot device from creatively impotent writers.
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 1:03am.
    FireRam's picture

    Well, I guess now I DON'T need to see it at all. LOL, thanks!


    Submitted by FireRam on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:12pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Well you still can, but be prepared for the most frustrating and hilarious two hours of your life, my friend.
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    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:17pm.
    FireRam's picture

    Hmmmmmm. I didn't see that spoiler alert thingy up there a few minutes ago when I READ YOUR WHOLE COMMENT. LOL, hahahahahahahaha.


    Submitted by FireRam on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:39pm.
    moderator That's because I edited his
    Steve Barton's picture

    That's because I edited his comment once I realized it essentially gave away the ending of the flick.


    Submitted by Steve Barton on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:45pm.
    FireRam's picture

    The ending? I thought I accidentally read the "cliff notes" on the whole movie. Hahahaha, no biggie. I could have stopped reading.


    Submitted by FireRam on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:50pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    I really liked this movie. Terminal is a cyborg and has no capacity for human emotions. He's no Nexus 6.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 9:54pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Maybe but I have good taste, so there's that. "The Lovely Bones" = Best comedy of 2009.
    ----------
    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:00pm.
    Floydian Trip's picture

    The idea that you have good taste is subjective. You go on and on about young actresses who can't act for shit. You're too shallow to understand emotional movies.


    Submitted by Floydian Trip on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:09pm.
    Terminal's picture

    The idea I have good taste is proven fact when you're defending the Lovely Bones and King Kong.

    "You're too shallow to understand emotional movies."

    Dude, you are so melodramatic it's not even funny. It looks like that came out of a soap opera. What do you expect me to run off crying or slap you in the face? HAHA!
    ----------
    "We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life."


    Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:19pm.
    FireRam's picture

    YES! Everything is indeed back to normal. And to think you guys almost hugged it out earlier. Whew! I like what I see. Oh, sorry, don't let me interrupt.....as you were
    (Big smile)


    Submitted by FireRam on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 10:26pm.

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