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Peter Jackson
Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz
Writing Credits:
Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens Synopsis:
Stuck in limbo, a murdered teen must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

Box Office:
$65 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,005,133 on 2563 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 136 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 7/6/2010

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Lovely Bones [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 5, 2020)

Mainly known as the director of fantasy efforts like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and 2005’s King Kong, people forget that Peter Jackson’s first big splash in the world of cinema came via 1994’s Heavenly Creatures. A drama based on real events, it stands out when compared to the main Jackson filmography.

In 2009, Jackson broke from his mold again with The Lovely Bones - somewhat. While this effort comes with fantasy elements, it provides a much smaller scale tale than Jackson’s prior epics.

Based on Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel, Bones takes place in the Philadelphia suburbs circa 1973. 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) leads a perfectly typical, ordinary life.

Until oddball neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci) kills her, that is. This leaves Susie in an ethereal limbo where she can still observe her former world.

Susie finds herself with a dilemma. While she desires revenge against the psychopath who murdered her, she needs to balance this against her family’s need to heal.

Though Paramount acted as one of this site’s best supporters for our first decades, in 2009 they cut us off completely. They came back on board in early 2012, but we went about two years where we reviewed only a handful of Paramount releases.

Much of the time this disappointed me, as we didn’t get review copies of some big movies in that span. In the case of Bones, though, I felt some relief, as I didn’t really want to review that film.

Due to Jackson’s involvement and the movie’s generally high profile, I would’ve felt compelled to write up Bones back in 2010. However, I saw it theatrically and felt too dissatisfied with the film to want to deal with it again on Blu-ray after only a few months.

10 years later, I found myself curious to revisit Bones. I knew I didn’t care for the film when I viewed it theatrically, but enough time passed that I didn’t really remember why, and I thought I’d like to give it a fresh appraisal.

I had it right the first time. Disjointed and dull, the movie fails to capture the material in a satisfying manner.

Jackson does manage to evoke the feel of the 70s, but beyond that, he shows no touch for the story or characters. As I noted earlier, the Jackson of 2009 had devoted the prior 15 years of his life to fantasy tales.

From 1996’s Frighteners through the three Lord of the Rings films and Kong, Jackson pursued films that distanced themselves from the real world. Frighteners remained fairly small scale, but the others delivered massively expensive epics.

As noted, we get a fair amount of fantasy in Bones, but not nearly as much as in Frighteners, where ghosts and the supernatural provide most of the action. Bones aspires to deliver a human drama with a fantasy twist, and that’s where it fails.

In the 15 years between Heavenly Creatures and Bones, Jackson seemed to forget how to make a “small” movie. Bones practically begs to become an introspective character piece, but Jackson can’t resist the urge to turn it into an effects extravaganza.

This doesn’t work. Jackson seems so hung up on the various CG elements that he forgets to flesh out an interesting story.

It doesn’t help that Bones can’t decide where to focus. It flits around from Susie to her family to the murderer without much coherence, and the various parts fail to fit together in a smooth manner.

All the different characters and plot points seem disconnected to some degree, and they don’t meld. It feels like Jackson tries to cram too much into 136 minutes and doesn’t manage to make it work.

Jackson also finds no ability to bring out the movie’s more subtle moments. As noted, he leans heavily on gaudy visuals, and the film lacks an emotional core. We don’t invest in the characters or care much what happens to them.

Bones does boast a nice cast. In addition to Ronan and Tucci, we find Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Michael Imperioli.

Given Jackson’s focus on the effects, none get much room to breathe. They provide decent performances but no better since the film doesn’t allow them the space to operate.

Right after Bones, Jackson fell back into Tolkien, a move that makes sense. Whatever flaws the Hobbit trilogy presents, they offer material more in the director’s wheelhouse.

I’m glad Jackson attempted something different with Bones, but beyond an “A” for ambition, I find little to praise here. The movie shows that the director remains best-suited for more fantastic fare.

Footnote: because the film’s end credits start almost 15 minutes before it concludes, you might expect some kind of added scene in there. Nope – the movie just comes with ridiculously long credits!

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus F

The Lovely Bones appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, this became a good image.

Sharpness usually worked fine, though some mild instances of softness emerged. A few of these felt intentional to reflect the movie’s airy, dreamy elements, but I still thought I saw a little less definition than I’d expect.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects emerged, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Colors went with an orange/amber orientation much of the time, with some teal tossed in as well. The tones felt positive, if a little heavy at times.

Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows showed nice delineation. Though not great, this was a satisfying presentation.

Similar thoughts greeted the atmospheric DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Bones, as it worked fine for the material. This meant a fairly subdued soundscape much of the time.

The mix gained involvement occasionally, mainly during fantasy or violent scenes. Most of the track focused on atmosphere and environmental information, though, and it suited the story.

Audio quality satisfied, with speech that appeared natural and concise. Music felt lush and warm, with nice clarity.

Effects showed appealing qualities, as those elements appeared accurate and full. Nothing here dazzled, but the mix seemed appropriate for the story.

This one-disc version of Bones includes no extras. However, a two-disc edition provides a slew of bonus materials.

A smaller-scale effort that his usual fantasy epics, Peter Jackson tried something different with The Lovely Bones. Apparently too accustomed to the grand worlds of hobbits and giant apes, Jackson shows no touch for a more human drama and turns this one into a dull misfire. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture and audio but this single-disc version lacks bonus materials. I respect Jackson’s desire to do something different, but Bones flops.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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