Knives are out for THE LOVELY BONES

The first big wave of Lovely Bones reviews are in and the verdict is hit and miss. Mostly miss actually.

After Harry Knowles' review of The Lovely Bones yesterday, the U.K. critics chipped in with their thoughts from the Leicester square premiere, followed by an onslaught of U.S. critics who didn't want to feel left out. I have taken samples from the reviews so far and I gotta say the knives are out for Peter Jackson on this one. Some you feel have been waiting to bring him down after his CGI heavy commercial hits Lord of the Rings and King Kong, some you get the impression never believed Alice Sebold's novel ever stood a chance as a movie, but well it's universal this "it is what it is" reaction, and it's worrying.
Peter Jackson's infatuation with fancy visual effects mortally wounds "The Lovely Bones"... 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.
says top critic Todd McCarthy at Variety, who goes on to claim that Jackson is scarcely the same man as he was when he made Heavenly Creatures in 1994, his time spent on recent blockbuster film-making has changed his thematic appetite.
This was never going to be an easy story to film. Using the same characters and many events, Jackson and his team tell a fundamentally different story. It's one that is not without its tension, humor and compelling details. But it's also a simpler, more button-pushing tale that misses the joy and heartbreak of the original.
The Hollywood Reporter gives it a so-so, but I'm feeling Kirk Honeycutt is cautiously sitting on the fence, not trying to swing either way. I could be wrong, The Lovely Bones could be one of those movies that gives you that awful reaction where you don't feel anything towards it, good or bad. Those kind of movies are usually the most troublesome to sit through.
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.
Screen Daily's Mike Goodridge goes on to say that Jackson blows it with "overblown visuals and ostentatious CGI" Briefly, Xan Brooks of The Guardian blames the source material's unfilm-like quality, Total Film seemed to like it more than anyone else, The Daily Mail bemoan the lack of subtly. The Sun - whose opinion is worthless except that it gets read by a lot of people say it's "the best film of next year" and Jackson's "most mature, self-assured and visually dazzling release". There's no mention of Heavenly Creatures in "The Sneak's" written piece, so presumably he hasn't seen that mature Jackson film. Anyway, he calls it better than The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I'm not trying to embarrass The Sneak (I mean with a name like that, he almost does it himself) in any way BUT, this is some of the lines from his review...
In one heartbreaking scene, Susie's father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) smashes the ships in bottles that he has pain-stakingly made. ...Getting him to act is not an easy task, so Jackson is clearly a great director.There is one tension-filled moment where you will want someone's hand to hold.
Jesus, Universal gave a seat to the London screening to a 14 year old student (sounds like one) and not to Obsessed With Film? The Lovely Bones Exclusive ClipTrailer Park | MySpace Video The Playlist have some clips from the movie...

The Lovely Bones begins a limited U.S. run from Dec. 11th, slowly expanding before going wide on Jan. 15th. In the U.K. we get it on the 29th of Jan.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.