Cinematical’s Todd Gilchrist interviews Peter Jackson about adapting THE LOVELY BONES to the big screen. Jackson relates that the thinks Alice Sebold’s novel tells the story in its purest form, and no film adaptation will ever compete with that, so the film had to be something different:
The Lovely Bones is a wonderful puzzle, it’s a terrific book that affects you emotionally, but the book doesn’t have a structure that immediately makes a film obvious in your mind. The book affects you on an emotional level, not a story level as such, and you delve into it and as a filmmaker you figure out a way in which you can tell the story on film as I said at the very beginning, not necessarily the perfect way, and not the way that other people would do it. You take 20 different filmmakers and give them a book like this – any book, really, but especially Lovely Bones – and you’ll have 20 completely different films, which is interesting. So the idea of certainly doing something that was a challenging new topic was absolutely of great interest to us.
Early reviews indicate that many critics feel Jackson and his collaborators on the screenplay were unsuccessful in capturing the heart and soul of the book, offering empty special effects spectacle instead. Over at the New Zealand Herald, Alistair Gray offers up a sampling of reactions, including this from Associated Press reviewer David Germain:
“The spectacle Jackson creates is showmanship, not storytelling, distracting from the mortal drama of regret and heartache he’s trying to tell.”