The Lovely Bones; A Comparison of Sorts

January 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last night, it was pajama night at the Edwards Marq-e.  The four of us–roommates, friends, roommate’s sister–wore our plaid flannel and house shoes, bundled it up, and went to the movies.

We debated for minutes beforehand on whether to see Leap Year, the chick flick with Amy Adams, or The Lovely Bones.  As I had recently re-read for the third time the book and my roommate is currently reading it (and as the title of this blog implies) we settled for a little more “culture” than the average Amy Adams predictable girl-gets-her-man-movie. 

I love books, and I love movies.  But what I love the most about books based on movies is how they don’t usually match up.  Its like the producers/screenwriters take the major theme out of the book and form the movie around that, and if the plot or dialogue match up, then great.  And since this book is a lot of internal reflections from a dead girl, I didn’t figure the movie would match up the book except at the major plot structure.

Sure enough, I was write.  However, I found myself rather disappointed with film.  It seemed as if the director was too caught up in making the cinematography as artistic and unique as possible than worrying about connecting the major characters to the storyline.  There were a lot of closeups with fingernails, adam’s apples, eyebrows, that made it feel as if you were watching a home movie, so props to the camera guys for making a simple body part look kinda cool, but when the guy fell down the cliff and died it was purely CGI and you could totally tell.  And I felt as if they were spending too much time in “heaven” with Susie Salmon instead of showing the rest of the family.  It is true that throughout the book, and somewhat the movie, the narrator develops from dying and trying her best to stay with her family on earth to the same fourteen year old that matures to “crossing-over” into the actual heaven.  But the book concerns itself a lot with the developing characters of Susie’s family.  In the movie, the mother’s motivations were never clearly explained, Lindsey (the daughter/sister) seemed to stay the same age as if time never passed, and Buckley (the son/brother) altogether disappeared:  the little boy was there around the age of five and never reappeared back onto the screen.  It was slow moving, as well, with the major movement happening almost directly at the end, and when the mother appears back on screen and Lindsey is seen pregnant, nothing is ever described as to what exactly just happened.  I’m not sure that if you never read the book and only saw the movie if you could follow what was going on.

So when Susie Salmon (both in the book and the movie) recites the pivotal monologue, “These are the lovely bones that have grown around my absence…” it holds no substance.  The way the movie has just played out, I’m so confused as to what exactly are the lovely bones.

Music.  It’s one of the most important parts of the film industry.  Music, more than dialogue, facial expressions, body movements, tell us as the audience how to feel, how to react to what is happening on screen.  And this, like most beautifully filmed movies, seemed to have a great score.  So when I got home and looked it up, hoping to find free sheet music so I could learn to play it on the piano myself, I was sorely disappointed to learn that movie did not have a score at all.  (Although, if I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.)  I did find the music that so captivated me from the moment I heard it, and it was in fact previously written by composer Brian Eno and can be found on one of his Ambient Music albums.  If he did, in fact, write original music for the movie, it does not show up enough throughout.

It was a good night, though.  Lots of laugh, plenty of plaid pajamas, faux-fur lined house slippers, and great friends.  But perhaps the predictability of the chick flick would have been more successful.  At least with a standard movie such as that, you’re certainly not counting on anything great.

*As you may know, I am certainly not technologically savvy.  So there are no links attached to find anything listed, such as Brian Eno, The Lovely Bones trailer, etc.  But one day, I’ll learn how to do that.

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