Sometimes an Oscar-winning director like Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings
, King Kong
) decides to get in touch with his feminine side even though no one asked him to. Based on the popular novel by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
is told from the perspective of a murdered 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) who tries to help her father (Mark Wahlberg) catch her killer and protect her family as she languishes in a beautifully surreal CGI-generated world between worlds. Ronan’s breathy, disembodied narration lends an Enya-like quality to what is surely the softest, most inexplicably flowery exploration of a horrible crime in cinematic history. Still, Susie controls the giant dangling icicle of revenge from the afterlife, so her killer best, er, seek out a tropical hiding place—or wear a construction hat.
Judging from its meager box office take, moviegoers weren’t ready for a fluffy, ethereal exploration of child murder, but Jackson is hoping The Lovely Bones finds its audience on April 20 when Paramount releases the film on DVD and Blu-ray. If you want to figure out what was going on in a great director’s head when he made this curious chick flick, the BD contains an extensive 15-segment production diary hosted by Jackson and screenwriter Philippa Boyens that follows the film’s shoot and post-production work on the stunning visual effects. Unfortunately for standard-def users, the DVD of Lovely Bones is a barebones affair.