"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Sorry, Alice

[No plot spoilers]

Alice Sebold wrote an amazing book called "The Lovely Bones." Peter Jackson directed an utter crapfest also called, "The Lovely Bones." When authors sell the film rights of their books to movie producers, the authors give up ALL their rights to the film. And sometimes it's not a problem. And sometimes it is. Sapphire, who wrote "Push," had been approached several times about having her book turned into a movie. And she refused them ALL until a guy said, look, Oprah and Tyler Perry will exec produce and honor what you wrote.

I feel so badly for Alice Sebold. Even though it was PETER JACKSON who directed and produced her film, I'm sure she must've thought, "well, he gave us Middle Earth! He can do wonders for my book!"

I LOVED the book. It was so beautifully written, in a type of narrative that had never been done before.

In the book, the 14 year old girl is raped before she is murdered by her neighbor. In the film, the protagonist screams, "He took my Life!!" Honey, that's not all he did. And I think it does a terrible disservice to keep that from the film. It makes us sympathize to her and her family more, to hate the murderer more.

And oh my god, the lead actress herself. I've seen Saoirse Ronan in Atonement. She was great. But she was directed so poorly in this.

In the book, we get a complete and complex idea of who this girl is. We relate to her on so many important levels. In the film, it was like director Peter Jackson probably said, "Hey Saoirse, Susie is a REALLY happy and likable girl before she dies, so smile and laugh at EVERYTHING. I can't show how you're a fun typical teenager who jokes with her parents and friends, and has discovered the joys of sarcasm, so just smile and laugh at every stupid little thing. Yes. Like you're always happy. In fact, act like a dumb happy clown who just might be slightly retarded. Wait, yes! act like a dumb happy retarded clown. "

She is a freshman in high school and has a crush on a senior there. And the senior apparently likes her back. Are we supposed to be happy about that? Because we called the 18 year old men in our high school who liked 14 year old flat chested girls PERVERTS. So Creepy. And it only gets worse between the two of them.

Alice Sebold is crying in the corner of her bedroom, rocking herself slowly. Please help her. She needs you to buy her book, to check it out from the library, to understand that she really had nothing to do with that terrible film. Nothing at all.

The limbo CGI sequences were so long. It takes a character almost seven minutes to move a heavy object into a sinkhole. When Mark Wahlberg is looking at a flower from a bush, you can ACTUALLY SEE THE PLASTIC of the fake flower attached to the fake leaf. CLEARLY. When the flowers wilt, the fake blooming flowers were spray painted brown. It's like Peter said, "Hey Art Department - you know that budget I promised you? Well, I actually had to take almost all of it away to make some dreamy sequences in CGI and buy a few more fog machines."

And watching a girl run again and again (this time quickly! this time in slow motion!) gets REALLY boring.

I was not the only one severely disappointed in this movie. I was among several in a group and we all agreed it was a waste of huge talent.

PLEASE. Read the book. Read the book! The movie in your head will be a million times more riveting, more suspenseful, more heartfelt, sadder, and happier than this film.
And the book doesn't have the plot holes this film does.

Read it. It's fantastic. Help Alice Sebold.


  1. Oh no this breaks my heart! One of my favorite books too - and I was so excited about the movie. I won't see it though; don't want to taint it in my memory. Thanks for taking the hit on that one.

  2. I was really sad to hear how monstrously this film adaptation treated this story. The book is one of the best works of fiction I've read and I really hope that people don't go see this film and decide that Alice Sebold is a terrible storyteller. :(

  3. Well, this about sums up how I felt about The Time Traveler's Wife. Here's the thing, though:

    Books HAVE to be adapted into movies in a different way. They're a completely different medium. And given that Peter Jackson did LOTR so well and so much justice, I have a feeling it wasn't entirely his fault.

    Just sayin'.

  4. Hey Phoenix - I agree with you - to an extent. What I'm so upset over is how the 1) the movie could have been fantastic with who was helming it, but wasn't, what with poor direction and storyline editing, and 2) the movie itself, even judged alone on story, characters, and quality, was subpar. Just because you put CGI frosting on a shit cupcake doesn't make it taste any better.

    How much more interesting do you think it would've been had a female adapted and directed it? A woman is much more vulnerable when it comes to sex - we are letting in a foreign object into our body. Men will never understand that. And I don't think a woman would have left out that the lead was raped.

    I feel like Peter Jackson said, okay, this book has a huge following, was a best seller in 2002, so there's already an audience. People will see it regardless of how good a film I craft. He disappointed me. Peter Jackson disappointed me.


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