Spoilers within if you have no idea what this movie is about, but that shouldn't matter because you shouldn't go to this movie*
For the love of God, do not see this movie. I am, uncharacteristically, almost at a loss for metaphor. But I'm going to try. It's like if, oh George Balanchine, working with a heretofore undiscovered piece of music by, oh, say, Mozart and it was one of those ballets where Cezanne painted the sets, and then Balanchine picked for his dancers, oh, say, KISS.
There are many elements of awesomeness, perhaps brilliance in that hot mess, but it wouldn't fucking work.
The Lovely Bones has some really wonderful elements including the hardest working actors in the history of film. Remember how Hitchcock* essentially tortured Tippi Hedren for a week by doing stuff like tying live, angry birds to her and filming it as they pecked her half-revealed flesh through they clothes they had already torn? Probably a better experience than working on "the Lovely Bones."
If there were Oscars for effort, Mark Wahlberg and Saoirse Ronan would deserve them. And Susan Sarandon chews the scenery like you wouldn't believe in a role where that's clearly what she's expected to do in a Falstaff sort of way. Ronan's role is mostly about wandering around looking amazed, with the occasional scream of anguish, but the few moments when she's allowed to have a personality, she evokes that personality very well. Wahlberg's character is kind of a loon, but you understand why he is the way he is and Wahlberg gives good loon.
The cinematography keeps you watching long after you wish you could stop. It cuts back and forth between different threads of story so much it is impossible to lose yourself in the movie even though you're not sure you want to. You never get the chance to get caught up in the thing, so if you're me you sit there and analyze it. And this movie does not stand up well to analysis.
The directing is so bad that you know exactly what you're watching every second and what the directer is trying to hamfistedly make you feel. You know thirty seconds into the movie that the girl is going to get killed and the tension is built up so slowly and clumsily that by twenty minutes into the movie, your brain is BEGGING the movie to fucking kill her already and destroy this perfectly sweet family because the buildup to that killing and destruction is unbearably plodding and meticulous. I had not been previously aware that I could be that anxious and that bored at the same time.
The last Peter Jackson movie I saw, King Kong, made it clear that Jackson has no clue what to do with tension, a problem I don't recall him having in "The Lord of the Rings" or "Heavenly Creatures." In King Kong, Ann is in constant danger for like 45 minutes of movie while Kong fights off dinosaurs. One assumes that it is inconceivable to Jackson that 45 minutes of Kong wailing on dinosaurs might be a tad excessive. He has the same self-restraint problems here in that there are several situations that should be tense and exciting but go on so damn long that it just gets irritating.
Jackson's CGI-rendered and brightly-colored vision of heaven is, erm, not mine and includes a Magical Asian because, one assumes, Morgan Freeman had other commitments.
Anyway, y'all get the idea.
*To make it absolutely clear, I am NOT advocating a boycott of this movie or ordering you not to see it in any way that you should treat as a command. I am expressing my extreme distaste, not a political agenda. Also, I ain't your Momma and I don't expect you to listen to me just because I say so.
**After finding out that Hedren would not, in fact, fuck him, at least according to Hedren herself as told to Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto.