I know this has almost nothing to do with horror or cult movies, but it is something that has been weighing on my mind for some time and I fell that it needs to be said.
Roger Ebert, a week ago, posted his review for "The Lovely Bones" and I couldn't disagree more. It's not the fact that Ebert didn't like the movie, but why he didn't like the movie that pisses me off. I have no problem with people liking or not liking a movie. Hey, everyone has their own opinion. But when someone dislikes a movie they need to give reason and back it up with fact. Ebert's review of "The Lovely Bones" does not do this.
I want to say, before I go off on a tangent, that I respect Ebert's opinion. I grew up reading his reviews, and while we don't agree on everything, I always thought that he gave pretty good reasons for liking or not liking a movie. I have learned a lot about movies from reading Ebert, but I think the time has come for him to hang up his thumb and get on with the rest of his life.
So, back to the argument at hand. When I read Ebert's review of "The Lovely Bones" I was floored. How could he not like this movie? Is it really as bad as he says it is? I had to find out.
I got up early on the friday the movie went into wide release. The theater down the street from where I live has a deal where, if you go to a showing before noon, you pay five dollars. So I paid my five dollars and watched the movie play before me.
I liked the movie. I really did. I thought that the acting and direction were top notch, and I got involved in the story. There were things in the movie that I didn't like, but overall I thought it was a good movie.
On my way home I thought about what Roger Ebert had to say about the movie and it dawned on my that he was mostly wrong. But it wasn't the fact that he didn't like the movie, but the facts relating to the movie, that he uses to back up his argument where wrong. So I decided that I would take action and point them out, that way people don't go into the movie thinking one thing is going to happen and it doesn't. Consider me your movie fact checker.
1. Ebert speaks at great lengths about how Susie Salmon, the girl who is killed, is in heaven. This is simply not true. Multiple times in the movie is said that she is in "the in between", meaning that she has not ascended into heaven yet. At the end of the movie, when everything is taken care of, she does go to heaven.
2. Ebert mentions that when you go to heaven that you get to have fun and mingle with all of the killer's victims. Again, not true. Susie does meet one of the killer's victims in the "in between", but not until she finds out about the other victims does she meet them. And this happens at the end of the movie. We don't even find out that the girl Susie meets in the "in-between" is a victim of the same killer until Susie finds out.
3. Ebert goes to great lengths to talk about having a fourteen year old murder victim as the narrator of the movie. He finds it creepy. This is how the book was written. While director Peter Jackson may have shied away from depicting Susie's rape and murder, he could not change the fact that the book was narrated by the young murder victim. He is, at the very least, staying true to the novel in this way.
4. Ebert mentions that the we know who the killer is because of , what Ebert calls "The Law of Economy of Characters" "which states that we know who the killer is because: a.) The killer is played by an unnecessary movie star or b.) There is no one else it could be." Now this is just being lazy. We know who the killer is because WE ARE TOLD WHO THE KILLER IS! We don't need some "movie law" that Roger Ebert came up with to tell us who the killer is. We are told from the get-go.
5. Ebert talks about how the movie sees the killer as a hero because he liberated these girls. Are you serious? What movie was Ebert watching? The killer is seen as a creepy guy who is always looking over his shoulder. Never in the movie is he seen as a hero.
Needless to say, I hate when reviewers don't like a movie based on false "facts". If you are reviewing a movie you should take notes. I do, however, have theory about why Ebert got so much wrong. It is my theory that he didn't even see the movie. It's just my theory, but in my eyes, a pretty sound theory.