My feelings behind the announcement of this title were very strong. The idea that Peter Jackson might start honoring his humble beginnings by giving us another Heavenly Creatures was just blowing my mind. I just kept thinking to myself how nothing could go wrong, because obviously Peter Jackson is immune to the trends of the spotlight...
A very young teenage girl gets murdered. However she refuses to leave the land between the living and dead so she can observe what is happening to the people who were around her.
If the very ominous "..." didn't give it away, that was sarcasm up in the first part of this review. Being under the spotlight with high financing seems to have finally killed Jackson's chances of handing us another Heavenly Creatures (let alone another Bad Taste). The wonderful soul behind the somewhat twisted message is completely absent for this recent attempt.
First off, if you are trying to decide whether or not a certain scene requires CGI, it doesn't. This film felt like a gigantic test of my tolerance for computer animation. Half of the effects were completely unnecessary. They were supposed to express the wonderful creativity that was the land between Heaven and Earth, but one can find beautiful locations on Earth that fit just as well and don't kill the atmosphere nearly as bad. Look at Lord of the Rings for example, which was also shot by Jackson and the environments looked absolutely breathtaking in some scenes. While on that topic, I'm no expert on the book, but half of the imagery and symbolism just felt absolutely needless. Throwing in imagery and CGI for the sake of having them simply doesn't cut it, sorry (just look at Halloween II).
Now to just to throw the rest out there and meet my minimum requirements, the soundtrack was interesting at a few points, but ultimately just distracting, poorly timed, and kinda loud. The acting was mostly solid (Stanley Tucci did wonderful) but the characters weren't given much to work with within the story arch. The entire message of the film sort of gets jumbled between all the abstract, useless sequences and it really just falls apart.
Before ending, I will give it a few positive spins. A small handful of scenes actually were well executed and enjoyable, and even though I had a perfect example lined up it got buried under the garbage pile in my mind, so that is all I got.
Notes: I know it doesn't release until 2010, but IMDb insists on 2009 and who am I to argue? Also, they didn't have faces on the back of milk cartons. What the hell was up with the cheap looking digital film?