I know last year’s Lovely Bones divided audiences. There were some who thought that its wondrous, imaginative, colorful palette clashed a little too violently with its depressing subject matter. I, for one, thought it worked purely as a visual journey – contrasting the agonies of the living who are coping with a profound loss, with the sort of mystical ecstasy awaiting those in the great hereafter. When Techland was first given a sneak peek of some of the initial landscapes, I thought: Yes, vintage Peter Jackson, working with a larger canvas than ever before.
The movie hits DVD and Blu-ray today, and the kind folks over at Paramount gave us an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip of young Susie’s first day in heaven, and what it took on the set for Peter Jackson to capture her memorable transition into the great beyond:
We see the three different camera angles, catching young Susie (Saoirse Ronan) flying in the celestial winds, grasping at the flower, and finally crashing to Earth/heaven. But watching the way the whole sequence was filmed, I found myself marveling at the fact that anyone was able to keep all this straight. It’s obvious almost immediately that this is Peter Jackson in his natural habitat – imagining the finished product, waving his arms furiously to get young Saoirse’s eyes in the right place; seeing the whole sequence in his mind’s eye, despite the fact that there’s only a few blades of grass in front of him.
Whatever you may think about Jackson’s post-Lord of the Rings work, he’s certainly proven himself as one of our leading masters of special effects, able to wave his wand and transport us anywhere – from Middle Earth to atop the Empire State Building, straight into heaven itself.
I think sometimes he’s so good at what he does that we forget about all that goes into it.
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