The Lovely Bones Trailer: Peter Jackson Is a Long Way From Middle Earth

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When Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones was released back in 2002, it was fortunate enough to be blessed by the benevolent hand of Oprah Winfrey and quickly became a national best seller. Now, some seven years later, the much-beloved book has been turned into a prestige project by the formerly burly Kiwi director Peter Jackson and slotted by Dreamworks in the key December time frame as a potential 2010 Oscar vehicle. For the four or five of you out there who never got around to reading the book, the supernatural tale set in the seventies revolves around the efforts of 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Atonement's Saoirse Ronan) to solve her own murder ... from the afterlife! That's not a spoiler, mind you, as this particular plot point was famously revealed in the very first sentence of the book.

When we read Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens's script a few years back, we had some concerns about the screenplay that don't really seem to be resolved by the seemingly formulaic murder-mystery bent that the trailer takes. In particular, we felt a little cringe-y every time the (barely recognizable) Stanley Tucci shows up looking like he dressed up as Chester the Molester for Halloween. Fortunately, though, the scenes from the film that depict Susie in the afterlife look to be significantly less cheesy than the splotchy, paint-filled heaven that Robin Williams romped through in What Dreams May Come; it certainly doesn't hurt that these scenes are scored to the Cocteau Twins, the most otherworldly band we've ever heard.

So what say you, VultureWatchers? Is this a surefire Oscar nominee, or did Peter Jackson swing and miss? You know where to leave your thoughts!

The Lovely Bones [Trailer Addict]