There were two screenings yesterday of Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones (Paramount, 12.11 limited) — an exhibitor screening on the Paramount lot and (according to a friend) a SAG screening at the Landmark Westside Pavillion. I heard some stuff from one guy, and of course (a) it’s just one guy and (b) one always needs to take any earlybird opinion with a grain, etc.

Saoirse Ronan in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones.

But as I considered this guy’s views I was reminded of something I read in a Terrence Rafferty piece on the film that ran in the N.Y. Times on 11.1, to wit: After being shown “a few minutes of footage” plus “an exceptionally handsome trailer,” Rafferty said that Jackson “appears to have made the attempt to be faithful to the wistful, lyrical tone of Alice Sebold‘s book, but there are indications, too, that he hasn’t entirely abandoned his hyperbolic horror style: the looming close-ups, the ominous shadows, the fast, vertiginous tracking shots

In response to which I reiterated my opinion that Jackson “has gotten to a point in his career in which subject matter or theme or tone, even, matters less than it used to. There is really only one law, one rule — he must be ‘Peter Jackson.’ He must underline, be frenzied, be show-offy, whip up the lather, goad his actors into emphatic modes, etc.”

The guy I heard from (i.e., someone I know well who passed along impressions from another guy) said several things that I’m not going to share. Okay, I’ll pass along one thing. The guy who saw The Lovely Bones is “not a Peter Jackson hater…he liked the Rings trilogy, and is a fan of Heavenly Creatures. But if Terry Gilliam ever decided to make a serial killer movie, this would be it.”

I’m going to stop there. There’s time enough to sift things through and let the viewing process find its natural mojo, so no more. Okay, one last observation: “What Dreams May Come, Part II.”