Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly Movie #2

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson
Released: December 20, 2011
Viewed in theaters: January 10, 2012

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Rooney Mara (lost to Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady)
Best Cinematography (lost to Hugo)
Best Editing (won)
Best Sound Editing (lost to Hugo)
Best Sound Mixing (lost to Hugo)

This movie is a far cry from my first weekly movie (New Year's Eve).  You don't have to see either movie to know what I'm talking about! I was a little reluctant to see this because I wasn't a huge fan of the book which I read last spring. I still haven't been enthused to read "The Girl Who Played with Fire" which I have in my possession. If I look to my left, I can see it in my bookshelf between "Watership Down" and "The Help" (both books I loved). My problem with the book is that it is SO SLOW for the first 100 pages. Nothing happens. At all. Once we find out about the mystery of the young girl who went missing back in the sixties, it gets much more interesting. I still found the book to be extremely overrated when I was done reading it, though.

So I wasn't terribly excited for the movie, but I was curious to see what Fincher was going to do with it, being the stylish kind of director he is. I read all the boring stuff that deals with Blomkvist's magazine is dealt with in just a matter of minutes and doesn't consume the entire movie the way it felt like it did in the book.

You've probably already guessed I've never seen the original Swedish movie so I have no idea if it's better or just different than the American version. When I heard that an American adaptation was going to be made, my first though was they were going to set it in the U.S. in a cold climate like Alaska, but I'm glad they kept the setting of Sweden. Everyone has a slight hint of a Swedish accent, but none of them are that strong to be distracting.

As much as I didn't care for the book, I am glad I read it before I saw the movie. Not because I would've been lost - the movie is quite straghtfoward: Blomkvist is hired by the young girl's great uncle to find out what happened to her and he is aided with the help of computer hacker Lisbeth Salandar (the girl who indeed has a dragon tattoo). Not to brag or anything, (and slight spoilers here), but I totally knew who was sending the old man those pressed flowers, especially when he tells Blomkvist, "Nobody knows about these! Except Harriet, the police, and the killer!" I mean, duh. It's kind of obvious who's sending them. But the main reason I'm glad I read the book beforehand was that I knew what was coming so I could be prepared for it. This is a really dark movie and a lot of bad things happen to people....and a poor cat. As the owner of the sweetest cat in the world, I really hated that part in the book and was dreading it in the movie and had to cover my eyes when they showed it. Rape scene? Although uncomfortable and brutal, I could handle it better because I knew Lisbeth was going to get her revenge Oh, and she does. "I've never done this before and there will be blood!"

I'd like to thank this movie for reminding me that "Orinoco Flow" by Enya still exits. I had kind of forgotten about that song and I love it. It was an odd choice of song to play while the bad guy was torturing Blomkvist, though. Speaking of songs, I do love "The Immigration Song" by Karen O and Trent Renzor that is played during the amazing beginning credits. The first time I ever became aware of that song was when Jack Black sang it in School of Rock!

The movie follows the book pretty faithfully (and takes out all the boring parts!), but the ending dealing with what happened to Harriet is tweaked just a little. I actually preferred the movie's ending. The literal final scene is anti-climatic but you know that there will be two more movies so it wasn't really the final ending of the story.

I hardly say this, but I believe in this case the movie was better than the book.

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