Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Flick: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Peeps: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Geraldine James, etc.

The Dealio: For those totally unfamiliar with the gig: under-a-cloud journalist Mika Blomqvist (Craig) is hired by an aging industrialist (Plummer) to retreat to his country estate under the guise of writing a family history. But his real assignment is much murkier and more perilous: he is to find out what happened to his client's grand-niece, who disappeared over 30 years ago, and whom he fears is dead. At the hand of another family member. Blomqvist accepts the job and its myriad challenges, and finds more than he bargained for in the prickly, mysterious and troubled research assistant, Lisbeth Salander- the Girl of the title. Through many twists and turns- often quite violent, Blomqvist frequently takes a backseat, as Lisbeth arises to assume center stage. In fact, as in the first book, Salander makes for an quick decision for the reader/audience. Either you like her and bond with her immediately. Or you do not- in which case, most likely, you will not finish the story in either format. It was a source of great disappointment to me that, after coming down firmly as one of the first (I really did like her. Understand her? No. Not really or completely. But I did admire her determination and sheer guts), I found the 2nd and 3rd installments of both books and the Swedish movies to have Salander sidelined for the bulk of those treatments.

The Grading Session: 4.59 pengies out of 5. Again, really too long. Of course, the book was about 800 pages, so...yeah, that's really a load of source material. Given the huge job of condensing it down, and being fair to all concerned, I believe the casting was terrific and a wonderful fit. Mara's Salander, visually and verbally was more apt and a better fit to me. I did not understand why some of the pay-offs to plot were munched and tweaked. Especially when one major one made no sense what so ever. But, I chose not to dwell on those, since, taken as a whole, this was a worthy effort. I would be interested, however, to see if the follow-ups are actually made, and what their reception will be, if they are. The soundtrack was tip-top, if predictable. Nice job, Trent. However, Sweden didn't fare as well, and I find myself oddly reluctant to spend any time there. It- in this movie, at least- was a mad mash-up of Gotham City and Whoville. What's up with that? As always, your mileage may differ.

Lessons Learned: All together now: don't judge a book by the cover. Everyone assumes something about Salander that makes her not only beneath consideration or even common courtesy, but also eminently dismissible. Also this: I am in awe of anyone who actually understands about 1/2 of the things Salander is able to do with computers.

Notable Quotables: Armansky :'She is...different.' Frode: 'Different in what way?' Armansky: 'Different in...every way.' Vanger: 'Bring your drink. Leave my knife.'

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