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This is not a remake of an original adaptation,
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This review is from: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (DVD)
When American filmmakers decided to put forth a second adaptation of the Swedish vampire/drama/horror film, "Let the Right One In", a mere two years after the first one had been released in Sweden, I was pretty angry. Like many other geeks who'd seen the original adaptation of the Swedish novel, I thought that not enough time had passed(2 years)since the release of the first film, and that there was certainly no justification for the second adaptation. Additionally, the Swedish "Let the Right One In" adaptation was an unbelievably well made film(a classic in my opinion)and I believed that an attempt at an American adaptation so soon after the advent of the original film was somewhat disrespectful. "At least allow the original film to occupy its place in the horror pantheon for at least a few years before some hack director is given permission to besmirch the legacy of the first film with his/her adaptation," is what I'd said to myself after becoming privy to the announcement of the new film.
After initially vowing never to see the American adaptation of "Let the Right One In", the relentless positive buzz that preceded the film's release date led to a change of heart. Immediately after watching the American adaptation I thought "Wow. I am so glad that I decided to watch this movie." The American adaptation was different from the Swedish adaptation in many ways. In fact, the American film had some good qualities that did not exist in the Swedish version. That said, I enjoyed both movies immensely. Each movie appealed to a distinct part of my whole personality, thereby engendering a richer experience for me. Most of the professional critics would probably agree.
Fast forward to December 21, 2011, and the movie going public is faced with a similar phenomenon. In 2009, a Swedish adaptation of the Stieg Larson novel, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", was released to critical and box office acclaim in Sweden. It was then transferred to the United States for limited release. The film became a critical and popular hit in the United States, made a star out of actress Noomi Rapace(who did a great job as the lead) and eventually made an American idol out of the novel's heroine, Lisbeth Salander. Again, a mere two years passes between the release of both films, and thankfully, the film's director is no Bret Ratner. He is David Fincher, the brilliant auteur who has directed seminal films such as "Seven", "Fight Club", and the "Social Network". With Fincher's name attached to the American Adaptation, it gains instant credibility. However, lovers of the first film are still skeptical. They are afraid that the new version will not live up to the standards of the original adaptation. Well, I'm here to say that the hand wringers can rest easy. David Fincher's version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is just as good, if not better, than the Swedish original.
Many of you who are reading this review are familiar with Stieg Larson's novel. It features a character named Lisbeth Salander, a 24 year old genius computer hacker whose life has been made very difficult because of the psychological/sexual/physical abuse that has been put upon her by male authority figures. Because of this abuse, Lisbeth comes to despise men. That is until she comes into contact with disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, with whom she teams up with to solve the 40 year old "murder" of Harriet Vagner, a relative of wealthy businessman, Henrik Vagner. As they investigate the disappearance of Harriet, Lisbeth and Mikael become involved in a sexual relationship, where upon Lisbeth develops feelings for the rakish reporter. They are able to solve the case together even as the relationship between Mikael and Lisbeth becomes complicated.
All of the actors do well for themselves in this movie adaptation, especially actress Rooney Mara, who really gives her all as Lisbeth. Noomi Rapace was great as Lisbeth in the Swedish version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo". However, Rooney Mara's physical and psychological interpretation of the damaged Lisbeth really grabs you. Anyone who has read the book will tell you that Rooney Mara's Lisbeth fits more with their idealized image of Lisbeth; an emaciated, pale, sexy, and sometimes androgynous girl/woman with a really nasty streak if provoked. Rooney has already been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, and is predicted to get more attention during the upcoming awards season. Daniel Graig is solid as Mikael Blomkvist, and Stellen Skarsgard gives a scary, creepy performance as Martin Vanger. Oh, and special kudos to Yorick Van Waginengen, whose performance as Bjurman(Lisbeth's abusive social worker) really makes you despise his character. You will rejoice when he receives his comeuppance in a brutal scene.
David Fincher's version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" moves much quicker than the Swedish version, even though the film runs almost 3 hours. Everything about Fincher's film is leaner/edgier than the previous version: the lead characters are younger and nastier, the editing is quicker, and the dialog is sharper. Much more of Stieg Larson's story is told in David Fincher's movie than in the previous version; and this allows the director to really develop the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael. I also like the tone of this movie. It's a dark, cold and gray movie. I don't think that the sun ever shines in one scene, and given the subject matter of the film(female rape and murder)it would be wrong for the movie to be filmed in any other way besides the dark and gray.
So go watch this movie. You'll be sufficiently transfixed by it. And if you haven't seen the Swedish version of the film, watch that too. They are both wonderful movies, and the positive critical reception is nearly identical for both movies as well. A warning though. If you have not seen the first movie or read the books, prepare yourself for some disturbing content.
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Showing 1-10 of 55 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 23, 2011 6:02:00 PM PST
An excellent review and agree with every point except Lisbeth hatred toward all men except Blomkvist. She has a very touching relationship with Palmgren (may have gotten the name spelled wrong), her first guardian. I liked that Fincher showed this relationship that the swedish version didn't show.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2011 6:00:26 AM PST
Cool Breeze says:
Thank you. And you are right about Palmgren. As someone who has read the book, that fact should not have slipped my mind.
Posted on Dec 30, 2011 11:25:59 AM PST
Steven A. Peterson says:
I do think that this captures more of the original book (e.g., Salander "stalking" Wennerstrom financially and the final scene with her gift to Blomkvist), as you say. Nice review!
Posted on Dec 30, 2011 12:02:29 PM PST
Speaking of running time of the movie, the 2011 version runs 2hr38mins and after seeing this movie, I went home to watch the swedish version again which runs almost as long. It seemed that Fincher was able to adapt a lot of the book than the swedish version.
Posted on Jan 7, 2012 12:05:44 PM PST
I haven't seen this yet but if you guys would have gone the extra mile to watch the 3hr+ extendet (and ORIGINAL) swedish version you wouldn't whine about things that have supposedly left out in the first make of this film. Compared to this the english dubbed and cut version is a joke ! But I will, after all I read here, watch this one when it is available on DVD.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2012 4:00:32 AM PST
We're not whining. Most people haven't seen the extended version, but I have seen all three swedish movies.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2012 4:59:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2012 5:00:13 AM PST
This is a major problem with what I have with the way studios release their movies on dvd. I already have bought the blueray trilogy before the extended version came out. If had known about the extended version, I would've waited. However, I'm not going to put in 80 more bucks to buy this. If I can see it through netflix then I will.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:29:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 7:31:21 AM PST
dickens, i agree. she did not have a hatred in men. she hated being degraded as a woman. she loved palmgren. he was like a father figure. the swedish version did show it but it was deleted when it was taken from the mini series and cut into movies to be released in the u.s. it is shown in the "extended cut" dvd set.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:32:18 AM PST
dickens. its 40 bucks at target
Posted on Feb 10, 2012 8:14:19 PM PST
A Jordan says:
Has anyone purchased the actual dvd or blu-ray (that I see has Ultra Violet & Flixster attached to it)? I see it's available for pre-order now, but I know sometimes people are able to get ahold of them early. I'd like to know about the actual product if that's ok. I had a very bad experience with Ultra Violet/Flixster when I purchased the last Harry Potter movie. I had to send it back and I still don't own that film. I really wanted to buy this new version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in blu-ray, but I do not want to support products with Ultra Violet/Flixster, especially when I know I will be unable to use it. I own a Mac, so I know the "streaming copy" of the so called "digital copy" of the film will not work. I talked to numerous people at their customer service last time and I never got anywhere. I know some people received iTunes vouchers after Ultra Violet/Flixster received so many complaints from customers about how UltraViolet/Flixster was not working and how they did not want a "streaming copy." Unfortunately I was not able to get my iTunes voucher, even after several attempts which included directly asking them for one in an e-mail with customer service. Since the iTunes vouchers were a one-time-only appeasement to customers, they will be going back to the old way of doing things. Does anyone know if there is a blu-ray only set available of this title?
I have read several articles on this Ultra Violet/Flixster fiasco and they are desperate to make it work, but are really struggling. I remember trying to download the one Harry Potter "streaming copy." At the time I thought it was going to be a real digital copy. They made me sign up for two different accounts. One with Ultra Violet, the other with Flixster. Then I had to jump through a bunch of hoops by downloading their software. I can't stand companies that do things like that so after all the other issues, I sent mine back. I didn't want a lifetime of dealing with that.