Mikael Blomkvist is convicted of
libel against big corporate head Wennerström. The magazine Millennium (that he
founded with editor in chief/ long term girlfriend Erika Vanger) is in dire straits.
Blomkvist is offered a job by Henrik Vanger to find out who murdered his niece Harriet about 40 years ago. Meanwhile, anti-social computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara) is experiencing her own problems with her
new guardian Bjurman and she is soon drawn into helping Blomkvist solve the mystery behind the disappearance/ possible murder
of Harriet Vanger.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is
a fascinating novel which was the first of three finish novels (of a ten novel series) by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. The three novels were originally adapted into the Swedish TV series MILLENIUM
and reedited into three theatrical films. I'm still more of a fan of the
raw Swedish adaptations. I think the characters were better cast in the Swedish
adaptations. No matter how hard Rooney Mara tries to portray Lisbeth, she
doesn't quite channel the detachment and distrust like Noomi Rapace did in the Swedish adaptation. It might be partly due to the screenplay by Steven Zaillian as Fincher's movie takes more liberties with
the book than the Swedish version ever did.
What Fincher's version does is present
a better directed and shot version of the novel while it also takes away from raw feeling that the Swedish version showed
off. The main problems I have with this adaptation is that it is an over glossed
version with casting that isn't as strong and a script that doesn't show the bond between Lisbeth and Mikael like the Swedish
version did. No matter how I did enjoy Fincher's take, I did find
flaws that are hard to ignore. The score is moody and sometimes menacing while
the script still does not present a strong adaptation of the novel. The dynamic
between Blomkvist and Salander isn't as strong while Blomkvist is shown more as a bully at times. Salander is more open and methodical in this version while I missed the closed down emotions of Rapace's
version of Salander. Mara's interpretation is too emotional and at sometimes
Lisbeth feels too much like a normal young woman.
Then Daniel Craig is just weak as Blomkvist
where I love how Craig plays James Bond. Blomkvist is too active in this
version of the novel while it seems the Fincher version looks to make Salander less of an active person in the investigation
of Harriet Vanger. I liked how the Swedish version showed how they got together
and worker together. One of the changes I didn't like in the Fincher version
is have Blomkvist's daughter discover what the numbers and names meant in the back of Harriet's diary. Lisbeth found out about that. As much as people
making this adaptation liked the character of Lsibeth Salander, it is just another interpetation of the character which some
people will or won't like better than Rapace's take on the character. I have more of an appreciation for Rooney Mara's take on the character after wtaching
teh film again on Blu-ray and watching the behind-the-scenes extras. The
Swedish adaptations understood who Lisbeth was in a different way and so did Noomi Rapace (who still owns the character of
Salander through her far more nuanced portrayal). In the end, David Fincher's
adaptation is a flawed and yet interesting take on the novel. If you haven't
seen the Swedish adaptation, check it out and don't be afraid because it has subtitles.
Blu-ray disc one has an audio commentary
for the film with Director David Fincher as he gives a very informative commentary on the making of the film and mentions
a few deleted scenes which we sadly only see glimpses of in the making-of extras on disc 2.
I wish Fincher had included a deleted scenes section for disc two.
The second Blu-ray disc has the majority
of the extras.
The menu system is split up like a file
system for the Vanger industries archives. The various behind-the-scenes extras
feature exhaustive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage to present a very well detailed and interesting look at the making
of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.
MEN WHO HATE WOMEN- a quick promotional
It has multiple featurettes on the main
three characters in the movie: Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist, and Martin Vanger.
The best fetaurettes in this part of the blu-ray disc focus on how Rooney Mara got the role and her screen test (and
select photos from various photo shoots as Fincher was working on the look for Lisbeth Salander with the make-up and wardrobe
stylist of the film). The Blomkvist section focuses on casting the role,
Daniel Craig talking about acting, dressing the character, and stills from Blomkvist's investigation. Then Martin Vanger's
section largely focuses on the various elements that went into filming one sequence.
multiple featurettes split up by SWEDEN
and HOLLYWOOD. See how David Fincher
is frustrated over sheep and weather as he tries to film one scene (which is refilmed on a
soundstage in Hollywood later), the Swedish attitude to film productions
and how the crew adapted to Fincher's demanding perfectionism. On the Hollywood end, see how David Fincher uses a motion control camera to get a
shot. The featurettes have interviews and lots of behind-the-scenes footage. Also included is the screen test that Goran Visnjic did for the character of Dragan
IN THE CUTTING ROOM- look at how David
Fincher tweaks the edits of his film where they show an earlier edit compared to the final edit of the film.
ADR- Rooney Mara and Stellan Skarsgard
do ADR while Rooney Mara mentions a silly game that is done between people.
MAIN TITLES- a behind-the-scenes look at
the creation of the opening titles with audio commentary by Blur Studio.
VISUAL EFFECTS MONTAGE- see how many seamless visual effects are incorporated in the movie, but the head replacement in a
climatic sequence is a little funny in how you see them replace the person's head.
A fictional segment of the TV show HARD
COPY focusing on the Harriet Vanger mystery (with optional audio commentary by David Prior- the set's producer of the extras).
4 Theatrical trailers and the numbering
of three of the trailers almost confirm the first trailer released to the internet (not included in the set) was a leak done
7 TV spots.
a short featurette on the making of the
metal one sheet movie poster.
The movie is also included on a DVD which
looks like a scrawled on DVD-R.
Ultraviolet digital copy
FINAL ANALYSIS: David Fincher's version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is growing on me. I love the making-of extras included on disc two which give a detail and never boring look
at the movie. Highly recommended- one of the best Blu-ray sets of the year.
this review is (c)3-25-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org