Thursday, January 5, 2012

Girl W/ Dragon Tattoo: US vs Sweden

****If you have not read the book or seen the movie, there are big spoilers in this review.****

I have read the Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Upon reading the book, I watched the original Swedish movie made from the book. The movie was superb. The actress who played Lisbeth Salander was great. She portrayed the quirkiness and antisocial Lisbeth very compatible to the book. For those who haven't read the book, it's about a man, Blomkvist, in search of a murdered teenager after he has been disgraced in journalism. The case takes on a more hazardous tone as he gets help on the case by Salandar.

I picked up the book a year without any idea what the book was about. I just saw a ton of people reading it on the subway. I had to read it. I was sucked in immediately. I found the original Swedish movie on Netflix. They also have the next 2 movies for the next 2 books. I will read each book before I watch. I personally can't watch a movie and go back to the book. It just defeats the fun of reading. Anyway, I digress.

When I heard that the American Movie Studios were remaking the Swedish films I was quite disappointed. All that means was it was going to be dumbed down to fit the American "politically correct" and "sexual taboo" environment. Americans are way too sensitive to a lot of things, but this is a topic for another post. I heard rumors through blogs and press that the movie studios were rewriting the script because the subject matter was too graphic for American audience. The same audience that like movies that kill and mutilate people; Saw, Texas Chainsaw for examples. 

The actors chosen for the parts were ok. I don't think Rooney Mara was a good choice for Salalndar. Her face is to roundish for the character from the book. Her portrayal was not as good as original but she did a bang up job. She committed to the role. She just didn't feel like Salander to me. She was trying to act like Salandar. It's like someone trying to imitate another.

The character of Bjurman in the Swedish film was cruel, sadistic and conniving. He was heartless and showed no fear. He played the role just like the character in the book. In he American movie he was a mean but yet timid man. He was was cruel to Salandar and when she retaliated he nearly wet his pants. In reality, Bjurman was not completely scared of Salandar, he was scared for the tape to be released. He was angry throughout. He hates her. If he could, he would murder her. The American Bjurman didn't even portray him correctly at all. If they are going to do the next movie, how are they going to pull that off? You can't change his personality between 2 movies.

Daniel Craig did a good job at playing Blomkvist. I have no qualms about his portrayal. Skarsgad played Martin Vanger extremely well too. The rest of the cast was cast well enough. Overall, I like the cast except for the two I pointed out. The movie itself surprised me after hearing all the rumors. They didn't change the story at all like the rumors said. They were even pretty graphic. They did cut out few graphics that original had.

What I didn't like is that they included footage of events from the second book at the beginning. You don't really get any background on Salandar in the first book except for what she chosen to divulge. The love scene in which Salandar and Blomkvist, in the American version, she confesses to him that she burned her father was untrue in the facts of the first book and Swedish movie. She never admits it Blomkvist at all. Again, I don't know how they are going to fix the 2nd movie regarding this. There are a lot of gaping issues they revealed prematurely.

If I had to grade this movie, I would give it a B-. I liked the movie but the character issues and the adding more detail than necessary made hurt it's chances. As a standalone, not relating to original movie or book, it was good.

1 comment:

Sextant said...

Nice review. Good point about the differences in Bjurman. I agree with you on Rooney, she was miscast for the role, too childlike in my opinion, but yet managed to do great job. My opinion is Noomi just can't be beat in that role.

The guy who played Martin Vanger was terrific. I knew he was the bad guy and he still sucked me in. I liked the guy.

The only thing I didn't like about the Swedish movie was the guy who played Michael. Too dull witted for my tastes. Craig was much better.

Another thing with the American movie is that is seemed to insist that you know the story. It jumped from scene to scene with little explanation.

I have to disagree with one point you made. They did change the story. In the book and the Swedish version, Harriet was residing in Australia and the cousin Anita lived in London. Not a big deal for me but it was different.

I agree with you that Swedish film was much better.

Noomi Rapace was in the second Sherlock Holmes movie and I hope to see her in the future. I think she is an excellent actor.

Again great review.