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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) 
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
KRoss wrote:
JB,

How surprised are you that this version turned out to be better than the Swedish one? This may be just a stereotype, but most people will think a "serious" movie lover or critic is going to automatically assume "oh, the foreign one is better by default, American remakes are always so dumbed-down," and those who haven't seen the foreign version are therefore less "sophisticated."


I went into TGWTDT expecting not to like it as much as the Swedish movie. Therefore, I was surprised.

However, I don't think Dragonbeard will have the same reaction. Just a hunch.


Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:39 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
jnice wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Fincher feels depressed about Social Network's lack of huge success, and the fact that he must once again go back to a stage of his career he thought he left behind.


Nice to know that you have such penetrating insight into Fincher's mindset. You might want to remember that he signed on to direct THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO *before* THE SOCIAL NETWORK opened, and he was deep into pre-production when it premiered at the NYFF. By the time it was determined to be a poor performer at the box office, he has begun filming TGWTDT.

Hey, I don't mind that you dislike the movie, but don't pretend you come to this with any special understanding of the director's mindset, especially when you don't have your timeline straight.


Dayum! You got served!

Oh no he Di'ent!

Okay, my stupid references to terrible teeny bopper movies and there terrible self-referencing parodies are done.


Those comments were probably unduly harsh. But I'm battling a cold, pink eye, and a sinus infection at the moment, so I'm not in the best of moods.


Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:40 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
James Berardinelli wrote:
jadedmoviegoer wrote:
I heard from James in general discussion part of the forum that they don't change the resolution to the mystery. With that knowledge:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I will relish seeing Stellan Skarsgard as the sadistic killer. He was born for this role, having played nefarious characters in "Ronin" and "Insomnia."


Here's what was changed at the ending. Do not read if you don't want to be spoiled.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Lisbeth has a gun during the scene when she chases down Martin (she got it from his underground torture chamber). He crashes the car. She gets off her bike and stalks toward him, gun raised. It's clear she plans to shoot him. The car blows up. So there's no moment in which she lets him burn to death.

There are some minor changes to Harriet's story.

The actual ending is closer to the book's ending than to that of the Swedish film, which was more upbeat.



Just got back from seeing this film. I would give it 3.5 stars; in no way do I think does it deserve 4 stars for reasons I can go into if anyone wants to have the discussion. Fincher's direction is more stylish than Oplev. I find the climax to be more suspenseful and well-written than in the Swedish version. As far as James' comments on the changes to the ending:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
What I liked about this version of the climax is that Lisbeth essentially causes Martin's car to crash by racing in front of him. In the original, Martin is driving so frantically that (I think) he brushes against a truck with a bed of logs. The logs fall off the truck and derail Martin's car. I remember wanting Lisbeth to have more agency in the murderer's demise. The changes to the script benefited the film.


Can anybody explain, because the conversation felt a bit rushed in the film:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
How did Harriet gain Anita's identity? We are told that they look similar, but I don't understand the mechanics of the identity swap.


Also a word about Lisbeth's guardian Bjurman:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I disagree with James in that I do not see how he is any less one-dimensional than how he is depicted in the Swedish version. Putting a picture of his family, who for some reason don't live at home with him, on his work desk and having him regret the way things left off after he anally raped her do not make him a more complex individual. I listened to the discussion on the slashfilmcast, and a good point that was mentioned is that Bjurman and Martin are basically cartoonish incarnations of evil. For a pulpy thriller, this characterization is effective, but it fails in the service of a nuanced and revelatory portrait of human nature.


Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:51 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
MGamesCook wrote:
Just returned from this. I would say 2 stars is the appropriate rating. Overlong ain't the issue this time; it's just poor storytelling. I've seen the original Swedish film, which was much better, and I still couldn't tell what was happening. The problem, I think, is that Fincher did not care.


Could you elaborate on what exactly makes the Swedish version "much better"? I keep seeing this argument from fans of the Swedish version, but their arguments start to fall apart when they try explaining what it did better.

I found the plot to be considerably more comprehensible in the Fincher adaptation, whereas certain aspects of the Swedish version left me initially confused (I read the book well over a year before seeing the movie, so some details of the plot were somewhat blurry in my mind). It's been another year without having re-read the book or re-watched the Swedish version, and I had no problems at all comprehending everything. Fincher just did a better job showing how the different aspects of the mystery were pieced together by Lisbeth and particularly by Mikael, and he managed it with less dialogue explaining things (at least I think it was less dialogue . . . that was my general impression on leaving the theatre).


Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:22 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
James Berardinelli wrote:
Those comments were probably unduly harsh. But I'm battling a cold, pink eye, and a sinus infection at the moment, so I'm not in the best of moods.


I think you were in line. MGames, as he is wont to do, presented his speculation as fact (in this case, undeniably inaccurate fact). No one has a problem with his contrary opinions, but talking down to people gets us nowhere.


Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:25 pm
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Azilis wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Just returned from this. I would say 2 stars is the appropriate rating. Overlong ain't the issue this time; it's just poor storytelling. I've seen the original Swedish film, which was much better, and I still couldn't tell what was happening. The problem, I think, is that Fincher did not care.


Could you elaborate on what exactly makes the Swedish version "much better"? I keep seeing this argument from fans of the Swedish version, but their arguments start to fall apart when they try explaining what it did better.

I found the plot to be considerably more comprehensible in the Fincher adaptation, whereas certain aspects of the Swedish version left me initially confused (I read the book well over a year before seeing the movie, so some details of the plot were somewhat blurry in my mind). It's been another year without having re-read the book or re-watched the Swedish version, and I had no problems at all comprehending everything. Fincher just did a better job showing how the different aspects of the mystery were pieced together by Lisbeth and particularly by Mikael, and he managed it with less dialogue explaining things (at least I think it was less dialogue . . . that was my general impression on leaving the theatre).


Well, here's another perspective: I have never read the books, and never heard of them until I saw JB's 3.5 star review of the Swedish film and became curious. I went to see that film and enjoyed it very much. I understood everything, and found the mystery consistently intriguing. That film is still fresh in my mind, but even so, watching Fincher's film I had no idea what was happening. I knew what was supposed to be happening, since I'd seen the original film, but as a piece of storytelling Fincher's movie is one of the most baffling examples of filmmaking I have ever seen. How can anyone defend the scene where Plummer points out different houses on the island. No blocking, no sense of direction, no reason to care. What about the shot where Craig points out the Nazi's silhouette in the window? Pefect opportunity for Hitchcockian dread, completely missed and glossed over. I read one critic describe the climax as anti-matter when compared to that in the original. As far as I could tell, Fincher's biggest contribution was Enya.

Anyway, here's how to sum up why the original is better. The director of that film did not try to make it anymore than what it was: a cheap, mid-level mystery with solid potential for entertainment. I don't think Agatha Christie would print this story on anything more dignified than toilet paper, but the Swedish filmmakers understood that and just went with it. Fincher discussed at a Q&A that he had been hired very literally to "go deeper" into the material, and that he was nervous he made a mistake in taking on the project at all. He must have interpreted that assignment as going deeper than the story material would allow for, and I don't think he succeeded. What I think we ended up with is something that's actually less commercial than the original Swedish film, as I heard another person describe it. No more artsy really, just less commercial.


Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:54 pm
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
MGamesCook wrote:
Azilis wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Just returned from this. I would say 2 stars is the appropriate rating. Overlong ain't the issue this time; it's just poor storytelling. I've seen the original Swedish film, which was much better, and I still couldn't tell what was happening. The problem, I think, is that Fincher did not care.


Could you elaborate on what exactly makes the Swedish version "much better"? I keep seeing this argument from fans of the Swedish version, but their arguments start to fall apart when they try explaining what it did better.

I found the plot to be considerably more comprehensible in the Fincher adaptation, whereas certain aspects of the Swedish version left me initially confused (I read the book well over a year before seeing the movie, so some details of the plot were somewhat blurry in my mind). It's been another year without having re-read the book or re-watched the Swedish version, and I had no problems at all comprehending everything. Fincher just did a better job showing how the different aspects of the mystery were pieced together by Lisbeth and particularly by Mikael, and he managed it with less dialogue explaining things (at least I think it was less dialogue . . . that was my general impression on leaving the theatre).


Well, here's another perspective: I have never read the books, and never heard of them until I saw JB's 3.5 star review of the Swedish film and became curious. I went to see that film and enjoyed it very much. I understood everything, and found the mystery consistently intriguing. That film is still fresh in my mind, but even so, watching Fincher's film I had no idea what was happening. I knew what was supposed to be happening, since I'd seen the original film, but as a piece of storytelling Fincher's movie is one of the most baffling examples of filmmaking I have ever seen. How can anyone defend the scene where Plummer points out different houses on the island. No blocking, no sense of direction, no reason to care. What about the shot where Craig points out the Nazi's silhouette in the window? Pefect opportunity for Hitchcockian dread, completely missed and glossed over. I read one critic describe the climax as anti-matter when compared to that in the original. As far as I could tell, Fincher's biggest contribution was Enya.

Anyway, here's how to sum up why the original is better. The director of that film did not try to make it anymore than what it was: a cheap, mid-level mystery with solid potential for entertainment. I don't think Agatha Christie would print this story on anything more dignified than toilet paper, but the Swedish filmmakers understood that and just went with it. Fincher discussed at a Q&A that he had been hired very literally to "go deeper" into the material, and that he was nervous he made a mistake in taking on the project at all. He must have interpreted that assignment as going deeper than the story material would allow for, and I don't think he succeeded. What I think we ended up with is something that's actually less commercial than the original Swedish film, as I heard another person describe it. No more artsy really, just less commercial.


Write like this more often, it works for you pretty damn well.


Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:49 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Just saw it. Torn between ***1/2 or ****. More thoughts forthcoming.

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Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:50 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
I'm quite intrigued by the film itself. Although films in it's original form are the best in terms of content than remakes. We seem to carry the torch when it comes to that medium, Stepford Wives, Poseidon, Omen and many others... the remakes are just not the creme de la creme over the original. Though I haven't seen both films, I'm tempted to check out the Swedish version and '11 version (when it arrives on DVD).

And not to be off topic, since I love comparissons of movies that could be linked to the same genres, the film seems to remind me of another old relic "A Woman's Face; which was also made in Sweden with Ingrid Bergman in '36 and remade in '41 with Crawford.

Such irony,

...and since it deals with blackmail, redemption, betrayal and deadly schemes - unlike TGWTDT and since it's settings are from Sweden.

Just my 2 cents on this pre-New Year.


P.S.: It seems to be missing in action at the box office, what gives? :?:


Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:48 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Having read the books and seen the Swedish films, I finally saw the Fincher version yesterday.

I am very surprised that James has given it 4 stars. It is a competent, faithful, workmanlike adaption, but is no way a 4 star movie in my opinion. I would give it 3 stars max.

I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the books or seen the Swedish films. I simply could not get them out of my head and was making comparisons all the time.

Also, I have always wondered:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
1. Why do Henrik, Morrell and Blomqvist assume that the pressed flowers are from the murderer? The obvious explanation is that Harriet is still alive and they are from her.

2. After Lisbeth saves Blomqvist in Martin's basement, why doesn't he simply lock them in? In the Fincher movie, he could gas them too.


Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:19 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
****. It may not necessarily be the best movie of 2011. But it's definitely the most memorable one.

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Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:48 am
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Maybe if I had never heard of the book or seen the earlier film.

My two most memorable films from 2011 are Hugo and Super 8. Super 8 was spoiled by the ending, but Hugo is a masterpiece.


Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:02 am
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Alex wrote:
Also, I have always wondered:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
1. Why do Henrik, Morrell and Blomqvist assume that the pressed flowers are from the murderer? The obvious explanation is that Harriet is still alive and they are from her.

2. After Lisbeth saves Blomqvist in Martin's basement, why doesn't he simply lock them in? In the Fincher movie, he could gas them too.


My thoughts:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
I too think Henrik is definitely being a little bit, well, daft and as you say, ignoring the obvious explanation. But then the emotionally upset he must have suffered from the disappearance of his beloved niece could have affected his judgement and getting the pressed flowers may have *felt* to him like he was being taunted and so that's how he interpreted them. I don't Blomqvist automatically assumed that it meant that the pressed flowers meant Harriet was in fact dead, as he mentions at least once that he believes that it was possible for her to still be alive.


Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:36 pm
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
James Berardinelli wrote:
KRoss wrote:
JB,

How surprised are you that this version turned out to be better than the Swedish one? This may be just a stereotype, but most people will think a "serious" movie lover or critic is going to automatically assume "oh, the foreign one is better by default, American remakes are always so dumbed-down," and those who haven't seen the foreign version are therefore less "sophisticated."


I went into TGWTDT expecting not to like it as much as the Swedish movie. Therefore, I was surprised.

However, I don't think Dragonbeard will have the same reaction. Just a hunch.


I'm starstruck that you'd mention me by name ;)

Still haven't managed to see this yet. Made a trip to the cinema with the gf while I was visiting for Hogmanay but she wants to see the original version first. We saw Breaking dawn 1 instead... !


Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:31 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
jadedmoviegoer wrote:
Just got back from seeing this film. I would give it 3.5 stars; in no way do I think does it deserve 4 stars for reasons I can go into if anyone wants to have the discussion. Fincher's direction is more stylish than Oplev. I find the climax to be more suspenseful and well-written than in the Swedish version.


This pretty well summarizes my feelings about the new film. I agree with JB's points in his review, but I wouldn't rank it quite as high.

Also, I'm not sure that the changes in the relationship between Harriet and Anita hold up to further inspection:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
In the book and in the Swedish movie, Harriet had been living incognito in Australia after being helped to escape by Anita. In the new film, Harriet swapped identities with Anita and lived in London as Anita. It just seems highly unlikely that no one in the family bothered to meet "Anita" in London in the past 30 years. Of course, if they had done so, there would have been no story to film. Just seems like lazy screenwriting to me.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:19 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
A very good movie, but...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
...why kill off Anita and place Harriet in London? Travel between London and Sweden is really easy, and hard to imagine Anita never to be visited by anyone.


Except for that detail, the Fincher movie is superb, and is more in the spirit of the novel than the Swedish version. I did not like "Benjamin Bloom" or "Social Network" - they brought me to sleep, but this time his film making skills reminded me of the guy who directed "Se7en".


Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:31 pm
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Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
Saw this today, and at the end a guy was talking to my parents (who happened to be at the same screening) about how the owner of the theater was pissed off he'd booked the movie because "he didn't know how depraved it was, that it deserved an X-rating." I was immediately pissed off that 1) adults don't think adults should be able to see anything in a movie that reflects real life --- IMO, "life" would frequently warrant an X-rating; and 2) WHO the HELL runs a movie theater, even in a small town, and doesn't RESEARCH the movie even in the slightest? It's not like Fincher or the advertising hid what the movie was about. And every review I saw (including this one) mentioned that it was among the hardest R's in recent memory (and James even mentioned anal rape in his review).

I guess at least now I know if Fincher gets to make the other two films I'll have to leave town to see them, unless the owner of the theater is too stupid to realize the three films are part of a series and "mistakenly" books them too ;)

BTW, my favorite thing about the movie in the end was the incredible soundtrack. Any odds on Trent Reznor being nominated for "Best Original Score"?


Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:11 am
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
I have to say, in the weeks since I saw the film, my opinion of it has lowered slightly. I've thought about it quite a bit; it has nothing to do with the direction and the performances, and everything to do with the altered characterization of Lisbeth. Berardinelli sees the "softening of the edges" as one of the film's main strengths, while I see it as one of its biggest weaknesses. The majority of the problems for me occur in the final 30 minutes.

First, concerning the chase and its ultimate resolution:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I think it's an enormous missed opportunity, and frankly quite a big cop-out, to have the car explode before Lisbeth gets a chance to decide the killer's fate. Lisbeth does ask Mikael "Can I kill him?", but to me this line seemed to be there more to relieve the tension than to truly express her intended actions. Having the car explode prematurely wastes the opportunity to link the current situation with Lisbeth's past traumas, both involving men being burned to death in cars. The Swedish version does emphasize her past more than the American version, but it is a subject that will have increased prominence should Hollywood continue the story. It almost felt like the filmmakers/studio intentionally left out further elaboration of her background in the event that the story was discontinued.


More importantly, concerning the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I find it incredibly hard to believe that Lisbeth would think that her relationship with Mikael was anything more than a casual fling, knowing everything she knows about Mikael and his relationship with his boss, as well as her own troubled history with men and the traumas of her past. The Swedish version hinted at something more complicated, but it was only a hint, and Lisbeth seemed to understand that a true relationship was not possible between them. The new version adds this unnecessary new wrinkle in an effort to give the character more "humanity," except it ends up with Lisbeth acting hopelessly naive and completely out-of-character. Also, because the two characters spend the majority of the time apart from each other in the next two films, there's very little reason, if any, why this needed to be added. I think her character was unnecessarily weakened at the end, which is a shame.


There's still enough in the film to admire, but for all its elevated style I think it made some bizarrely crippling changes in the character department. Because of this, it's no more than a *** effort.


Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:53 am
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
jksander wrote:
Saw this today, and at the end a guy was talking to my parents (who happened to be at the same screening) about how the owner of the theater was pissed off he'd booked the movie because "he didn't know how depraved it was, that it deserved an X-rating." I was immediately pissed off that 1) adults don't think adults should be able to see anything in a movie that reflects real life --- IMO, "life" would frequently warrant an X-rating; and 2) WHO the HELL runs a movie theater, even in a small town, and doesn't RESEARCH the movie even in the slightest? It's not like Fincher or the advertising hid what the movie was about. And every review I saw (including this one) mentioned that it was among the hardest R's in recent memory (and James even mentioned anal rape in his review).

I guess at least now I know if Fincher gets to make the other two films I'll have to leave town to see them, unless the owner of the theater is too stupid to realize the three films are part of a series and "mistakenly" books them too ;)

BTW, my favorite thing about the movie in the end was the incredible soundtrack. Any odds on Trent Reznor being nominated for "Best Original Score"?


They didn't hide anything but the advertising doesn't actually tell you anything about the content of the movie. Part of why I just couldn't get my head around how or why anyone thought this remake was ever going to do well, regardless of it's quality. Hardly a 'family movie event' as such ;)


Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:11 pm
Post Re: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
The Swedish film made a few changes from the book that the Fincher version copies. This suggests that the screenwriters were influenced by the Swedish film.

[Reveal] Spoiler: For example
1. In the book, Salander's laptop is damaged by a car reversing over her rucksack. In both films, she is mugged on the tube/subway.

2. In the book, Blomkvist's daughter solves the codes in Harriet's diary. In both films, Salander e-mails the solution to Blomkvist (and thus reveals herself).

3. When questioned by Bjurman about her number of sexual partners, in both films Salander sarcastically replies "2, 20, 2,000, 200,000". This is not in the book.


Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:34 am
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