Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

So last night I watched the movie: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" based on the book by the late Stieg Larsson. I have read the book (many months ago now) and its two sequels, just in case anyone wanted to know. And before going on, there ARE spoilers for both the book and movie in the following review.

Personally, I give the movie a B to B+. If you're like me and read the book, then watched the movie you will notice some differences between the two and be disappointed when some key points are missing in the movie.

For instance, Erika Berger is not blond (as far as I can remember). She was NOT described as looking her age at ALL. Furthering Berger and adding Blomkvist, there was absolutely NO mention of them ever being lovers or even knowing each other prior to Millennium. The first conversation she has with Blomkvist after the trial takes place JUST her and him, not with the whole newsroom.

Furthering character interactions, the conversations/thoughts showing that Armansky cares about Lisbeth do not take place at all. Armansky comes off as a boss and a boss only, not the type of person to care about the socially inept Lisbeth. They don't even go into the details of just how smart Lisbeth is or how organized she is about her work. All this comes to play in the sequels since Armansky would not have helped her in Books 2 and 3 if he didn't care about her.

The first scene with Vanger really did not make sense to anyone who had not read the book. Old man receives pressed flower, he starts crying. It doesn't go into why or how many of these pressed flowers he has until much later in the movie. Nor does the movie mention that he has called the chief of police every year a new pressed flower has arrived.

Also when Blomkvist does arrive on the Vanger scene, he's not asked to write the Chronicles of the Vanger family. He is only asked to find out what happened to Harriet. At the end of the book, Blomkvist says to Vanger that he won't write the chronicles and that he had been 'corrupted' (changed) since he cannot in good conscience write the chronicles without hurting Harriet and the Vanger Corporation. This plays a large part in why Blomkvist does what he does in the sequels. Furthermore, it is not mentioned that Lisbeth met Blomkvist prior to the email she sends him, hence why she likes him.

Going along with Lisbeth's development as a character, it is not mentioned that she got a tattoo after Bjurman raped her. Speaking of the rape (and I can understand why it wasn't in gory detail etc), the movie does not go into the fact that Lisbeth researches into why he actually did this to her. The movie does not mention that she takes the spare set of Bjurman's keys, nor does it mention she knows about his offshore accounts. It may not seem important but these facts show a lot of Lisbeth's character: her intelligence, attention to detail and, more importantly, her moral thinking. They also become a huge point in the other two books.

And a few last points, just because I don't want this to be too long and to give too much away:
There was no mention of Harriet gaining a percentage of the Vanger Company. Also, the most important bit: the movie does not go into detail of WHY Lisbeth stopped taking Blomkvist's calls.
Yes, she had fallen in love with him. So much so, that she completely cleaned her apartment (filled with year old pizza boxes, etc - also not shown). She even went out of her way to buy a Christmas present for him, something her character would not do (also not shown). When she went to deliver this present, she spotted Berger and Blomkvist together, trashed the present and decided to never see him again, which was not shown.

That last detail alone should have been important enough to include. Why? Because it becomes an integral piece of the plot (and to Lisbeth's character) in the second and third books. With all the lack of detail concerning Lisbeth's character, you really do not get her development or her actions.

The movie was good. It lacked key character development, but still good. If the viewer had not read the book, they would have rated it much higher. Don't get me wrong though, I understand a lot had to be cut out since the book is lengthy. But to cut out important development of the main female lead is cutting out a bit too much. It was saddening that I had to explain certain aspects of Lisbeth's character to those watching the movie with me who hadn't read the book. She did not come across as the genius 'researcher' that she is at all and that is a bit annoying.

In summery: the movie gets a B to B+ rating (three and a half to four out of five stars). If you haven't read the books, it will be entertaining (though a bit confusing in some places). If you have read the book, be prepared to spot the differences.

And a side note (going back on track to my own book): I'm still waiting on my own reviews. Hopefully I should get some information soon.

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