Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Book to Movies

This is my very first book to movie review, but it's not the firsttime I've watched a movie based on a book I've read before. I know how people can be, sometimes even me, that when watching a movie adaptation of a book, they want those two to be identical. It is practically impossible. So what I look for when doing a comparison is that the movie did justice to the book.

The Sweedish version of this movie came out in 2009, it was directed by Niels Arden. Lisbeth Salander is played by Noomi Rapace, and Mikael Blomkvist is played by Michael Nyqvist. That is probably one of the most famous local movies in Sweeden and was a worldwide success as well. The US version of the movie came out in 2011, directed by David Fincher. Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craigplays Mikael Blomkvist. That movie was very successful as well and it was nominated for various awards.  Both movies were extaordinary by themselves. What I mean by this is that people who didn't read the book were able to enjoy the movie at its fullest. And they could also understand what was happening without the necessity of knowing the book's every detail. The Sweedish version, as well as the US version succeeded in doing so.

First of all the character adaption. I think it irritates us all when, for example, the character's a blond and they cast a brunette. Or when the character's outgoing and they portray a shy one. This wasn't the case in neither of them. Noomi Rapace was stunning as Lisbeth Salander, she brought the character to life in a very literal way. Physically she looked just the way she was described in the book. And the characterization and performance was trully impressive. Now to the US version, I was excited when they announced that Rooney Mara would play Lisbeth Salander. I first saw her in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and even though it's not that good of a movie, I loved her performance. She trully proved herself in this movie, and she did a really good job playing Salander. I liked watching them perform the hard scenes, especially because Lisbeth is such a complicated character, breinging her to life must've been a challenge. In the books, this character brings out so much emotion, not from the outside, but she's got so much in her. They both managed to transfer those emotions without the need of a omniscent narrator. Which is the hard part of the adaptation, because the narrator, dialogue and description make up the story. In the movie you have to get rid of the narrator and adapt the description. Which is why I think that in the acting part, they aced it. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a tough choice, since they were both unbelievable, but I think I would pick Rapace.

I could say the same for the rest of the cast. In the Sweedish version all of the actors were completely unknown to me, but they did surprise me. I know that Daniel Craig is hotter than Michael Nyqvist, but they both were marvelous as Blomkvist. The rest of the characters like Martin, Cecilia, Harriet, etc. were excellent in both of the films. They didn't go wrong when casting.

Now the most important part of an adaptation, the plot. They always end up cutting it. It is important to make it shorter, while keeping the important details. In this part, it was pretty surprising that the US version did that better than the Sweedish version. It impressed me how similar the US movie and the book were. I think that the only thing they radically changed was the ending, but the rest of it is as close as the movie could get to the book. Probably the best book to movie adaptation I have seen so far.  The Sweedish version was also good in adaptation, but quite few things were changed. Those things didn't make the movie less understandeable, they weren't key to the story, but they could've been there. Ironically, this version chose to keep certain scenes that the other movie chose to omit. Like in the US movie they don't show that much about Lisbeth's mother or her past. Only a dialogue she has with Craig in the movie mentions it. But on the Sweedish movie they show several flashbacks. Also, Cecilia Vanger was a more important character in the Sweedish movie than the other one, they chose to show heraffair with Blomkvist.  And they kept the ending the same as the book, while the US version didn't. 

In conclusion, I did like the US adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo better. The way they asapted the story was impressive and almost identical. The casting was perfect and the performances were stunning, not to mention the settings and the score. However, that doesn't mean the Sweedish version is no good. It is very good as well,and the performances are amazing too. Plus, it was where it all started. It had its merits because its completely local. An adaptation from the local book with local actors and actresses. They are defenitely both worth watching.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

The "Dragon Tattoo" Challenge Book Review

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo. 

I read this book a long while ago, with no time to write a review until now, so I will do as promised and write one. Okay, the first thing I have to say about this book is that I really don't get why they had to change the title. I don't know if this is common knowledge, but the original title of the novel is Män som hatar kvinnor which means, Men Who Hate Women. That title seemed more relevant to the story since the "dragon tattoo" wasn't the only tattoo Lisbeth Salander had, and those other tattoos were equally important in the story, so I don't understand the emphasis on that specific dragon tattoo. While the original title actually shows up in dialogue in the book, and it had more relevance to what the story was about (mostly from Salander's POV). That been said, on to the plot. In my opinion, the book started up a bit slow, but I also believe it was necessary for the author to explain the characters' background for the story to make sense. It takes a few pages for the plot to pick up, but once it does, it has you hooked. Even though most of the proper names from the country were impossible to pronounce the story can be understood perfectly, but do not be fooled, it is one of those novels that you have to read carefully, line by line, to catch every detail. 

About the characters, I am going to focus on Lisbeth Salander. What can I say? She was a unique character. To everyone who enjoys to "psychologically analyze" the characters in a story, this novel will definitely be a treat. Unlike other books in which everyone wants to relate to the character because of looks and personality, Lisbeth is a character that makes you want to understand her rather than relate to her. Something that often happened to me while reading is that I wanted to know about her past, I wanted to have an explanation about why she was the way she was and her unknown past just adds an extra mystery to the story, since Harriet's disappearance is the main one. I found the ending surprising and not predictable, and it will keep you guessing until you find out the truth. Finally, what I also liked about the book was that it started the way it finished. There was a secondary conflict to the story, the Wennerström-Blomkvist conflict. The novel starts talking about the article and the magazine and all the problems these two characters are having. And the story ends that way as well, and even though I didn't find that conflict as interesting as the Harriet mystery, I think it was fair to give that closure to the story and not to leave that many loose ends. 

This being one of the longest reviews I've written, I'm gonna conclude. This book is worth reading, definitely not recommended to people younger than fifteen, (at most) and if you read it and think of quitting because it's slow at the beginning, don't. It's definitely an amazing read, and recommend it. 

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Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Dragon Tattoo" Challenge

This month I've taken on a challenge. I am going to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, then I'm going to watch the Sweedish version of the movie The Girl With The Dragon Tatto and after that I'll watch the US version.

After that I'll post a review of the book and a comparative review between the book and the two movies, stating which one is better, what the movies missed from the book and which one I recommend the most.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fetish by Tara Moss

Mak is young, beautiful- and in grave danger. An international fashion model, she arrived in Australia on assignment, only to find her best friend brutally murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer with a very deadly fetish. Before she knows it, Mak herself is caught up in the hunt for the killer .and trapped in a twisted game of cat-and-mouse. Who can you trust and where can you turn when you are the dark obsession of a sadistic psychopath? 

Fetish was the novel I had been looking for for a long time. What kind of novel had I been looking for exactly? A good mystery novel. Recently i have been getting into mystery novels and my cousin had been bugging me about reading this one, so I did. And I thank her so much for pushing me into reading this novel. It was AMAZING. Definitely a good mystery novel! There's three main things a good mystery novel needs.

1. A main character that can kick ass: Mak gives us just that. She doesn't run off the first chance she gets, she faces the killer and, let's face it, she has that stubborn and headstrong side that can annoy us but make us glad she was like that in the first place. We all want to read about a character that can stand up for herself and will not let anything get in her way.
2. A frightening killer: Yeah, that's what makes a mystery novel a good mystery novel. The killer did frighten me pretty much during the story. He was as psycho as we always imagined killers to be. I really did love how sometimes Tara Moss narrated certain chapters from his point of view (in third person of course) but I really do like to read not just what the main character's going through, but also what the killer's thinking, it's always good to end up the killer's POV unfinished so that it gives you that thrilling sensation.
3. A hottie willing to save the day: Who better than a sexy Aussie to do so? No more to be said here. I think we all get the point. 

It impressed me that Tara Moss wrote this novel so well. The terms she used and the way she shaped the killer into being a 'perfect killer' amazed me. The novel showed she had knowledge of what she was writing and she still managed to stick to a fictitious story by using facts and creating a plot that is actually believable to the reader. After all, that's what the author looks for when righting a novel isn't it? Well Tara Moss made an amazing job at that and made me get glued to that book for days. A huge bravo for this book, that is a huge "Yes! Read this book!" from me. 

How many stars?
5 stars
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox #1

I'm gonna start doing this more often. But for now I'm gonna post books I got in the last couple of weeks. I hope to post every time I get new books, but if for whatever reason I'm not able to, I will post in probably a monthly basis. 

So I got the following books from Jen (friend from GR)


I have to thank her because these books have been on my to-buy/to-read shelf forever and it was so considerate of her to send me those.

Girl In The Arena by Lise Haines: Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through.  Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.  Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator.  Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

Possessions by Nancy Holder: The It Girl meets The Exorcist in this chilling, haunted boarding school tale New-girl Lindsay discovers all is not right at the prestigious Marlwood Academy for Girls. Ethereal, popular Mandy and her clique are plotting something dangerous. Lindsay overhears them performing strange rituals, and sees their eyes turn black. It doesn-t help that the school itself is totally eerie, with ancient, dilapidated buildings tucked into the Northern California woods, a thick white fog swirling through campus. There are hidden passageways, odd reflections in the windows at night, and scariest of all is the vast lake rumored to have captured the ghost of a girl who drowned many years ago. What Lindsay doesn-t yet realize is that Mandy and her cohorts are becoming possessed by spirits who have haunted the school for two hundred years. Spirits who want someone dead... And that someone is Lindsay

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn: The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run...for her life

Perfect Chemistry: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Rules of Attraction: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Die For Me: When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent. Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bitter End By Jennifer Brown

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.

I didn't know what to expect of this book. I read the Hate List and it was a pretty intense book. What I really like about Jennifer Brown's books is that it's always pretty original topics. When someone thinks 'teen' they usually think of these words: sex, rape, love. But suicide? Bullying? Abuse? This book really got my attention. I have read books about sexual assault before, such as Speak, but never physical abuse. You know what I loved about this book? The way it gets to you. When I read what it was about I thought "I will never like the son-of-a-bitch that hits her" but those first few pages when Cole is actually nice and loving, I actually did fall in love with the guy! I mean seriously, he was so sweet and the guy we all dream about. I was actually feeling what the main character, Alex, was feeling. Even those first times when he started with small threats I felt bad for her....and then fell in love with him again. The book is also very realistic, no abused girl goes for help the first time. And you can see that the Alex is truly in love and has confused feelings. She doesn't want to turn her back on her friends but she doesn't want to leave Cole even after everything he's done to her because he's in love. The reader is a little confused as well, at least I was. One would think when dealing with an abuser one would say "Hell, I'm done with him!" But no, because when someone's in love the think they're gonna change. But they don't, and it takes for someone to hit rock bottom to realize it. That's what happened to Alex, she hit rock bottom. All I can say is that I loved this book's realism the way the writer reaches to the reader just by the way the main character narrates the way she feels about a guy. 
I give this book 5 stars!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011


RAK stands for Random Acts Of Kindness. It is an amazing program it is hosted by Book Soulmates ( Such a good idea, for everyone who loves books, especially for people like me, who have a really hard time finding them. This is my first month participating. 

Sign up each month that you'd like to participate.

  • Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button :)
  • Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
  • If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.
  • *NEW* Please, once you receive a RAK, email or tweet me {Vanessa} so that I can update the Google doc. There are a lot of requests for this! 
  • *NEW* E-book participation is limited to files being gifted directly to a person from the e-book store. Amazon's Kindle Store is set up to allow this, as well as the Kobo store and we believe Barnes & Noble as well.
  • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K! Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)
My RAK Wishlist
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