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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