Monday, May 30, 2011

David Fincher's Dragon Tattoo (fixed)

I initially wanted to hold off on commenting on the leaked red-band trailer for David Fincher's re-adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but since I can't seem to stop watching it, I might as well go ahead. First, for those who haven't seen, here's the camcorder-video, taken from somewhere in Europe (where the trailer is already showing in theaters). **The red-band trailer has since been removed from Youtube by Sony. Here is the (non HD) green-band trailer:

Now, with any US re-do of a major foreign film, there's sort of an unwritten rule among movie lovers. We're supposed to decry, or at least be highly skeptical of, Hollywood's shameless need to rip-off foreign work, all so that American audiences don't have to *gasp* read subtitles (!!!). However, this is one remake where I'm inclined to throw skepticism to the wind, and fully embrace the new version. Why? Because it's not entirely a remake. It's more of a re-adaptation, meaning that the film makers, including screenwriter Steven Zaillian, went back to Stieg Larsson's book, rather than the Swedish film. And according to an interview several months ago, Zaillian made the bold choice to alter the source material, which is refreshing in an age when so many literary adaptations try to be slavishly faithful to the text.

And with Larsson's books, that's a good thing. The Millennium Trilogy has certainly become a major literary phenomenon, but I've never been entirely sold on the hype (and so begins the umpteenth iteration of my rant on these books). Lisbeth Salander, originally played by Noomi Rapace, is the main draw in the trilogy. A bi-sexual punk/hacker with a dark (daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark) past, she's a wonderful idea as far as characters go. That said, in Larsson's books, she comes across as a great idea of a character who isn't fully utilized. This is, in part, due to the fact that she competes for narrative importance with Stieg Larsson, er, I mean, Mikael Blomqvist, a crusading investigative journalist. I was never that drawn to Larsson's painfully obvious author insert (or, Gary-Stu), and his portrayal in the films by the unbearably bland Mikael Nyqvist certainly didn't help matters. As far as stories go, the trilogy has plenty of interesting moments, but was somewhat undone by Larsson's drawn out plots. The second novel, "The Girl Who Played with Fire," despite being my favorite, begins with an overlong introduction set in the Caribbean that has nothing to do with the rest of the intricate plot. This section was wisely cut for time on screen, one of the few things that was good about The Girl Who Played with Fire, which was something of a train wreck over all. To sum it up, Lisbeth Salander is a great idea who deserves to be the star of a better series of books...

..or maybe just better movies. This trailer may not have any dialogue, but it speaks volumes about why I'm so excited for Fincher's take on the story, and why I think it will blow the Swedish version out of the water. The images, many filled with Fincher's signature of blue and green tints, are intense and gritty, and Rooney Mara looks appropriately eerie/otherworldly as Lisbeth. We'll have to wait until December to debate whether she's better than Rapace, but she certainly seems capable of filling the role. More immediately impressive is Daniel Craig as Blomqvist. Not only does he seem less bland in the role, but he could potentially make Blomqvist a more interesting character. Zaillian's script reportedly makes Blomqvist less of a womanizer, which should help the character feel like less of a blatant stand-in for Larsson. Also along for the ride, behind-the-scenes, are Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who wrote the excellent (and Oscar winning) score for Fincher's The Social Network. You can get a small taste of Reznor in the trailer; the cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" is performed by Karen O and Nine Inch Nails, and adds a great, grungy vibe to the gritty visuals and icy locales. Sony is clearly having fun with the film's tough-as-nails image, labeling it the "feel bad movie of Christmas," and that only makes me more excited. All hail King Fincher.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary, Jordan '91. I am a fan of all three books and all three movies. Have been waiting with some trepidation for the Hollywood version. But perhaps there is hope. Would have loved to see the trailer. You have a great blog.