the girl with the dragon tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Year: 2011
Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: Steven Zailian (screenplay) Stieg Larsson (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think this was a lot of great work put into a ridiculous story for the sake of capitalizing on something successful.  I think this was a horrible book and I don’t know that I have ever been more disappointed by a twist at the end, but despite what I think the book sold millions and millions of copies.  It was easily one of the most successful books of its time and a big movie production for it was necessary under those circumstances.  I think the movie was really well made, the actors were terrific, and the soundtrack by Trent Reznor was awesome.  Yet, despite all that I found the story in the movie to be even more ridiculous than the one in the book and I can’t get past that.  Still, we own the movie now for two reasons.  One, Amber was a big fan of the book and liked the movie. Two, Rooney Mara is so aggressively naked in this movie and she is so sexy I felt it justified the purchase no matter how stupid the story is.

My problem with this story is simple; it’s a murder mystery about someone who was never murdered.  When reading it I was so excited to find out how it actually happened, who did it, and how they got away with it.  I sincerely feel like finding out that nobody did it and nobody got away with it was one of the biggest let downs I have had as a reader.  In fact I think it makes a fool out of every single character in a book full of foolish characters.  Now I’m not talking about Salander, she is a badass.  Blomkvist on the other hand is a foolish character and I felt like he was so overdone and ridiculous.  Everywhere he went, no matter the circumstances, the woman he was talking to came on to him and just had to have sex with him.  Now, according to my wife I should get that with Daniel Craig cast in the part but I still don’t buy it.  I just think this was the writer living out his own perverse fantasies through the character he most related with.  Now, I thought how it happened in the book was stupid; Blomkvist finds the woman he is looking for very much alive and then promptly goes on to have sex with her as well, go figure (all victims of extreme sex crimes are interested in spontaneous sex with men they just met right?).  In the movie I thought it was even worse.  When all is said and done Daniel Craig looks up at his board with the family photos on it and realizes the woman he has been looking for is right in the center of the thing.  In forty years no investigator could figure out who she was and he just realizes suddenly who it is and figures it all out? That’s no shocker, that’s not the twist I was looking for and I just cannot get over the disappointment of it.  Amber insist that the story is better in the next two books but I could never bring myself to even bother with them.  Worst ending ever, period. If I missed something vital and just don’t understand then by all means let me know.  I suppose it would make much more sense that I overlooked some vital detail then to think I am the only person who realizes how weak this ending was.  I doubt it, but in the event that I am right and this ending totally blows please leave a comment and lend me some support, I feel alone in this opinion.

There is one more significant problem I have with this story in both the film and the book.  I do not like rape, I do not own many movies in which it happens and it is part of any plot that I find distasteful and disturbing.  Yes I understand that it is a fact of life and something that happens but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like seeing it.  It is a morally reprehensible act and the absolute worst thing someone can do to another, be it a woman being taking against her will by a man or man on man like in Deliverance it’s just wrong plain and simple. What happens to Salander is fucked up, for lack of a more appropriate expression.  I didn’t like reading it, I don’t like seeing it, and I don’t enjoy a story in which something this awful happens.  I love to watch movies, and I find most of them sullied by this kind of plot point.  I’m not the kind of person who would turn a blind eye to such a thing because I am really against it but I don’t have to like movies that show it either. Salander’s vengeance in this film may be amazing and awesome but I still don’t like having to see what he did to her.  It takes her to the next level of badass and in truth I do like her as a character.  I don’t generally re-watch a movie when there is a scene I feel I must skip (except in the case of Team America: World Police because while I don’t want to see those puppets getting freaky or vomiting relentlessly I still can’t get enough of the rest). My problem with rape may actually be the reason I hated this story so much in general.  I was excited to find out who this killer was and all I found out was about how demented and monstrous these rapists and sex criminals were.  Sex crimes are ugly and awful things.  I didn’t find the things that happened in the book shocking but repulsive and disappointing.  I expect there to be these kinds of awful people out there in the world, it doesn’t surprise me at all it only upsets me to see it unfold in words or on screen.

I will admit this movie was very well made and a lot of people did some really great work to get it made. It is not for me though, I will gladly watch Rooney Mara walk around naked when her character makes the decision to do so and is not being forced, but by and large there isn’t anything else here for me.  That being said I’m not going to go any farther with this review.  I have said my peace about it and welcome your opinions to be left in comments, feel free to completely combat or agree to what I have said. My money bets most will disagree with me.  Given that I am in the minority of opinions in regards to this book and film I don’t think you should accept what I have to say about it and see it yourself if you are interested.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I thought this movie was an incredible adaptation of the book. It wasn’t completely spot on, but they added in all of the scenes that mattered. I have read all three of these books by Stieg Larson. The second and third books are the best ones, and I can’t wait until they come out. How this story plays out is twisted and unpredictable. The woman in the story had a horrendous childhood. Her father used to beat her mother, and her mother was one out of a couple of girlfriends he had. We find out a lot more about her upbringing and relationship with her father in the next two movies/books. Rooney Mara looked exactly like what I envisioned in my head. She did an incredible job with this role. I believed in her, I saw her pain and felt it. This movie is a little graphic and crude, but that’s what makes it so honest. Daniel Craig did okay in this movie. I pictured Blomkvist a little more gritty and not as attractive as he is in this film. Which reminds me, all authors seem to put their own character in the book, and Stieg did this through Blomkvist. He uses this character to sleep with any and all women. It’s a bit silly, but I would probably do the same thing. (Maybe not sleep with everyone, but perhaps my main character was covered in tattoos? 🙂 )

The-girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo-Movie-PosterMaybe I am just biased, but I LOVE this poster. I think it was a gutsy risk to make this an all black poster. I think it fits the mood of the movie, but it isn’t going to stand out when it is sitting beside the other releases. I love the way they showed both of the main characters on the front. As most of you know by now, I hate it when a poster tries to fit in everyone in the movie. This is an example of how to do it right. You get the character of Blomkvist and Lisbeth right away. The font choice is great for this movie, but I wish the typography was a little more tight.

This movie was great and I can’t wait to see the next two. The story gets really crazy.

girl-with-dragon-tattoo-uncensored-posterRyan here again, this is the unedited poster for the film that I think was only displayed overseas where sexuality isn’t so taboo. I felt compelled to add it the bottom of this review because, well, it’s awesome isn’t it?  I saw this poster online before the movie came out and I was immediately interested in the movie despite what I thought of the book. Again, Rooney Mara looks really good in this one as you can plainly see.  There is just something about such a dangerous woman that makes her really sexy.

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Fight Club

Year: 1999
Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: Chuck Palahniuk (novel) Jim Uhls (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie instantly became one of my favorite movies when it came out and I watched it frequently. It’s full of little things that you notice with each additional viewing that make it fun to watch multiple times. I was fifteen when it was released and it probably wasn’t the best influence to spend so much time with during my formative years but there were no lasting effects. The anarchy and rebellion that goes into the story is something that can influence plenty of teens, and all young men love to fight, or watch fights at the very least.  This movie has without doubt made its mark on our society and that is still true over a decade later.   It is a dark movie but it is an incredibly interesting one as well.  It is based off a book that is equally if not more dark and disturbing.  According to the writer many people were unaware that it was actually based off a book when it came out, and he frequently came into contact with people unknowingly influenced by what was actually his creation.

Chuck Palahniuk is an interesting writer with a style like none other I have ever seen.  He has written many books but Fight Club is the only one that I have read.  I did really enjoy the book but it has been a few years and I am due for a reread because I can’t remember enough about it now.  (Thanks George R.R. Martin, you have pushed other authors out of my memory, but I don’t mind because your books are awesome). I do remember that I liked the book but it was different. The ways in which the movie was different though seemed to only bring more to the story collectively.  The main thing I remember from the book wasn’t even in the book itself but in an afterword written by Palahniuk about how popular the story had become and the mark it left on our culture.  He tells a story about being at a book signing in London.  One reader came to him raving about what was done to food in the book and saying that he himself had served a famous person tainted food in the same fashion. When the reader refused to tell Palahniuk who the famous person was he leveraged the autograph to get the info.  The reader then told him he worked at the only five star restaurant in the entire country of the UK and that the Queen of England had eaten his cum, FIVE times.  I will never forget that for as long as I live because if the Queen of F-ing England isn’t safe from eating cum then we are all in danger at all times.  All I can say is never send anything back and always be incredibly nice to the person serving you. They are preparing your food and they are usually young and immature people who wouldn’t even think twice about doing something disgusting to your food. Famous people shouldn’t even eat out at all, and the cops shouldn’t go anywhere but Subway because they can see their food prepared there.

This was the third uniquely awesome movie David Fincher had made in a row.  It came right after both Seven and The Game which both had the same ability to blow your mind at the end.  At the time I considered Fincher to be the best young director out there and his work backed that up.  I personally have not been impressed with anything that he has done since this movie although just about every movie he has made since has been critically acclaimed and loved by the audiences alike.  I didn’t care for Panic Room, Zodiac, Benjamin Buttonor The Social Network all for different reasons but I specifically thought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was awful.  I think that was one of the worst books I have ever read despite its success, and I think the movie was even worse.  The thing for me was that I got really invested in that mystery. I could not wait to find out who killed that girl and how.  When I found out **SPOILER ALERT** that she had been alive the whole time I was pissed, what a rip off, and the movie was even worse.  Literally all throughout the movie he has a picture of the woman as an adult on his wall under a different name and nobody that has been searching for her for thirty years looked at it and noticed her? Blomkvist easily obtains the picture of her living under the oh so clever alias of another relative, and they couldn’t figure this thing out in thirty years? Of course it wasn’t like that in the book but I just really thought it made the whole movie ridiculous. The movie was OK with me up until then and it was a well made film but I still think it was overrated. The story as a whole was just such a letdown, and I thought the Blomkvist character in the book was so overdone.  Everywhere he goes women of all types just throw themselves at him, it’s just tacky if nothing else, the pipe dream of a man that didn’t get laid enough in his life.  Daniel Craig wasn’t bad in the role though and the character wasn’t so annoying in the film. If nothing else the movie was great for seeing a lot of Mara Rooney naked, and she looked so sexy with those piercings and tattoos. Apparently there aren’t many who share my opinion of the book and movie though, they were both very successful.

This movie is dark, gritty, and mind blowing.  It was really well made and the screenwriter did a great job of adapting the story into a film.  What made this movie just as good though was the acting.  Brad Pitt was the king of cool in this movie, and he solidified his image with men as much as he already had with women in this movie. Pitt was more ripped than any man should be in this movie, he smokes nonstop, and he always had something either interesting or really cool to say.  Ed Norton was just as good and it is his character we see the most arc from.  What I never really realized until someone pointed it out to me was that Norton doesn’t have a name in the movie.  His character in the credits is simply listed as Narrator. Norton was on a role at the time this movie was made and he was in several great movies at the time.  His star has faded in the last ten years though and I am not sure why.  I know that he got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit for The Incredible Hulk and was not asked back to do The Avengers because of it.  I think that was a shame because I really liked Norton as Bruce Banner and was hoping for him to get back on top with the franchise.  Helena Bonham Carter is so dirty in this movie, yet still has something sexy to her that I think everyone can see.  I am a big fan of Carter and while for some reason she chooses roles that make her look unattractive I still find her to be sexy, even as she gets older.  This movie nearly got an NC-17 rating for a line she spoke that was taken from the book but it was cut to get the R rating.  At one point she tells Tyler Durden that she wants him to get her pregnant so she can have his abortion.  I think cutting it was understandable, even for a pro-choice person that seems too wrong.

Speaking of dialogue that was cut I think it is important to mention where it was simply changed.  The ingredients given for napalm and dynamite in the movie are not correct.  They were changed for the obvious reasons although the book does describe the correct ingredients in it.  Good thing for all of us that a lot fewer people read the book, but that information is unfortunately available to anybody clever enough to get on the internet, so beware.  I can see this movie being a dangerous influence to some people but that isn’t the case for all.  For all people of sound mind this is simply a fascinating and awesome movie.  I can’t say that I would recommend this movie to anyone because I don’t see it as being for everyone.  It has found an audience in very unusual demographics though according to the afterword by Palahniuk in his book.  So while maybe I’m not sure who and who I should recommend this movie to I can tell you that it is definitely worth your time to see it if you haven’t already.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Fight Club is one of those movies that most people have seen and loved. I think it mostly had to do with Brad Pitt being a completely gorgeous little badass. This movie is twisted in every sense of the word, and is put together in a seamless way. It is a super dark movie and follows the life of Edward Norton as his character changes throughout the movie and ultimately comes to a dramatic realization in the end.

I would be surprised to hear that you haven’t seen this movie, especially if you read our blog, so I will say go now and watch this movie. It will only add to your cool factor if nothing else, and other than that it is just damn well worth your time.

NEXT MOVIE: Fire in the Sky (1993)