Monday, July 11, 2011

5. The Millennium Trilogy (2009)


I would have never done it, Lisbeth. But I understand why you did. I don't know what you have experienced. But I was about to die in that cellar, and you saved my life. Whatever you have seen, you don't need to tell me. I'm just happy that you're here.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 8/10
The Girl Who Played with Fire 8/10
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest 7/10

These three movies adapt Stieg Larsson's popular books of the same name. The first installment introduces the characters and is an intriguing murder mystery, while the second two delve into the background of one of the most protagonists I have encountered in fiction in quite a while: Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is a punk-hacker-lesbian-bada$$ who just happens to have been taken advantage of by every male figure of authority in her life. She reluctantly joins forces with the editor of the "Millennium" tabloid magazine to solve an old murder, and in doing so discovers a whole world of trouble for herself. While not my usual fare (i.e. there really isn't much of a love story), these movies completely enveloped me in mystery, thrill, and worry for three nights.

Odds are you probably haven't heard of these movies (even if you have heard of the books), and if you have, it's probably from the early ads of the American version from director David Fincher to be released this Christmas. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in movies. The movie already exists. Do we really need to completely remake it for "English-speaking" audiences? Do we really need to throw in James Bond and a cutesy model to play the main characters? Are audiences that lazy that they refuse to read subtitles? This happened before with the 2001 remake of the 1997 film "Abre Los Ojos". You probably know it as "Vanilla Sky". And again with "The Ring", remake of "Ringu". In both cases the films were near shot-for-shot remakes, with English as the main language and recognizable actors and actresses. Wouldn't audiences be better served if David Fincher, Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright, and Stellan Skarsgaard had spent the last couple of years creating an original piece of cinema instead of sanitizing a perfectly good film for the masses?

Bottom Line: Don't wait for Christmas, these movies are already out (and readily available at your local Redbox or Netflix). You should see them. Note: A central plot point of the trilogy revolves around one particularly gruesome sexual scene. It is not played for thrills, but is pretty tough to watch. I usually don't like to see that type of stuff, but the films taken as a whole make up for it.

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