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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Saw the remake last night. I had raved about the original movie nine months ago.

From the previews of the new version, it had looked as if Hollywood just wanted an English language version featuring actors with better cheekbones. Here are the stars of the two versions:

I found it hard to judge the new version, having just seen the other movie (and read the book). Whatever dramatic tension existed, I was somewhat numb to, since I already knew what was going to happen. And every time there was a departure from the original, instead of thinking, wow, that's ingenious, I'd think, wait a sec, that's not how it's supposed to happen.

It was a little as if I was reading two books side by side, and constantly going back and forth: it made it hard to lose myself in the fantasy.

Daniel Craig deglamorized himself well enough to be believable as a journalist. He laid off the steroids, usually had a couple days growth of white beard, and wore glasses. For half the movie he looked as if he had just gotten out of bed, the mark of an actor who can shed his vanity -- and act.

Not even heavy Goth make up and piercings could disguise Rooney Mara's good looks. She didn't give quite as hard-edged or feral a performance as Noomi Rapace, the half-Gypsy Swedish actress. But you couldn't really expect that from the granddaughter of Wellington Mara, owner of the NY Giants.

So, the new version has my recommendation. I think. But maybe not so much if you've already seen the Swedish version.


Steven said...

My dad's fiance's best friend is a writer, director and former soap actor. He was on a train when he got talking to a woman who said her son was an actor. When he was getting off the train, he gave some encouragement: "tell him not to give up, keep going to auditions."

"Oh, by the way, what's his name?"

"Daniel Craig".

John Craig said...

Steven --
I'm a big Daniel Craig fan, think he's easily the second set Bond ever. (And he's actually a better actor than the best Bond, Connery, though that's not saying much.)

Steven said...

When he first signed on, I couldn't accept the blonde hair. But then I saw Casino Royale and thought it was very good. Then the one after that was terrible.

I'm not really a bond fan tbh. At the risk of sounding like a pretentious critic, it seems a bit one dimensional and trite to me and the old ones are just boring (sorry if that sounds like blasphemy to you). I guess Casino Royale is the only one I've really liked.

I much prefer the Bourne trilogy- one of my favourite trilogies.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Quantum of Solace was pretty bad, and as Craig later explained it, it was because it took place during a writers' strike, and Craig himself ended up writing some of the script, and, as he said, he's no writer.

I can see why you think the earlier Bonds are boring. But you have to remember, when they first came out in the early 60's, they were the coolest, sexiest things we'd ever seen. Movies have, in fits and starts, generally progressed since then. The acting has gotten better, the dialogue has improved, and the plots have gotten tighter and more realistic.

Steven said...

Amen to that. The dialogue in old films doesn't seem authentic to me. Realistic dialogue would include swearing and topics that weren't allowed, so it seems limited and sort of theatrical.

Some of those old films had a lot of substance to them though, even though they are kind of slow.