Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rated D - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Welcome Back to Rated D... or as we shall dub it this time...

The Gorilla With the Dragon Review!

A couple of weeks ago, Erika and I went to see a movie called "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". SPOILER ALERT: After being convicted of libel, a journalist and a troubled researcher are recruited by an aging businessman to solve the mystery of his niece's disappearance.

After doing these Rated D reviews for close to a year now, I realize that this is the first time I'm reviewing a movie which was based on a book that I had previously read. That being said, I'm not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Let me explain... After hearing so many wonderful things about the book and noticing the entire trilogy available for rent on DVD, I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and read "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". When finished, I really wasn't sure I understood what all the hype was about... I enjoyed it, but I found it to be pretty slow with choppy writing (that might be due to the translation) and two somewhat unusual endings. Still though, it was a unique story that touched on some disturbing themes and developed at least one seriously intriguing character. Then came the movie. Director David Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club) seemed to have reached into my mind's eye, put it on the screen, and then dimmed the lights a little. The film opens with an intense, extended opening credits sequence that sets the tone for the film and suddenly you are on the streets of Sweden with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, played by Daniel Craig (The Jacket, Casino Royale). Fincher wastes no time putting Blomkvist to work... and I mean, he really wastes no time. Last year, it was amazing how fast everything moved in his wonderful film "The Social Network", but this time around, I felt like things were moving really fast, but I wasn't sure why. Anyway, the story gets kicked into high gear. Blomkvist is charged with finding the murderer of a young Swedish girl that has gone unsolved for forty years. Succeed and he will be rewarded with proof that his "libel" claimes were no such thing. There's the rub... The story moves fast and I found myself wondering whether or not you would be able to keep up had you not read the book prior to viewing, but still I was wrapped up nicely and glued to my seat. Then she walked in... Rooney Mara (The Social Network, Youth in Revolt) delivers one of my favorite performances of the year as the beaten not broken, socially challenged and psychologically disturbed, Lisbeth Salander, who is brought in as a research assistant to help find a "killer of women" who is gone unnoticed all this time. There's some debate as to whether her performance is as good as the performance given by Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes 2, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), the Swedish Lisbeth Salander, but we can talk about that later if you'd like. Anywho, the movie is well-shot, well-acted, and well-directed, but I still feel like they are catering to the audience that has read the book. Evenso, if you can keep up with plot, you should enjoy the performances given, not the least of which is from the always dependable Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest) and the no-way-he-just-turned-83! Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, Inside Man). All in all, I'm torn with the opinion I share of how head-on they nailed the movie versus how well you could enjoy it if you hadn't read the book which I can't look at unbiasedly. Still, the performance from Rooney alone and the almost-so-well-done-I-almost-forgot-to-mention turn from Yorick van Wageningen (The New World, The Chronicles of Riddick).

To Tie It Back to Health & Fitness...
The movie didn't feature Sweden as much as I thought it would which led me to beleive the perhaps Sweden is truly only known for tall, beautiful, blonde women (which I can personally attest to) and meatballs. Swedish Meatballs, though delicious, typically contain around 8 - 9 grams of fat per serving. These tasty little snacks are deceptive, like most appetizers, and should be monitored, especially during parties!
"It was then that I noticed that Harriet wasn't there. And she wasn't there the next morning, or the next, or the next 40 years." - Christopher Lee as Henrik Vanger

Technically Speaking...
I really liked it a lot but like I said in the beginning, I already knew the story. Everything was technically awesome, but they are definitely setting this movie up for the unavoidable trilogy which will explain the awfully unsettling ending (...again.. for those who haven't read the book). Still, a great adapted script and wonderful directing and cinematography make for a compelling film.

REVIEW - 4 flim flam flooshes out of 5... (Swedish Chef... No?)

A List of Fives
This Week's List... Dragons!

Movies with Dragons!

1. Reign of Fire - This movie gets a lot of flack for apparently... being awful...? but what!? It's a great idea! Miners accidentally disturb the nest of Dragons that have been "hibernating" since the extinction of dinosaurs... It should've been an hour longer with way more characters but Christian Bale (Batman Begins, Newsies) and Gerard Butler (300, Gamer) are great.

2. Enchanted - Funny and cute. A cartoon princess accidentally crosses over into the real world thanks to the tricks of an evil queen. It's pretty forgettable but while you're watching it, this flick's pretty fun and sweet. Look for a hilariously committed Jason Marsden (X-Men, Sex Drive).

3. Shrek 2 - Not exactly what you think of when you thik of dragon flicks, but Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy (The Nutty Professor, 48 Hours), has an extremely entertaining scene or two with this very well animated dragon in this "not as great as the original" sequel.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - My favorite HP flick is "The Prisoner of Azkaban" but the runner of up is definitely this one. Let's face it, the only way they could make up for a lack of Sirius Black was through a challenge that included four dragons. Yep, that's how badass Gary Oldman is.

5. Godzilla 2000 - Yeah.... had to rack my brain a little to find this one. Apparently in this flick, Godzilla was created due to French nuclear bomb testing that effected kimono dragons. It's pretty awful.. and yeah... that's about all I have to say about that one.

Still Haven't Seen It?
Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides - I actually had the opportunity to see this one and didn't bother. Let me explain... again... Jack Sparrow is back again, this time searching for the Fountain of Youth while the notorious Blackbeard nips at his heels in the fourth installment of this promising franchise. I think that the Pirates franchise is great and they should continue to make them, but they need to try harder! Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Secret Window) created a fantastic character that was funny because of who he was, now the writers try to take the funny character and make him funnier. Johnny Depp will make his character funny, focus more on the story being good. This flick has a great plot, but again they waste their time with trying to make it "hilarious" rather than trusting the movie to be good. I, for one, would love to see as many Pirates movies as they can make, but my fear is that if they continue to give up trying halfway through, they are going to lose money and Disney will decide it's not worth it. Ok... stepping off my soapbox... It's not as bad as you might have heard, but it's also not as fun as it should ::slash:: (yep, I just wrote out slash) can/should be.

Next Time on Rated D -

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Already saw this and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol but, to quote Tiffany Amber Theissan, "I've just been really, really busy..."

-Gorilla Man

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