It took me several tries to get past the beginning of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but once I did, I was riveted. I plowed through the trilogy and fell in love with Lisbeth Salander’s strength and tenacity. Watching Niels Arden Oplev’s film version, I found myself terribly disappointed that it captured none of the book’s intensity and left me feeling that most of the familiar characters were strangers. So, even for those of us usually opposed to reboots and remakes, it came as welcome news that director David Fincher was quickly jumping on the franchise and putting out an American version. Normally, typing that phrase would make my fingers feel dirty, but especially once the casting, details, photos and music began to leak, it was clear this is a good thing. There is no doubt this will be the better version and here are the top five reasons:
5. David Fincher knows how to go dark: Zodiac, Seven , Fight Club, The Game. He’ll take us down into the hole and leave us squirming.
4. Trent Reznor, along with Atticus Ross, is scoring the film. The pair teamed up on The Social Network score and won themselves a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Score. You can listen to a preview of the score here.
3. Stellan Skarsgård and Christopher Plummer as the Martin and Henrik Vanger, respectively. Two outstanding, amazing actors with the gravitas to carry their roles. And I’ll be damned if they don’t look exactly as I pictured them when I was reading the book.
The rest of the supporting cast rocks too: Robin Wright, Joel Richardson, Joel Kinnaman, Goran Visnjic, Julian Sands…
2. Daniel Craig. Let’s face it, Craig is prettier than Nyqvist and he is therefore a better fit as Blomkvist. I haven’t seen Nyqvist in any other films, but his performance as Mikael Blomkvist was disappointing not only because of his physicality, but because he displayed no charm whatsoever. It was incomprehensible that several women would find him as alluring as the book described the character.
Simply put, it sets the tone. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a dark and brutal novel; while Oplev’s version was gritty, it didn’t begin to capture the book’s heart-pounding terror. I dare say, it was boring; there’s nowhere to go but up.
Honorable mention: Rooney Mara.
The one good thing about the original film was Noomi Rapace. She was fantastic. But from all the visuals we’ve seen thus far, Rooney looks the part and heck, her name is just as interesting. That’s a good sign, right?
Along with the header image, here are a couple of photos just released:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be in theaters December 21, 2011.
Cindy Davis has nary a tattoo nor a dragon.