I seem to be one of the few people I know who likes this movie >_>. And I wasn’t coming into this film in the best of spirits. First off, War Horse was very long so I was kind of tired and I was extremely annoyed at the amount of disruptions during that film; so by all accounts if The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was boring or not good, I would have completely lost interest, but I didn’t. I was hooked into everything right from the start and didn’t lose interest once during the 2 hour and 38 minute runtime.
I’ve seen the 2009 Swedish adaptation and while the plot points are similar, I think that Fincher adds just enough to make this his own. First off the acting is phenomenal, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are fantastic as the leads, and, secondly, Fincher is as meticulous a director as they come and the way the film is pieced together is a work of art.
Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are just infinitely watchable leads. Craig does a great job as Mikael Blomkvist, but this is clearly the Rooney Mara show because she OWNS every second of screen time that she gets as Lisbeth Salander. There is a reason this trilogy of books has become one of the most popular books in recent years and Lisbeth Salander is it. She is just such a fascinating antihero; An enigma that you want to find out more about and Mara plays it perfectly. She is a world of contradictions: intimidating but soft hearted, cold but affectionate, indifferent but caring; Lisbeth is one of the most interesting characters ever created.
A big reason this film works despite using the exact same story adapted just a few years ago is David Fincher. Fincher is known as a perfectionist, sometimes he’ll do up to 80 takes of a scene in order to get it 100% PERFECT. Some may criticize him for this approach, but Fincher is a director who knows EXACTLY what he wants and that always comes through in his films. When you watch a scene, everything feels like it was done with careful thought and purpose. The way Fincher puts this film together keeps you interested in everything going on and keeps the film moving at a swift pace. He showed this skill in Seven, but Fincher has a knack for making what should be boring - like say… gathering clues by looking through books - extremely exciting.
A lot of the problems of the film are due to the fact that the book itself has similar problems with structure and plot mechanics. This film streamlines some of the side relationships which helps a lot, but it also doesn’t tie the main relationships together strongly enough. As with the Swedish adaptation, I don’t think they ever fully establish just how much Harriet’s disappearance tore at Henrik’s soul. There’s maybe a scene or two, but Henrik vanishes for a good 90-100 minutes in the middle to focus on the investigation. I also found it odd that a few huge discoveries that break open the case in the book and the Swedish version become minor plot points in this one.
I do wish that there was a little more attention to detail on the villains of this film. The book does a great job of building up those characters by showing us how they came to be, whereas in the movie it seems like they’re just crazy demented motherfuckers who are sick in the head. Even in the Swedish movie they had one scene where they discussed the psychology behind these kind of people. Disappointing that they didn’t delve into that in this film.
David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an engrossing film that draws you into the mystery of the disappearance of a young girl. While there are some flaws with the plot mechanics of the film, the superb performances and stellar direction propel the story. I will say that if you have no idea what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is, this movie is not for the faint of heart and it keeps up the tension throughout the film. If you’re looking for a great thriller over this winter break, give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a shot.
Just a few details I want to get into to that contains spoilers. So don’t click on “read more” unless you’ve seen the movie and read the book!Read more
OFFICIAL GREEN BAND TRAILER FOR DAVID FINCHER’S THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO!!!
No nude Rooney Mara (only from the back) or bloody Daniel Craig, but for the most part a similarly cut trailer as the red band one. I’ve heard everyone talk about this series of books but now I KNOW I need to read them before this film comes out at the end of the year. David Fincher and Daniel Craig, doesn’t that combination just sound like it’s made of win?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo red band trailer! Watch it now before they take it down!
David Fincher you brilliant son of a bitch, you’ve done it AGAIN! Trent Reznor killing it AGAIN on the soundtrack, this movie looks fucking AMAZING! Fincher wants his fucking Oscar hahaha.
The summer movie season begins! I managed to see Thor and take a little time out of my essay writing schedule lol. Man… it’s kind of hard to believe that Thor is finally here. I swear, the first Iron Man movie felt like it wasn’t too long ago, but that was 3 years ago!
Okay, when I heard Kenneth Branagh, a guy who mostly does Shakespeare type stuff, was doing Thor, I must admit that it got my attention because it’s such a peculiar choice and I wondered why Ken Branagh would choose to do a big budget, big visual effects type of movie. Then he started to assemble the cast together and it definitely got me even more intrigued because people like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman were signing on to do a superhero movie.
Not even going to lie to you guys, when I saw the numerous trailers and TV spots for Thor, I thought they just looked okay. None of the trailers got me that excited for the movie. It basically just looked like another superhero origin story and we’ve seen that a hundred times already. Plus, Chris Hemsworth in those spots did not inspire confidence for me, his line deliveries just seemed off. I saw on RottenTomatoes that they let critics review the movie like 2-3 weeks in advance, so that gave me hope because obviously the studio had enough confidence in the movie to let critics see it early. With about 60 review it was at over 90%, which shocked me, but if you looked at the average rating it was at about 6.8 which is somewhat low. It’s currently sitting at a 79% with a 6.8 average rating, so it’s dipped a bit.
All right, all right, enough with the preliminaries. Thor… what did I think? If I could sum it up into one sentence I would say that Thor is everything that the movie going public could want in a blockbuster superhero film. Spectacular visuals, cool action, humorous, dramatic, all that. I don’t think it was a perfect film, but in comparison to other superhero films, I do think this is higher up than most. Since they started building this world in 2008 with Iron Man, I think this is easily the best Marvel film. I’m not a big fan of either Iron Man film (both 6/10’s in my book), I think the first is good for the first watch but loses a lot of value on repeat viewings and the second was hugely disappointing. The Incredible Hulk was good, but nothing amazing. I think Thor is the first GREAT Marvel film.
Okay, I said I wasn’t sure about Chris Hemsworth from the trailers. Well after seeing the movie let me just say upfront that clearly the trailers were a misrepresentation of Chris Hemsworth’s acting abilities. The guy was flat out amazing as Thor to put it simply. Hemsworth is charming, charismatic, and even though he’s arrogant at times, he has an instant likability that flows through the screen. I would even go so far as to say that his performance as Thor equals (dare I say surpasses?) Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Iron Man. I think that Thor’s flaws and shortcomings as a person is what makes him a lot more interesting and more easy to identify with. It’s not as if he’s arrogant for no reason and his character arc is extremely satisfying by the time the movie reaches it’s end.
The acting overall is impressive all around. Anthony Hopkins, who by the way has been in a lot of complete shit movies recently, is perfect as the King, father, and mentor to Thor. He has that cool, calm, collected spirit of a leader, but he can also get very intense or emotional over his sons. Another person who deserves a lot of credit is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. You definitely understand where his character is coming from as certain revelations are made to him, he’s not just the typical antagonist who wants power or to take over the world.
I also thought that the contrast between Thor’s world and Earth was put to great use. There’s a lot of scenes and situations that are hilarious to watch because Thor is so pompous and people on Earth are like “WTF is up with this guy?” haha. The movie was a lot funnier than the trailers let off.
Ken Branagh’s direction impressed me in some aspects and were lacking in others. I think that where Branagh shines the most is the character drama. Each character has their own motivations pushing them through the movie and the relationships, not the action or visuals, are definitely at the forefront of the picture. I definitely appreciate that because when you care about the characters, it only amplifies the intensity and drama of the action scenes; I think that this is what ultimately separates Thor as the best of the recent Marvel films for me personally. The relationship between Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane felt slightly rushed (maybe because I watched Before Sunset the day before lol), but overall worked so well. The chemistry is definitely there between Hemsworth and Portman and I won’t give away the final shot of the film, but I thought it was so poignant, beautiful, and hopeful, everything that I would want from a romance in a film; it was just so well done that I literally went “awwwww” in my head right before the credits started rolling.
Where I do have some concerns is in regards to how competent Branagh is from an action standpoint. There are numerous money shots which are spectacular, but his editing of the action scenes are headache inducing at times. I’m personally a fan of longer, wider takes for action, but when done right, a properly done and heavily edited action scene can work well (see any Jackie Chan or martial arts film, or even the Bourne films). The cameras are too up close and personal and when there’s so many cuts from so many different angles, it’s tough to get a grip on what’s going on sometimes. It’s frustrating because there is a lot of cool shit happening but half the time I can’t see it!
In addition, the CGI implementation isn’t done well in certain action scenes where it clearly feels like actors running with a green screen. Maybe it’s just because I saw Fast Five last week which did a lot of stunts/action for real, but Thor felt artificial at times. I know you can’t exactly shoot Thor’s locations on a real location, but CGI use is seriously hampering a lot of action films these days and it does hurt Thor on occasion, but not too often. This is not to say that the film’s action is bad, it’s very satisfying, but at points these little details really irked me.
Besides the CGI use during action scenes, the other CGI use for landscapes and worlds is top notch. Even though the back and forth contrast and transition between Asgard, Jotunheim, and Earth isn’t always smooth, they always look good. You’d expect as much from a film with Thor’s budget, but a lot of movies with huge budgets end up looking spectacularly crappy (think Mummy 3 or G.I. Joe). It looked like they spent more time creating a better looking Asgard more so than Jotunheim though. I know Jotunheim isn’t supposed to be pretty or anything, but it just kind of looked dull, from a design standpoint, the CGI world of it was certainly top notch. In fact, I remember seeing a chunk of mountain fall off and I though “damn it, I know they did that in a computer, but it looks like it could’ve been real!”
If you’re looking to start off the summer movie season with a bang, definitely go see Thor. The movie has everything that you want from a summer blockbuster and more. Branagh gives these otherworldly characters a sense of humanity and there are certainly enough thrills for the action junkies. You definitely want to catch Thor in theaters, it’s a wonderful film. I’m definitely going to see it again… as soon as I’m done with school haha.