So, which is better? The book? The original movie? Or, the remake by David Fincher?
The quick answer is all three.
I rented the original movie first, read the book then watched the remake and have to say each of the movies keeps faithful enough to the book.
The book is heavy enough with plot where HBO could have made a television series into it and ran it for three seasons, one season per book. Instead, we get David Fincher directing Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist, found guilty of libel by reporting that big money fat cat is using his money in illegal ways. To help Mikael forget about all those people in walks Frode played by Steven Berkoff, Frode works for Henrik Vanger played by Christopher Plummer, once CEO of Vanger Industries, now retired and living on island littered with homes that makes the MacMansions on Lake Winnipesaukee look tame. Henrik has problem: it seems his niece, Harriet disappeared thirty years ago and ever since someone has been sending him flowers the same way his niece did before she disappeared.
Henrik hires Mikael to do several things: Write a fake memoir and investigate Harriet’s disappearance. Along the way the family skeletons are brought out, everyone hates everyone else, half the family were Nazis and oh, right and everyone wants Mikael off the case. As the case begins to get deeper Mikael asks for help and he gets it in the form of Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara who essentially steals the entire movie from everyone.
At first, I was weary of this remake, the publicity shots of Rooney at Lisbeth looked like they were trying too hard for the look that Noomi Rapace pulled off so well.
But, the trailers won me over and I thoroughly enjoyed this two hour and fifty minute movie. Oh, it’s probably a good idea to tell you know, the water rationing that you may have used for Lord of the Rings Trilogy should be used for Dragon Tattoo.
Mara plays the damaged ward/uber hacker quite well and looks the part. Her scenes with her previous guardian and new guardian are kept in the movie while any mention of her mother was jettisoned. The subplot was Salander’s encounters with her pervy guardian are just as raw as the original movie and I think Mara pulls off the caged beast better than Noomi did at times. From some of the interviews it sounds like they even got the hacking down properly, too.
The remake follows the novel, although it deviates here and there for the sake of timing until it reaches the end where it really deviates at the climax and the final twenty minutes. I felt the deviation was not as drastic as Greedo shooting first, I saw it more as condensed for the sake of time. I think we can all agree the trip to Australia was just a bit too much. Many of the scenes shown were in there for a reason and most of the fat was cut. It will be interesting to see what deleted scenes if any make it onto DVD.
Overall, it’s worth seeing, the direction is good, the lightning is perfect, acting is sound and the music (all 3 CDs of it) fell like it belonged. Worth seeing if you have nothing better to do and want to watch a movie that doesn’t pander to the audience.