Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book to Movie: The Girl Who Played with Fire & Kicked the Hornet's Nest (foreign)

Review:  It really took a while for me to warm up to these movies, but by then end I was enjoying them.  Perhaps, because the third book is by far my favorite, the anticipation for it being on film overtook my lack of enthusiasm for the movies themselves. 

I gave up on watching these with my husband, because if you haven't read at least some part of the books, and he hasn't, they're kind of difficult to follow.  It almost feels like a montage of scenes chosen from the book with the storyline in mind, instead of a plot driven movie.  I know some things have to be cut to make a movie, but these books are so detailed and so intense, that I don't know if any movie will be able to do them justice. I will be interested to see how the American versions will handle this.

I originally said I didn't like what they changed in the climax of the first movie, but not having read further in the series, I couldn't really comment (my review of the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Having read and watched them all, I want to revisit it because it has bearing. The film both pulled from future stories and changed the storyline. It's the storyline change that bothers me. It changes how the audience views Lisbeth Salander. When so much is cut and so much of Lisbeth's background and mindset is lost in the movies, I think that change was unforgivable.  It really tainted how I viewed the rest of the series.

The Girl Who Played with Fire was, in my mind, the biggest offender when it came to montages of scenes.  There were some major cuts to the storyline and loss of context because of that and it suffered for it.  The viewer got little of Salander's life on the run and next to none of the story from Blomkvist's investigation or the internal struggle within the police investigation (which left them looking like bumbling idiots when they were not).  Also so much of the relationships between the characters was sacrificed that it made it hard to connect.

However, I think The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was the best of all three movies.  There was even some rewriting (without changing the storyline) to make the plot more contiguous with all the cuts that had to be made.  By this time, I'd really begun to warm to the cast too.  I thought the ending of the third movie was a little more ambiguous than Larsson left things in his novel, but it fit with the timbre of the films.

I'll end this review the way I ended my review of the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for I stand by it.  If you've read the series, this is an interesting study in Larsson. If you haven't read the books (and you definitely should!), wait for the American version. 



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