Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009 movie)

After reading the book, I knew I had to watch the movie. Usually, I’m apprehensive about movies based on books, but for some reason,I felt a little better about this one because like the book, the movie is Swedish.  Apparently, there’s an American remake in the works. I wanted to catch the Swedish version before it left theaters.

The Swedish movie was one of the better book to movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.  From watching the trailers, I thought that the actress who portrays Lisbeth Salander looked too old, but in the movie, she was frighteningly perfect! And kinda hot in a “oh my god, she’s going to break my neck” hot.

Unfortunately, I thought the actor who played Mikael Blomkvist wasn’t cast as well. He was a good actor, but he wasn’t who I pictured. From the book, I got the impression that he was quite suave and handsome, but the actor didn’t give off that vibe in the movie.

The movie stays very true to the book in terms of plot even though there are a couple of understandable changes.  It was kind of a cliff-notes version of the book, but not in a bad way.

It’s hard to say if I would have liked the movie as a standalone movie since I read the book before watching it. Will, who watched the movie without reading the book enjoyed it too and didn’t feel like he was missing key points of the story.  It doesn’t have all the car chases and explosions of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s a decent mystery/thriller.  I can’t wait for the sequel.

An Un-spoilered Review: Moon (2009)


Moon was released in a handful of theaters in LA last weekend. From the trailers, I thought it would be like Solaris. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say it’s very different. I like it more then Solaris.

I don’t want to give too much of the movie away, but Sam Rockwell did a really good job.

Watch Moon if:

  • You like science fiction.
  • You like old-school science fiction — movies about the human condition, ethics, etc. instead of laser beams and space chases.
  • You like Clint Mansell’s scores. He did The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream.
  • You like Kevin Spacey.
  • You need a break from explosion-filled summer Hollywood blockbusters.
  • It’s playing near you.

Watchmen

I went to the midnight opening of Watchmen like most fans probably did and I tried not to have my expectations too high. I already read that the filmmakers changed the ending from the way it was in the book, but I was curious if their change would work.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, so I’m just going to do a list of things I liked and didn’t like about the movie without giving the plot away.

Likes:

  • Costumes. I thought they stayed true to the comic.
  • Set decoration. Some of the scenes looked like they used a panel in the comic as the storyboard. Very cool seeing the comic come to life.
  • The Comedian. Man, that guy was well-casted.
  • Dr. Manhattan. I liked the special effects they gave him and his facial expressions (or lack of).
  • Dan Dreiberg. In the comic, he’s clumsy and muted. The actor who played him brought it out perfectly.
  • The ending change — kind of. I was dreading the ending in the movie because I thought it’d be bad, but it actually tied up the loose ends in the movie nicely. I still prefer the book’s ending, but it wouldn’t be possible unless they added a lot more content in the movie.
  • Rorschach. At first I thought his scratchy voice would bug me, but it fit his character pretty well. And unmasked, he was the comic come to life.

Dislikes:

  • Dr. Manhattan’s penis enlargement. Maybe he succumbed to all the spam in his inbox and decided to try some magic pills. Was it really necessary to make his penis so large in the movie? The first time I read the book, I didn’t even notice the peen until someone pointed it out. But in the movie? Definitely noticed.
  • The soundtrack. It’s not that the songs were bad. I liked most of the songs. But they just felt so heavy handed with the scene they accompanied. It felt inappropriate.
  • Gratuitous use of slow motion. Yes, the fight choreography was pretty to look at. That doesn’t mean I want to see everything in slow motion. The movie could be trimmed down by an hour if Snyder would just quit it with the slow motion.
  • Scene transitions. Instead of a coherent story, some parts of the movie just seemed like a checklist of scenes they needed to put in the movie.
  • Bubastis. There’s no reason for her to be in the movie if they change the ending.
  • Sex-scene. Too long, gratuitous and most of the theater was laughing. I don’t really know what the point of that scene was.
  • The actress who plays Laurie. Her bad acting was so blatant compared to the great actors: The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, even Dan.
  • The gore. Gratuitous again. I didn’t come to watch a gore movie. I don’t want to see blood spurting in every directly in the Watchmen.
  • The long-winded explanation in the end. The ending felt like “Watchmen For Dummies.” I don’t need the master plan to be explained to me three times.