Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ten Statements About....THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009)

"Woke up one morning/And got myself a gun..."
"Thank You For Being My Friend."

1) While I understand the impulse of taking the gimmick of the first hour of the previous film and create an entire film where our heroes never meet until the end, it doesn't quite work. The chemisty between Rapace and Nyqvist was strong enough for us to bull through ...Dragon Tattoo's slower bits, and that chemistry is gone here. Besides, it simply makes little sense for Lisbeth not to reach out to Mikael sooner. Yes, she finds it difficult to make lasting friendships, but we see she's capable of doing so both in the previous film and here....

2) Even though I swore they mentioned her previous guardian as dying, I liked the inclusion of Holger Palmgren in this film. Not only does his inclusion allows for the splitting of The Great Gobs of Exposition in this movie, it allows us to see a different side of Lisbeth--you definitely get the impression that she has a great deal of affection and love for this old man, and may even look upon him as a father figure. That being said...

3) There's way too many new POV characters. We spend so much time with Miriam and Paolo and Bublanski and Dag and so on that the two people who are supposed to be the heros of this film series are diminished. But at least Mikael gets to do some digging; for a very long stretch all Lisbeth gets to do is sit and either look intensely at a laptop or stare at a television screen.

Why am I not surprised that Lisbeth Salander
is a Yankees fan?
4) There were moments early on where I thought Bublanski was going to be an interesting character, someone who would be Lt. Jacoby to Mikael and Lisbeth's composite Peter Gunn. But then he fades into the background and doesn't give up any of the life we thought he'd contribute to this film.

5) The film noir feel of ....Dragon Tattoo seems to have been replaced by a sort of international thriller vibe...and it doesn't work as well.

6) Is it just me...or is the whole sex trafficking angle dropped whole towards the end of the second act?

7) I do like the fact that we get a little more sense of Millenium as a working magazine, and the small scenes of Mikael acting as a sort of mentor to Dag works to give him a better sense of a life prior to these movies.

"I must break you...."

8) I honestly have no idea how Lisbeth escapes the trap the villain puts her in...oh, I know how she drags herself out of where he puts her in, but I have no idea how she survives being shot multiple times. So much of that last ten minutes is very hazy for me. And speaking of the villains....

9) They seemed, quite frankly, to have wandered in off the set of a spy movie--which is partially why the film noir feel is gone. And by giving the henchman what amounts to a super-power--and no real personality beyond said super-power--leeches away some of the verisimilitude of the first film.

10) That damned sequence from ....Dragon Tattoo. Do I understand why we needed to revisit it, so that we can tie up one of the loose ends and simultaneously use it as an entry into the new adventure? Sure. Did we really need to relive it a number of times, including flashbacks to the previous films? I don't think so.

Overall...I'll be the first to admit that it would've been difficult to live up to the standards of the first film in this trilogy, but I was shocked at how dissatisfying this one was--especially given how much information designed to flesh out the mythology of this series is given out. Hopefully, the final film will rise above this falter.

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