The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has been a publishing and film phenomenon long before Director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) got the gig to helm the American-produced version of the best-selling novel (the first of a popular trilogy) by Swedish author Steig Larsson. The late author’s heroine creation of Lisbeth Salander – a socially awkward, but rebellious hacker/researcher who has endured various forms of abuse and manipulation since childhood, has become a now infamous literary character.
The three books (including The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) were then turned into three Swedish-made films that were highly successful, thanks in no small part to the dynamite portrayal of Lisbeth by actress Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows, Prometheus). It was only a matter of time before a major U.S. studio was going to spin their own version, but many believed it couldn’t compare to what had already been done on the pages and the original screen version.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo begins Lisbeth Salander’s (now played by The Social Network’s Rooney Mara) story as she is recruited by a discredited, but respected journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig from Casino Royale) to assist in a decades old family murder mystery that’s haunted well-known Swedish industrialist Henrik Vanger (Academy-Award winner Christopher Plummer). But the film also deals with various sub-plots found in the book, including Lisbeth’s ordeal with her deviant guardian and Mikael’s personal vendetta against the man who discredited him, Hans Wennerstrom.
Ultimately, David Fincher is perhaps the logical choice to helm this edgy material. The filmmaker has always been at his best when handling tales of murderous killers (Se7en, Zodiac) and dark anti-heroes (Fight Club). His visual style creates an excellent tone and mood appropriate for the story.
Although the film struggles to find a rhythm in the beginning act (much like the book), the over-all adaptation is well-executed. Mara’s performance is undoubtedly strong and worthy of recognition, but there’s something missing that Noomi Rapace was able to capture far better in terms of presence and purpose.
Daniel Craig is a much more inspired choice as Blomvkist, the middle-aged journalist with the looks and charm that seems to capture the sex-drive of every female character in the novel (who better than James Bond, either than maybe say, George Clooney?). His chemistry with Mara is palpable and better than the Swedish version that featured Michael Nyqvest in the role.
The small imperfections and flaws of the film are more than made up for with this incredible Blu-ray/DVD package. The video and audio qualities of the movie are extremely sharp and crisp on detail, giving a viewer a tremendous punch on a sound system and a high-definition telelvision.
The bonus content supplied over two Blu-ray discs is nothing short of extensive. Fincher gives a formidable audio commentary, while viewers are treated to a vast array of featurettes covering almost every angle of production and character. From filming in Sweden, to the extensive casting process for Lisbeth, no bit of pertinent information is lost to fans.
Fincher, Craig, Mara and various actors/crewmembers provide a multitude of interviews that are incredibly informative and candid over behind-the-scenes footage, test screenings, sound recordings and more. Some of the other best highlights is a breakdown of the electric opening credit sequence and a full collection of promotional advertising.
The standard DVD copy which acts as the third disc also contains Fincher’s commentary. The best part about all of this? The edition can be acquired for less than $25, which for all the bells and whistles makes it cheap for consumers and worth immense value for a collector.
While not completely enthralling, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is an engaging adaptation of the best-selling novel that can stand on its own apart from the Swedish film version. The Blu-ray presentation is phenomenal and at such an affordable price is a steal for fans, making it the best new release Blu-ray on the shelves for March, 2012.