Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Expectations for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Preview for my most anticipated film of the second half of the year (unfortunately it's out at 12/1 at my place)

It's a remake no one asked for or cared about, but it has to be made because you know. Hollywood ran out of ideas and we're already saturated with sequels and remakes. For me, I would actually be interested to the remake if the original movie was at some point underwhelming or it's directed by a great filmmaker. That's why films like The Departed and True Grit work because of the filmmaker's effort to bring in something new, even if audiences do mind. For The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, people mind it so much for so many reasons. First is the fact that this is a remake of a foreign movie recently released last year (originally in Sweden it was out in 2009). Second was that Hollywood was rebooting everything (Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, Conan, Scream) and last of all this is based on a best-seller and was one movie was enough to please readers of how it looked like.

But this is the first time I am looking forward to David Fincher's adaptation/remake of the novel because. Let's face it. I love David Fincher and his work. He's one of my favourite directors working today in the film industry. For those unfamiliar with that guy, he directed films that I would consider in my Top 20 favourites including Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac and most recently The Social Network. So that was one huge factor I was excited for this film. Also, having read the book before I've seen the original was also a good start. The original was decent. It has some good performances around but doesn't make me feel like I should watch it one more time.

So with this movie high on my most anticipated list, here are 4 of my expectations the American remake should do to live up both the book and the original film.

1. The film should match Fincher's style he often takes in his film

As a mad Fincher fan boy, I probably liked almost every aspect he placed into his films. He knows what sort of visual flair he would place in his films particularly the cinematography, the editing and music. But almost all of them are pretty dark in tone so from the trailer's perspective, The Dragon Tattoo has some gorgeous cinematography that is shot in RedOnes and most of the Scandinavian settings are fine to look out.

A remake for The Dragon Tattoo is perfect for Fincher because of the book's dark and seething tones and to me, when he shoots a film he doesn't usually pick source material that would just be dark and goes somewhere . But in any case Fincher would adapt it with identifying the hero with many double meanings. Most of his films rarely drag (if you consider Zodiac such a slow moving film then that count) and bring greater performances from actors who delve into his direction and story. He's also known for his physical direction often performing more than 100 takes per scene. Fortunately his actors don't mind.

This remake is also perfect since it would also mean that he could go back to his roots leading back to Se7en and Zodiac. If you try to compare all these movies, they have the same characters but are in different contexts.

2. Rooney Mara should be the better Salander.

The one thing readers will remember from the Millenieum trilogy is Lisbeth Salander, a goth-looking hacker who's a rebel to society. The author of the Milleniem trilogy Stieg Larson describes her as the 'adult version' of Pippy Longstocking. Salander has always the great part of the trilogy because of her anti-social traits coming off from her vulnerability as a human. The original Salander was played by Noomi Rapace. Her performance was pretty good, but I wasn't amazed by it like everybody else. I never felt that she's feminine like Salander was depicted in the book and when you see her appearance she looks like the average goth.

In this remake, Salander looks threatening and grass thin as stated in the book. She would fit perfectly in a Fincher film because she's vulnerable, isolated, and most importantly anti-social (having said that, she's closed to being classified with Aspergers) equating into the Fincherian hero. With Rooney Mara taking the iconic character, Mara - who should be noted for playing Mark Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend tin The Social Network - must be able to tackle it more than Rapace and what should help her is Fincher's direction and the adapted screenplay from Steve Zailian. I should also expect her to pull off the feminine qualities that were sensed in the books and how in flashback she's different from everyone else.

Mara had already received praise for her performance and is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama. Let's hope these reviewers are spot on.

Note: Scarlett Johansson would've nabbed the role if she weren't so ridiculously hot.

3. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's soundtrack must be exciting

I enjoyed Reznor's contribution to many of Fincher's films. From the opening sequence of Se7en the remix of his most famous song Closer established Se7en as a disturbing thriller at best. His soundtrack to The Social Network was not only different from all the scores you've heard in every movie, but it did turned a movie about Facebook more exciting than you thought it would be. As a result, he and producer Atticus Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score leaving the majority saying 'Inception' should have won.

As most of this year's soundtracks suggests, they're taking a different approach in composing mixing electro with the score. Music from Hanna, Tron: Legacy, Attack the Block and Drive all did pretty well but Reznor is the pioneer of that kind of composition. Buying and hearing his 6 Track Sampler along with his cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song with Karen O, I was pretty impressed from what I've listened to and it's streets ahead of The Social Network. I wished Reznor would use his music to add more tension and build up more excitement for this film. It will leave old school Nine Inch Nails fans scratching their heads since the score would not be edgier and provocative as his earlier work like Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, Broken but is more reminiscent of his current work such Ghosts and his other work The Fragile

4. The remake shouldn't be a carbon copy of the original

Like many of you, I am against remakes, particularly those of foreign movies. But let's just say I really liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as a book. It's a solid mystery story with deeper characters and neo-noirish elements placed efficiently. When I saw it as a film, I liked it. It has an excellent performance from Rapace, solid direction, it followed the book so well. But I felt that something was actually missing that would've make me enjoy it more.

I want Fincher's version to not follow the same path as the film or the book thus giving us the same story we've all been familiar with. But I don't want parts of the movie altered as well. I loved The Departed because of the fact that it isn't the same movie as Infernal Affairs. They had one women instead of two and Jack Nicholson was a convincing mob boss. I don't mind if the scenes were way brutal to stomach The Dragon Tattoo. That's what you're going to find in a David Fincher movie.

Because it is the second film to have the same story, I really wanted something extra: I want this one to pay close attention to the entire mystery and make Mikael Blomkvist, the hero of it all to be more interesting than in the books or the Swedish version.

From reading the reviews for this movie, most of the people enjoyed this movie usually rating it from a B- to a B+ but wondered if it was necessary to remake the original. But I believe that audiences coming into this movie will be polarized whether or not they liked Fincher's works. Everybody loved Se7en, was polarized when they saw Fight Club but now called that a classic from second viewing and was polarised again when they saw The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Zodiac.  The Dragon Tattoo may bring in the same reaction. Half will like it but half will be jaded because of one thing and one thing only; whether they're familiar with the novels or the Swedish film.

I try to resist from the hype of the film, but the trailers gave some of the aspects I could or would enjoy including the cinematography and the way how they show these characters' vulnerability  and the amount of viral marketing placed for this film so that gave me some early credit I could give once I've seen it. Be prepared for the feel-bad movie of Christmas.

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