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Old November 8 2010, 08:07 PM   #786
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
Admit it, you were just correcting me for the sake of doing so. Not like everyone was all confused.
I was correcting you because you were spouting inaccurate information and it just helps to know the facts.

I saw Due Date which was rather repugnant and just not as funny or effective as The Hangover and as a result was ultimately very disappointing. It was such a mean-spirited comedy. It was also the first Robert Downey Jr. performance where he came off as inherently unlikable -- in almost every one of his performances, he has this magnetic ability with his limitless charisma to make almost every character he plays likable on some level, but not here.

Daneel wrote: View Post
Tonight I saw The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- what a disappointing conclusion to the Millennium trilogy, especially after the excellent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the solid The Girl Who Played With Fire.

For an ostensible thriller, it was rather dull and overly talky, and at about two and a half hours long, it felt like very little happened (it could've been edited way more than it was). It seemed like it consisted mostly of a bunch of interchangeable old guys sitting around talking about how they can't let their secrets get out (although what all these secrets are is never made entirely clear), and to do that, they must silence Lisbeth Salander. Speaking of the titular girl, while her presence is still felt, she is somewhat wasted in the film, given that she spends much of it either in the hospital or in prison. She remains a fascinating character (and Noomi Rapace brings her to life remarkably), but she is underutilized here, IMO.

The whole thing just falls kind of flat; it's overlong, anticlimactic, and lacking in tension, plus there are a few too many "deus ex machina" moments. Unless you're a die-hard fan of the series and absolutely need to see how it ends, I can't really recommend this one.
I have to wholeheartedly agree with this. It was a weird experience because I was able to watch all three films within a few months of each other which is something I've never really been able to do before (besides the first time I saw the original Star Wars trilogy, but that's a bit different; here, I was able to watch a trilogy of films that was new in the manner of a short amount of time).

I was pleasantly surprised by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because even though it was structured as this very substandard procedural thriller, what made it so interesting and entertaining was the complex relationship between Mikael and Lisbeth. Also, Noomi Rapace's performance was rather ingenious and multi-faceted, which further carried the film. I was less impressed with The Girl Who Played With Fire, because similar to Hannibal we don't see Mikael and Lisbeth interact until the very last scene in the movie, and really, they don't even interact much (which is then dissimilar to Hannibal since at least Lecter and Clarice were able to really interact in the last fifteen or so minutes of the film; Mikael and Lisbeth don't really have that chance here).

However, at the very least The Girl Who Played With Fire was a serviceable sequel that did have a lot of interesting parts and revelations and at least it kept my interest until the very end, with a decent cliffhanger. The last installment, though, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, was just lackluster on almost every level. My girlfriend actually fell asleep halfway through the movie, and she's an ardent fan of the first two movies, and I felt like there was really nothing new or exciting or revelatory in this particular film. Unlike the last film, where it felt like there were some risks, this film more than either of the last two felt extremely procedural. I understand the film had a lot to unravel in terms of the plot and circumstances the previous two films set-up, but it honestly felt like a first draft of a screenplay which needed a lot of revisions and editing to make it feel sharper and more entertaining and interesting.

Also, a big problem I have with the sequels and especially the last film is that we really don't see Mikael and Lisbeth interact at all. I kind of like the idea of keeping them separate for The Girl Who Played With Fire but with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, at the very least I was expecting them to interact more or to have more scenes with one another. It was very disappointing and it took one of my favorite elements of the first film, if not my single favorite element -- their relationship -- and then sort of just dissolved of it for the sequels. I wanted to see them interact again somehow -- I understand them working together again would feel too reminiscent of the first film but at the very least something to maintain the type of relationship they had which made this entire series so interesting to me in the first place.

It'll be interesting to see how David Fincher and Steven Zaillian adapt these films for American audiences. I would say they have an easy enough time with the first installment; it's so well-made they'll have a difficult time screwing it up. I even think they have some room for improvement with the second film since I think they could make it stronger and better. However, I really hope they do something quite different with the third installment because ultimately as a film the original was very weak and disappointing and I hope Fincher and Zaillian can make it more exciting and entertaining somehow. I honestly think the seeds are there for a better third film, they just need to structure it the right way with judicious editing and slightly better storytelling skills.
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