Originally an email written on July 16, 2010:
Remember our conversation of Stieg Larsson’s novels ? Today, with a free blockbuster coupon, I picked up the DVD of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and I’ve just finished watching it (Swedish with English subtitles — I didn’t use the English dubbing in DVD as I’ve always liked the original) ! I won’t spoil it for you but just some subjective feelings and comparisons …
I’ve almost never read a book and then watched the movie version of it. The downside is of course that there is not much surprise as I know who the real bad person is …. The movie of 2.5 hours apparently can’t afford to have as many details as in the book. ( Larsson in the book sometimes is quite excessive in the details which may be sort of a tactic to confuse you to think that those details are important for later development. ) I feel sorry that the intricate relationship between Erika Berger and Mikael Blomkvist is ~completely absent. To me, this is part of the contrast that Larsson wants to show that, on one hand, Sweden seems like an open and even avant-garde country such that (for example) a husband is OK with his wife not coming home for some nights but sleeping with another man and this husband may be heterosexual himself; on the other hand, there is still serious chauvinism deep down in the minds of many Swedish men. Maybe similarly for the neo-Nazism in Sweden (or Europe ) …
I think I prefer reading books than watching movies mainly because I’ve got more to imagine when reading books. You may not agree but for me, imagination and non-reality is always more beautiful than reality. When the characters in the book materialize in movies, there is unavoidably some disappointments. People seem to be older than I’ve assumed/thought/expected … by 10 years or so. It’s definitely the case for Blomkvist & Berger …and probably even for Lisabeth Salander. Blomkvist & Berger are sort of attractive persons in my imagination but absolutely not in the movie — which is of course completely my subjectivity. Cecilia Vanger (not much chemistry with Mikael left in the movie) somehow is about the best match as she looks like the person exactly as what I’ve pictured in my mind. The prettiest is the photo of the young Harriet Vanger which appears a lot in the movie … a little bit reminding me of the French actress Julie Deply.
Another interesting feature or difference between the movie and the novel is that, the author elaborated in details how things such as hacking was done but (probably due to the lack of time) things were just accomplished in one fell swoop, without difficulties and efforts. Anita Vanger was almost "skipped"in the movie …
But overall, I can see how the Director has smartly covered most of the important developments in this first part of the Trilogy within the short ~2.5 hours.