Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The bittersweet taste of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2.0

The debut of the U.S. version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has come and gone,leaving in it's wake a trail of respectable critical reviews and a few industry award nominations,including three noms at the upcoming Golden Globes.

However,the take at the box office has been less than rewarding. The film landed in fourth place on it's opening weekend and so far has made about $60 million(the budget was 90 mil)and while it may cover the studio's overall cost for the movie,this remake is not quite a bomb but it's certainly a dud,money wise.

Of course,financial success isn't a true measure of worth for any artistic endeavor but when you consider that the original made for Swedish TV film of TGWTDT easily took it over 100 million,you do have to wonder what went wrong here.

Part of the reason for the low attendance at theaters could be due to the overemphasis on the "mythology" surrounding the central heroine Lisbeth(played by Rooney Mara)that the film makers were so intent on showcasing. The slick graphics created for the opening credits alone are more indicative of David Fincher's directorial style than the gritty tone of the Stieg Larsson novel:

There's no doubt that quality folk were enlisted for the American edition of The Girl With...yet they did have to compete with the earlier foreign film and it's stunning leading lady,Noomi Rapace,who many of the book's fans believe is the true incarnation of Lisbeth Salander.

Another factor to consider here is that Fincher and friends made no secret about their changing of certain plot elements to suit their take on the story.

Even those who haven't seen the Swedish adaptation but loved the book and it's sequels were bound to take umbrage with that. What motivates readers to watch any visual depiction of a novel they've enjoyed is to see if some of the inner emotional development of the characters can be captured well on screen and it seems as if the first rendition did that much better:

Despite the lackluster profits,the studio swears that they are committed to making the second book in the trilogy,The Girl Who Played with Fire,into a movie that may possibly be filmed back to back with the third volume of the series,The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

It would be a rare instance in Hollywood for them to do so,since the track record for debut adaptations of book series that don't catch fire,so to speak,is pretty grim. Then again,it could be a blessing in disguise as it may encourage those who haven't even picked up the other two books to give them a chance.

My own reading of TGWPWF has been stalled after the first hundred pages and since I've held off on seeing the Swedish made sequel until finishing the book,this development is a nice little motivator for me to get cracking on that front:

Hopefully,if Hollywood does persist in making the rest of the Millennium Trilogy, the next set of behind the scenes people will concentrate more on the character arcs than developing another set of gloomy goth gloss looks. The hyped up trailers for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo quickly became a joke in pop culture circles and can be counted as another indicator of why the film failed to lure movie goers in.

It will also be a big help if the first film grabs a few major trophies during this season of film awards. Otherwise,the ultimate punchline will be at the expense of the future sequels that may rightfully fear to follow in it's cinematic footsteps:

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