Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition [Blu-ray]

Pinned on March 2, 2013 at 12:34 am by Betty Rudolph

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Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition [Blu-ray]

Available in Swedish with English subtitles and with English dub track.The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Fans of Stieg Larsson’s Men Who Hate Women may have been concerned about how the Swedish author’s novel would translate to the screen, but they needn’t have worried. Significant changes to the source material have been made, but director Niels Arden Opley’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as it’s now called, is mostly riveting. As the story begins, middle-aged investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) has just been convicted of a bogus charge of libel against a rich and corrupt corporate hotshot when he’s unexpectedly offered a most unusual gig. An aging captain of industry named Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) wants Blomkvist to figure out what happened to Vanger’s niece, who disappeared more than 40 years earlier; not only is the old man convinced that she was murdered, but he suspects that another member of his large and rather disagreeable family (which includes several former Nazis) is the culprit. Blomkvist takes the job, which includes spending at least six months on Vanger’s isolated island in the middle of winter. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s being spied on by twentysomething Lisbeth Salander (brilliantly played by Noomi Rapace in a career-making performance), the titular Girl and the possessor of remarkable skills as a sleuth and computer hacker. With her gothlike piercings and all-black clothes, Lisbeth is a vivid character, to say the least. While we don’t exactly know the details of her dark past, it’s obviously still with her; indeed, she’s just been assigned a new “guardian” (like a parole officer) to look after her finances and other matters. We also know that she is not someone to mess with; when the guardian turns out to be a thoroughly vile monster, Lisbeth gets back at him in one of the more satisfying revenge sequences in recent memory. That Lisbeth and Mikael should end up working together, and more, isn’t especially surprising. But the horrifying details and depths of depravity they uncover while working on the case (parallels to The Silence of the Lambs are facile but appropriate) definitely are, and Opley does a nice job of keeping it all straight. At more than two and a half hours, the film is long, with its share of grim, graphic, and scary moments, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a winner. –Sam Graham

The Girl Who Played With Fire
The toughest chick in Sweden returns to action in The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second film adaptation of the late author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy novels. That would be Lisbeth Salander, once again played with quiet, feral intensity by Noomi Rapace. As Larsson’s readers and anyone who saw the first film (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also released in 2010) knows, Lisbeth is small in stature but big trouble for any man who crosses her–after all, this is the woman who set her father on fire after he abused her mother and later, after being released from a mental institution, took extreme revenge on her legal guardian after he brutally assaulted her (those scenes are briefly revisited for the enlightenment of those who missed the earlier film). Also back is investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), Lisbeth’s erstwhile lover and partner in solving the Dragon Tattoo mystery. When two of his young colleagues are killed while at work on a story about sex trafficking, followed shortly by the murder of the aforementioned guardian, Salander is the prime suspect. But Mikael is sure of her innocence; in fact, he’s convinced she’s the next victim, leading to a tangled tale in which Lisbeth learns more about her family and its very dark secrets than she ever wanted to know. The story is compelling, if a bit slow to take shape, and director Daniel Alfredson, taking over for Niels Arden Oplev, skillfully sustains the mystery and tension (there are also doses of nudity and violence, the latter much more graphic than the former). But Lisbeth isn’t on screen nearly as much this time, and her relationship with Blomkvist, so central to Dragon Tattoo, is almost an afterthought. Still, The Girl Who Played with Fire will certainly whet fans’ appetites for the next installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest; and considering the overall class and quality of these Swedish productions, one shudders to think how they’ll turn out in the inevitable American versions, the first of which is due in 2011, with Daniel Craig as Blomkvist. –Sam Graham

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
It takes a while, but the saga of one of the more fascinating characters put on the page or the screen in recent years comes to a satisfying conclusion with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the last installment of the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s so-called Millennium Trilogy. That character is Lisbeth Salander, the computer-hacking, Goth-loving, dark angel of revenge, played by Noomi Rapace with the same black stare and taciturn charisma that were so riveting in the first two films (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, both also released in 2010). When we last saw her, Lisbeth was trying to kill her father, a Russian defector and abusive monster; in the process, the girl was seriously wounded by her half-brother, a hulking freak with a strange condition that renders him impervious to physical pain. As the new film opens, all three are still alive, and she’s being taken to a hospital to recover while waiting to stand trial for attempted murder. Meanwhile, her champion and erstwhile lover, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), sets about uncovering the full extent of the conspiracy responsible for (among other crimes) Lisbeth’s being sent to an asylum at age 12 while her father was protected by evil forces within the government. This investigation, which puts not only Lisbeth but also Blomkvist and his colleagues in considerable danger, leads to “the Section,” a thoroughly repellent bunch of aging liars, killers, thieves, and perverts with a great many secrets they’d like to keep (the oily Dr. Peter Teleborian, who was responsible for Lisbeth’s “treatment” as a child, emerges as the most vile antagonist since the guardian who brutally assaulted her in the first film). Although much of the exhaustive detail about these and other matters has been eliminated by director Daniel Alfredson (who also helmed The Girl Who Played with Fire) and screenwriters Jonas Frykberg and Ulf Ryberg for the purpose of adapting the novel to the screen, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is still quite long (148 minutes), and less kinetic and violent than the earlier films; there are some exciting sequences, but Lisbeth, previously an unlikely but magnetic action heroine, is seen mostly on a hospital bed or in a courtroom, and much of the film is spent on procedural matters. Still, the fact that the loose ends are wrapped up in fairly conventional fashion doesn’t make the conclusion any less satisfying. In fact, the only real letdown comes from knowing that we won’t get to see Noomi Rapace play Lisbeth Salander again. –Sam Graham

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Comments

DVD Verdict says:

This set demands to be in your DVD collection Paul Pritchard, DVD Verdict –Now this is certainly different. When one hears that a film clocking in at 152 minutes is getting an additional 30 minutes added to its runtime, it can be off-putting, no matter how good the original may have been. When that same extension is applied to an entire trilogy, it can become a somewhat daunting task. The simple fact is that most people just don’t have three hours to sit and watch a movie all that often. So with that in mind, it is both refreshing and reassuring to find The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy reconfigured as a TV miniseries, with each film broken into two 90-minute episodes.First of all, this change of format not only doesn’t harm the material, it actually enhances it. Given the extra room to breathe, the films are both richer and a much more palatable proposition. Whether by chance or design, each of the films also has a natural break-off point, where each episode can draw to a close; this allows the viewer to take in each story in easily digestible chunks whilst ensuring they are left desperate to find out what happens next. It’s also important to stress that the story still maintains its cinematic feel.Presented as one long six-part series, the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition is broken down into three distinct sections, thus allowing the viewer to watch each film independently of the rest.Each film in the trilogy is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, which obviously means the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been cropped to fit with the aspect ratio of its sequels. This really makes little difference, however, and still delivers a fine-looking picture, with natural colors, high levels of detail, and solid blacks. The viewer has the choice of playing the movie in either its native Swedish, or, for those with an aversion to subtitles, English. Both options provide a clean, nicely balanced 5.1 mix.This four-DVD set contains each film on separate discs, with the fourth disc reserved for supplemental materials. The bonus disc delivers two hours of features, and begins with “Millennium: The Story.” Clocking in at 48 minutes, this documentary actually focuses on author Steig Larsson, and is an excellent insight into his work. Both Noomi Rapace, and her co-star Michael Nyqvist are each interviewed in separate featurettes, whilst notable members of the cast and crew also get to discuss the film in a further set of interviews. “Nidermann vs. Roberto” focuses on a fight scene from The Girl who Played with Fire. Finally there is a selection of trailers for each of the films.Full review at dvdverdict.com

Sandoz says:

Was hoping for the COMPLETE versions of each film… If you are a real fan of these films then you are probably aware that they were made originally for Swedish television and the versions released to theaters have been shortened to make their running times more palatable for audiences who are forced to keep their butts in their seats viewing these films during their theatrical release. The films as shown on TV have a run-time closer to 3 hours, whereas the theatrical prints clock-in around the 2 1/2 hour mark. It would have been nice if they had saw fit to release the unexpurgated versions in this complete box set, rather than the slimmer versions.This collection is still a good deal…if you want to get all the films of the trilogy in one fell swoop and, though i haven’t compared them to the single film editons to see if anything is new, it does appear that the 4th bonus disc has some good extras. Myself, I’d rather wait until the longer versions get their inevitable release (this story has become too phenomenal for it not to) either on this side of the pond, or in a R2 version.

Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein "bigfootsalienbaby" says:

These Are NOT The Complete, Original Versions!… THE STEIG LARSON TRILOGY is NOT the complete, uncut version of the Swedish TV presentation. I E-mailed B. Brown at MUSIC BOX FILMS, and he said that the uncut versions will be released later this year. As for the movies themselves, they are three of the best suspense / mystery / thrillers I’ve ever seen. Noomi Rapace (as Lisbeth Salander) dominates every scene she’s in, from the opening, disappearance mystery of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO through the human-trafficking tale of THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and right through to the government conspiracy finale of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, Repace is incredible! Her psychological complexity and toughness are fascinating! I can only hope that the US remake stays true to these stories…


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