The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

After reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I decided to rent the movie. Turns out the movie is a huge hit, but not bigger than the book. The movie version was made in Sweden and I’m probably in the minority when I comment that it was just OK. The reviews on Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes are really positive so go figure.

I give the movie credit for trying to incorporate most of the book, but certain aspects of book are left out. If I didn’t read the book, I would’ve thought this movie didn’t make any sense. There are a number of plot gaps and underdeveloped characters. Moreover, a lot of back story gets lost. The Vanger family has a number of dark secrets but the movie only concentrates on Harriet. Despite all that, the movie clocks in at about 2-1/2 hours. If you haven’t seen the Swedish version yet, you might want to sit tight till December when the Hollywood version comes out.

What the movie does get right is the Lisbeth Salander character. She’s the best part of the book and definitely the highlight of the movie. The movie captured just what I thought the character looked like. There is some of her back story missing from the movie but enough that I didn’t feel cheated.

TGWTDT is second Swedish film I’ve seen over the course of a year. The other movie was Let The Right One In. I’ve commented on this movie and book in a previous post. As usual, I loved the book and the movie was just OK. Again, Swedish film making leaves a lot to be desired. By no means am I qualified to critique directors or actors, but these Swedish movies are…slow and dull. For some reason though they get great reviews. Why is that? What does the rest of the world see that I don’t? Maybe I’m just a product of Hollywood slick movie productions. Maybe my untrained brain can’t process Swedish art like others can. Or more likely my preference of the book outweighs any enjoyment I could have watching the movie.

Progress on my new novel has been slow. I haven’t written much over the last two weeks. It’s my fault – I let myself get too easily distracted. The Chicago Bulls are in the Eastern Conference playoffs, I’m focusing on my health, and other things I use as excuses but aren’t. I read on another writer’s blog that the difference between published authors and ones that are not is hard work. It’s obvious but it’s something I haven’t been doing.

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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I’m a little intimidated by the 1,000 plus pages and have procrastinated because of it. I can’t complain too much because I’m reading The Girl With Dragon Tattoo, and that is roughly 600 pages in paperback. Maybe it’s good practice Atlas Shrugged? (number of pages not content!)

The movie for Atlas Shrugged came out this weekend, and I’m motivated to read the book. I prefer to read the book then the movie (Water for Elephants comes out this month!). I’ve never tried it the other way although I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on The Godfather or The Shining.

Like all books that become movies, if Atlas Shrugged the movie is sub par, I don’t want it to ruin my reading experience.

I’ve heard nothing but great things about the book so I know I won’t regret the time investment. Movie wise, I’m hearing mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes didn’t have anything too positive. I’m hearing and reading a lot of words like “low-budget” and “unfamiliar cast” which never spell anything good for a movie. In this situation, it’s the message that’s important.

I understand the movie to be the anthem for conservatism . I guess, it depends on who you talk to. Ayn Rand wasn’t a Republican, but she wasn’t a Democrat either. I’ve learned she was an individualist and devoted much of her efforts to fighting communism. I can get behind that. I worry the book does a better job conveying the message of limited government and self-reliance while the movie is preachy in the same regard and turns people off.

I’ll have to wait and find out. I know that Atlas Shrugged has been regarded as one of the best novels of the 20th century and can’t wait to discover it – right after I’m done with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

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