Case Number 20761: Small Claims Court

DRAGON TATTOO TRILOGY

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Music Box Films // 2009 // 147 Minutes // Rated R
The Girl Who Played With Fire
Music Box Films // 2009 // 129 Minutes // Rated R
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Music Box Films // 2009 // 155 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // February 22nd, 2011

The Charge

The supplements are here.

The Case

I've already spilled enough ink about these films over the past year, so I'm going to keep this brief. Music Box was, however, gracious enough to send along the special features disc for their forthcoming 4-disc set, Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo Trilogy, so it's only right to say a few words about it and the trilogy as a whole.

For reviewing purposes, I'm glad in the end that I didn't read the novels before seeing the films. I almost did after Dragon Tattoo, but I was better off having declined. While I usually like to know my source beforehand, it let me enjoy the films without getting bogged down in how I felt about the originals or obsessing over what got left out. I'd heard good things, but didn't have any preconceived notions. With fresh eyes, I liked all three very much, but none more so than the first film.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo really is a great mystery at its heart. As the drama unfolds, director Niels Arden Oplev reveals the story's secrets masterfully; it kept my eyes glued to the screen. It was brutal, and sometimes very difficult to watch, but that's part of what made the film a complete experience. While the other two are both still very good movies, they don't have the magical quality that the trilogy opened with. This clearly lies at the feet of the stories, which are tonally very different. In Dragon Tattoo, Salander and Blomkvist are players in a mystery; integral players, to be sure, but not the center of the story. That standalone story, however, was merely an introduction to the characters, who become the focus in the following two. Having Daniel Alfredson helm both Fire and Hornet's Nest lends stylistic continuity between them, they aren't as effective as the first. For whatever reason, it turns out that I care more about a girl killed half a century ago than either of the people who solved her case.

The bonus disc that Music Box sent was a screener, but based on the previous screeners of these films, it should fairly represent the final product. We have a documentary, a series of interviews, and a trailer bank; it doesn't look great, but given the nature of the material, it's not so bad. The largest and best feature is the documentary, which runs nearly an hour and covers pretty much the whole bit, starting with a brief biography of Larsson and continuing into the writing of the novels, the writer's death prior to their publication, their success, and the controversy surround his massive estate, which never existed during his life. Made between the release of the first and second films, it's very interesting, though incomplete. The interview segments, oddly, occur while the participants are in the makeup chair. We hear from Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, and Georgi Staykov, who plays the villainous Zalachenko. They're all fine interviews, but hearing Rapace talk about her character while having bullet wound makeup put on is a little off-putting. Finally, we have the trailer bank, which is nothing to write home about. It's not a lot, but it's all pretty fair and, since I'd been complaining about the lack of extras on the individual discs, at least I got what I asked for.

It seems like a cash grab from Music Box to withhold the supplements from the individual discs to include them exclusively on a boxed set, yet offering nothing that is either exceptional or long enough to warrant a separate disc. Still, there are a lot of fanatics out there who will want it all in one box, but don't expect a whole lot.

The Verdict

Case dismissed.

Review content copyright © 2011 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Judgment: 93

Perp Profile, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Swedish)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 147 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
* Documentary
* Interviews
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Girl Who Played With Fire
Judgment: 91

Perp Profile, The Girl Who Played With Fire
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Swedish)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 129 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, The Girl Who Played With Fire
* Interviews
* Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Swedish)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 155 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
* Interviews
* Trailer

Accomplices
* IMDb: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1132620/combined

* IMDb: The Girl Who Played with Fire
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1216487/combined

* IMDb: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1343097/combined