Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Sony Pictures - 2018
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Claire Foy, Sverir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant
Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, Steven Knight
February 5, 2019
"The Past Never Forgets"
“Claire Foy (“The Crown”) stars in a new Dragon Tattoo story as Lisbeth Salander, the highly-skilled vigilante from the acclaimed Millennium book series. Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials, as they race to rescue a dangerous program capable of global destruction held by shadowy figures linked to Lisbeth’s past.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Forced out by the National Security Agency, Frans Balder enlists the help of hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal his computer program “FireWall”, that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. After successfully accessing the NAS mainframe and obtaining the program Lisbeth’s download draws the attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm.
Subsequently, a group of unidentified operatives forcibly enter Lisbeth’s apartment and steal Lisbeth's laptop, which contains the passworded software program. Unable to turn it over the Frans Balder, Lisbether seeks the assistance of journalist/friend Mikael Blomkvist to find out who has stolen it and, how best to reacquire it. Further complicating matters, Frans has turned to the local authorities suspecting that Lisbeth is the perpetrator. Now, Lisbeth in a race against time must uncover the truth behind who has taken FireWall and what their endgame is.
Let me start of by saying that I am a pretty big fan of Claire Foy and have been since seeing her in “The Crown”. She seems to be extremely versatile and her taking on the role of Lisbeth Salander intrigued me. I haven’t read Stieg Larsson’s book series or seen the Swedish films based on the character but, I really like 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
. I had high hopes for this film but, poor reviews/comments from those that saw it kept me from seeing it in the theater so, I eagerly waited for it to arrive on home video.
I sat down with it, keeping my expectation in check, hoping to get lost in both Claire’s handling of the character and the plots elements. One out of two isn’t bad I suppose. I liked how Claire portrayed Lisbeth, finding that she makes the character her own, pulling it off with the right amount of quiet cool, angst, and taught edginess. The problem with The Girl in the Spider’s Web
is the writing. I mean, the character design is essentially already established, all that need be done is provide a storyline that capably supports them.
Unfortunately, we get an over simplified narrative that fails to elevate one’s pulse as it favors of style over substance approach that never leaves you wondering what will happen next. There is zero palpability in terms of mystery/intrigue and the character base outside of Lisbeth and Mikael are so poorly drawn that their effectiveness within the narrative’s construct is weak at best. The writing smacks of laziness, relying on the sizzle of action and overuse of gadgetry to propel the story’s elements. Tried as I might, there were simply too many eye rolling moments that took me out of the proceedings. I will say that I liked the film’s opening and initial plot set up, involving the hacking of the NSA, the breach of Lisbeth’s apartment and, her discovery of who the thugs were that stole her laptop.
From there the steady decline in plausibility, especially given earlier events, as well as a series of poorly executed plot points and, derivative action derails any momentum gained. Claire Foy performance is the film’s highlight, along with solid production elements and a few sequences that remind us why Lisbeth is an iconic character. Aside from that The Girl in the Spider’s Web
is a middling effort that feels like a huge missed opportunity. I will say that I plan on revisiting it again, if for no other reason than to watch Claire Foy’s handling of the role. We’ll see if another viewing bears fruit.
The rating is for violence, language and some sexual content/nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):
The Girl in the Spider’s Web comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors are cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The various wide-angle shots of the shooting locations look great. Framed at 2.39:1 the images onscreen have excellent depth and, a stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. The Girl in the Spider’s Web looks great on Blu-ray.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an active audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is quite good as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the action set pieces. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and clarity. This is an active mix that makes regular use of the low frequency effects to accentuate its dynamic presence. The result is that where appropriate, points of contact resonate with tactile bass impact. Dialog has refining presence with clear vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is an entertaining audio presentation that compliments the film while making for an excellent home theater experience.
- • Feature and Deleted Scenes Audio Commentaries with Director Fede Álvarez and Screenwriter Jay Basu
• Four featurettes:
o “Claire Foy: Becoming Lisbeth”
o “All About the Stunts”
o “Secrets of the Salander Sisters”
o “Creating the World: The Making Of”
• Eight Deleted Scenes
- Digital Copy
Based on the fourth book of the acclaimed Millennium series The Girl in the Spider’s Web
favors a style over substance narrative that leaves its iconic character in the lurch. It’s one saving grace is the performance by star Claire Foy who brings the character of Lisbeth Salamander to the big screen with aplomb. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent technical merits mated with a fair supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
is in most respects a swing and miss but, there’s probably enough merit to warrant attention from those looking for a popcorn flick that looks and sounds great in their home theater.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems