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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

89






Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 158 minutes
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick VanWageningen, Joely Richardson
Directed by: David Fincher
Music by: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Written by: Steven Zaillan based on the book by Stieg Larsson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 20, 2012







"What is hidden in snow, comes forth in the thaw"



Film Synopsis:


Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) accepts an invitation to surreptitiously investigate a forty year old unsolved murder on behalf of the victim's uncle, Swedish industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). Meanwhile, tattooed hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), hired to investigate Blomkvist, discovers the truth behind the conspiracy that led to his fall from grace. Thrown together by fate, the unlikely duo uncovers a secret history of murder and sexual abuse festering beneath the veneer of Sweden's industrial past, all the while drawing closer to a quiet evil waiting to engulf them both.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first film in Columbia Pictures' three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in 46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon.



My Take:


I haven't read Stieg Larsson's book series or seen the Swedish film but have heard nothing but good things about The girl with the dragon tattoo. When David Fincher's film was released in theaters last year we saw it day one. This is a gripping and edgy mystery/thriller with superbly drawn characters driven by a multi-staged narrative. The storyline essentially has three parts, the main plot surrounding the death/disappearance of Harriet Vangar and two subplots involving Mikael and Lisbeth. Later on Lisbeth and Mikel together are integrated in the primary storyline where things turn toward solving the 40 plus year old mystery of Harriet Vangar, an investigation which leads them down a dark, windy road where secrets lie at the heart of a wicked family. What they discover is something far more sinister than either of them could have imagined. Fortunately for Mikel, he has Lisbeth, whose resourcefulness and prowess makes her a viable commodity in what will soon become a deadly game of cat and mouse.

As with most of Fincher's films I found his visual style to be intriguing, beginning with the opening/title sequence and then with the use of cinematography (framing, color and panning sequences) that visually draws you in. The story/screenplay is intelligently crafted and effectively establishes the story's primary plot while fostering a viable connection to the main characters in Mikael and Lisbeth. Lisbeth's subplot is the more dominant of the two and contains many of the film's best moments. The girl with the dragon tattoo is thematically dark as it broaches subjects of redemption, violence, familial dysfunction, mental/physical abuse, and disturbing elements of torture, including rape. David Fincher's apt direction keeps the pacing on point as the film doesn't seem as long as it is at over two and a half hours. The cast consists of an excellent blend of acting talent that each brings an air of credibility to their respective characters. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara get the bulk of the screen time. He is very good in the role of Mikael but it's the scene stealing Mara that makes the film. She makes the character her own and pulls it off with the right amount of quiet cool, angst, and taught edginess. The girl with the dragon tattoo is a thoroughly engaging film that runs the gamut as it takes us on a captivating psychological thrill ride while introducing one of the most intriguing female characters ever. I found it even more enjoyable this second time around and look forward to the next installment.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language.



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)


Audio: 88


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The girl with the dragon tattoo comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.4 Mbps.

This film's visual style doesn't lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn't reflect negatively on its presentation. Shot on high definition video resolution is excellent as images are clearly rendered with appreciable detail and discerning nuance during close ups. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow is excellent. I didn't see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks spectacular.

The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack features dialogue that is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. Imaging across the front of the room is excellent as the mixture of sounds, dialogue and music is integrated with precision. The films score is distributed through the main speakers and surrounds which accents presence. The music has an enriching dynamism, clarity and sweet sounding mid range. There are moments where the track springs to life with the power of the music or the snap of a purposeful effect. Each is charged with dynamic energy and tactile bass response. This is an excellent audio presentation that successfully transitions from being raucous to subtle while positively reinforcing acoustic presence and aural dimension. It perfectly suits the thematic tone of the film and sounds great.



Bonus Features:


  • Disc 1:

  • Audio commentary with David Fincher


  • Disc 2: Disc 2

  • (HD) Men who hate women - 6 minute featurette with cast/crew

  • (HD) Characters (3 segments with branching featurettes) :

  • Lisbeth Salander:

    1. Casting Salander
    2. Different in every way
    3. The look of Salander
    4. Mara/Fincher
    5. Irene Nesser
    6. Salander test footage
  • Mikael Blomkvist:

    1. Casting Blomkvist
    2. Daniel Craig on film acting
    3. Dressing Blomkvist
    4. Investigation (stills)
  • Martin Vangar:

    1. Stellan Skarsgard on film acting
    2. Psychotherapy
    3. Bondage
    4. Torture
    5. Wrappers in plastic
    6. Set design
  • (HD) On location (2 with branching featurettes) :

  • Sweden (5 segments)

  • Hollywood (7 segments)

  • (HD) Post production

    1. In the cutting room
    2. ADR (automated dialogue replacement)
    3. Main titles (3 versions) with optional commentary by Tim Miller
    4. Visual effects montage
  • (HD) Promotion

    1. Hard copy - 80/90's era mock episode of the tabloid show with optional commentary
    2. 7 TV Spots
    3. 4 Trailers
    4. Metal one sheet


    Disc 3:
  • Bonus DVD of The girl with the dragon tattoo

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:


The girl with the dragon tattoo is a film adaptation of the book by Stieg Larsson. It is a thoroughly engaging albeit dark film that runs the gamut as it takes us on a captivating psychological thrill ride while introducing one of the most intriguing female characters ever. Alongside David Fincher's masterful direction is a terrific cast lead by the superb performance by Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara in the title role. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, rewarding lossless sound and four hours of supplemental material that include interviews of the cast/crew, and an in-depth look behind the scenes at the production. The girl with the dragon tattoo is a must see and comes highly recommended.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Ralph,


Nice review, but do yourself a favor and watch the Swedish version of the film. I felt it did a much better job of character development and had a much creepier tone to it. In the original, I suspected everyone of the murder being investigated. In the english version, it was pretty apparent who the good guys were. The romance between the 2 main characters was also much more believable.


Having watched the Swedish version, this one kind of pales in comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcruse /forum/post/21782905


Ralph,


Nice review, but do yourself a favor and watch the Swedish version of the film. I felt it did a much better job of character development and had a much creepier tone to it. In the original, I suspected everyone of the murder being investigated. In the english version, it was pretty apparent who the good guys were. The romance between the 2 main characters was also much more believable.


Having watched the Swedish version, this one kind of pales in comparison.

Greetings,


Thanks jcruse. I do plan on checking it out..



Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcruse /forum/post/21782905


Ralph,


Nice review, but do yourself a favor and watch the Swedish version of the film. I felt it did a much better job of character development and had a much creepier tone to it. In the original, I suspected everyone of the murder being investigated. In the english version, it was pretty apparent who the good guys were. The romance between the 2 main characters was also much more believable.


Having watched the Swedish version, this one kind of pales in comparison.


I guess I can see how someone would have that opinion.


However, I found the American version to do a much better job of following the book. Rooney Mara also played the part of Lisbeth in a way that was much closer to how the character was presented in the book.


Overall, both movies are very good but I found the American version to be superior. Given the amount of material changed/removed from the Swedish version - they are different enough that it is worth watching both versions.
 

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That was such a great film to watch. I say this because it has all the elements into making a great movie. Story/plot, cast and characters the location.


Somehow i sensed who the bad guy was and the ending just confirmed it. The best part i loved was when Daniel started putting the pieces together and showing the clips, etc.


Definitely a must own if you're a fan.


Cheers
 

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total nap fest
 

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I thought it was a pretty spectacular looking disc. Great contrast & blacks. It definitely has that Fincher look to it!!
 

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Thanks for the review, Ralph!



I've had this one on pre-order for a while and certainly looking forward to watching it. I have the Swedish version of the three movies and they are great.
 

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I'll be getting this when the price drops a bit. I really enjoyed it in the theater, and felt it was quite a bit better than the book (even though the completely changed the ending).
 

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I thought it was well-made, but the murder mystery part of the story was plain and predictable. I'm thinking that once I see the second one, I'll enjoy the first more.
 

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It's rumored to be one of the first titles selected for release on the new 4k disc format coming in 2013 (at least, that's the latest date).


Hopefully, they use a new wavelet compression algorithm and don't try to shoehorn 4k video on a standard Blu-ray disc! GE Plastics and a few other manufacturers have come up with holographic disc storage. It'll be interesting to see if they move to that for a lot more usable space and speedier bit rates.


One thing though, HDMI cables won't be able to do 2160p at 48 fps or 60 fps, and those are two new frame rates now being used with digital cinematography. "The Hobbit" being one of them.


I loved Fincher's "The Social Network." The cinematography was top notch too. I'll rent this movie next week.



Thanks for the review, Ralph!
 

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Social Network PQ was meh in my opinion. Fight Club still rules in terms of PQ.
 

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Nice review, Ralph--this is one I'm really looking forward to. I know some prefer the Swedish version but I'm not big on foreign films so I know I'll be happy with the American version.
 

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I don't mind foreign films but since I have seen neither, I will start with the American version...tomorrow!!
 

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I was surprised how good this version was! I still prefer the Swedish version, but found both enjoyable and with enough differences to keep my interest the second time around.
 

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Watched this today. Great cast, great PQ/AQ. But I found the approach to telling the story to be a bit disjointed and harder to follow. The original gets my vote on this basis.
 
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