Friday, December 30, 2011

Escape to the Movies: "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

Liked it, didn't love it.

"Intermission" does the year look-back thing.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a swede, Filmen-Bob is incorrect, it's Film-Bob or just Filmbob. Minor nitpick, I know.

Aiddon said...

I will say that Lisbeth, interesting as she is, is pretty much just how WAAAAAAAAY too many guys seem to envision a supposed "liberated female character" (though she is a helluva lot more interesting than Hideki Kamiya's boring, self-indulgent Bayonetta). Mara does give an extra layer of humanity to the character (side-note, I don't think she quite pulls it off in terms of looks as much as Rapace did; Mara's just too cute) but even then I can tell this was written by a man. It's what I like to call "pseudo-feminism" in that it's basically just shoving a man into a woman's body, often forgetting that it take bigger balls to make a character vulnerable and insecure. It's why the term "strong female lead" has become utterly worthless and shallow.

Anyway, I did really like the film if just because of Fincher's direction and Zaillian's screenplay. It's like seeing Coppola and Scorsese taking on the pulp genres and turning them into great story-telling

Joe said...

I like kickass female characters in general, so I like the Lisbeth character. I wouldn't mistake her for a feminist empowerment icon though.

But to be fair she was shown to be vulnerable and insecure. At least until the Cinderella moment at the end where this brooding, rough-edged counterculture hacker is able to convincingly pass as a fashionable professional. That's when I realized she's as realistic as James Bond or Batman.

Angry Man said...

So, as somebody who is realistically too lazy to read through the novels and watch the original film trilogy and will probably just do the American thing, how does this compare to the Swedish film? If the original is legitimately much better, I would watch it instead, but if they are on the same level I can be comfortable in my laziness.

Kevin said...

Perhaps the poor ticket sales prove that no matter how well you dress it up, it's still feminist hate porn so the audience will be limited. The original Swedish title of this book was "Men Who Hate Women"

KevinCV said...

Decent review, Bob. This is despite my lack of interest at seeing the movie. However, when you were listing off some of the "geek wish-fulfillment" stuff about Lisbeth, you forgot a rather crucial one from my book: Time traveller. But whatever, can't can't please 'em all. Have fun on New Year's! XD

Anonymous said...

I was going to make a mean joke about you being a movie, instead of just "filmbob", but one of my fellow swedes ruined the joke by making a comment before me. ='(

I like your show, and I thought that it was interesting to listen to a reviewer that didn't love the movie like most people do.

/Fan from Sweden.

Mads said...

@ Aiddon

"I will say that Lisbeth, interesting as she is, is pretty much just how WAAAAAAAAY too many guys seem to envision a supposed "liberated female character""

Curious thing is, my instinct is to say that it's how WAAAAAAAAY too many women seem to envision a supposed liberated female. Someone who's able to assume control even though she is abused because she's a woman, and through her being a woman...even when the abuse is incredibly cruel.

Now, let's sit back and see who gets called a sexist first, me or Aiddon ;-)

Aiddon said...


............I can at least guess who's going to be called an insecure ignoramus first.

David (The Pants) said...


Anonymous said...

I guess the comments section isn't too friendly to NoScript. Last comment was devoured.

Anyway, I've noticed you mention "high functioning autism" in this video as well as The Big Picture's "A Nerd By Any Other Name" and "Drive", but I doubt the majority of your audience is going to know what that means. There are a lot of aspects and nuances to autism spectrum disorder, but most people are going to imagine either the mainstream media's human interest crap or the hostile stereotype of "teenage girl self-diagnoses herself to excuse bad behavior". Since your casual mention of it in those words shows some understanding of the topic, I think doing a Big Picture discussing it from a geek's point of view would be a great help for your audience.

KevinCV said...

Anonymous 6:08, as someone who's grew up grappling with Asperger's Syndrome -which is more on the higher functioning end of the autistic spectrum for those who don't know- I've gotten that feeling from Bob as well.

I'd also love for him to do a Big Picture on it, because I know people who are way too ignorant about it for their own good and need informing badly. Especially since they think I'm just some anti-social weirdo who spends a lot of time playing video games and surfing the Internet than what they consider to be "normal".

Nixou said...


The problem is that Lisbeth was never intented to be a "liberated female": once one know her backstory, it becomes better to know what Stieg Larson had in mind:

ahem: Big fucking spoiler ahead:

Salander comes from a completely disfunctional family, and the one time she actually took a stand against her abusive father circumstances -her father was an informant of the local intelligence service, she burnt him alive because she knew very well she could not fight him on equal ground physically, the psy who was in charge of her was a pedophile at a time when child molesting was such a taboo that it helped actual molesters- screwed her and make her refuse to trust anyone from the "system".
Now what's important about Salander past is that while the sum of exceptional circumstances make it very far-fetched, taken individually, none of them are irrealistic at all: a VIP using his position to get away with abuse like Salander's father? I've seen this happen, and propably so did you. A kid doing something desperate against an abusive parent? Every year dozens of stories about a child or teen killing or cripling an abusive father are reported all over the world. A pedophile doctor never being caught until late in his career? Google "Dieter Krombach" if you can stomach it.
Then come the part when she was in a juvenile asylum: she maintained her sense of self by reliving in her head her one moment of glory -turning the tables on her father- again and again and again and again.

This is not a "liberated female": in fact, she is still for most of the millenium trilogy treated as a minor by the system (she needs to ask permission to her legal guardian to get cash), and a good part of the bureaucratic prison built around her exist by her own fault: while she had reasons to distrust the system at first, it's her unwillingness to assert the fact that she's a functionning, autonomous and capable adult which convince people in charge of her case -even the honest, non-rapist ones- to keep treating her like a minor, and quite frankly, they have a point: for most of the trilogy, her outward ass-kicking-├╝ber-hacker hides a vengeful child whose universe revolves around burning alive the people she hates.
In fact, her biggest victory in the trilogy comes when she wins a trial, by actually trusting her lawyer instead of going through her Terminator in Goth clothing routine: It's not merely a way to includes some scandinavian court drama to the story: the trial in the third book is the moment when the angry, murderous child who keeps dreaming of killing her father and every other adult finally fades and Lisbeth finally becomes an adult, not the instable yet gifted enfant terrible shown through the trilogy.

Aiddon said...

My mother has read the books, I know what Lisbeth's whole schtick is. However, let's face it, her whole backstory is still pretty much a step-by-step retread of trying to give her anger a legitimate cause in order to make people feel cathartic when she gets vengeance against a bunch of strawmen

Nixou said...


Only at first glance: since she is always partly responsible for things which happen to her, the cathartic factor is not that strong: the whole Bjurman fiasco happens because at no point it occurs to her to warn her boss that her new legal guardian is trying to force her to give him sexual favors, what happens to her in later books is caused by the fact that Bjurman tried to get revenge against her and by the fact that she does not talk aboui her problem to Blomkvist: this did not make me as a reader make me pump my fist saying "You go girl! Punish these evil bastards!" but think along the "When will this stupid child get a clue that she's making a situation worse by beating up people?" line.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ last several posts

It's interesting that a character can be written just as misogynisticly as they can be misandricly. I might have to look into this book...

Mads said...

Who the heck even uses the word ignoramous.

I almost want to be called one just to see it used correctly in context, because that's never happened before. It'd be like seeing a dinosaur or something.

Don't sweat the internet thing. I mean, it sucks that you're spending a lot of time online and playing a lot of computer games if you don't _want_ that, if you're somehow malcontent about it...

But if you're content with it, rock on bro. People who don't respect a person doing something he or she enjoys that doesn't harm anyone, nomatter how antisocial, need to go stab themselves.

@ Bob

As other people in the thread have said, maybe doing something on higher functioninc autism is a good idea. Frame it however you want, but I think it'd be interesting if you gave us the big picture on mental dissabilities in the internet age.

Aiddon said...


"ignoramus: A really ignorant person. Someone who doesn't know how the world works, and doesn't CARE to know."

I swear every word out of your mouth just comes off as something misogynistic assholes like Bill Maher say and then wonder why people get pissed off. You act like a bitter 50-year-old man who's angry that the "poor, disenfranchised white man" has to take the occasional, well-deserved punch to the gut. Grow a thicker skin you freaking CRYBABY

KevinCV said...

@Mads, Nah, I made peace with the fact that I spend a lot of time online and playing games a long time ago. I consider it a part of my "proud to be a geek" stance. Plus, if it weren't for the Internet, I wouldn't have met my current girlfriend. She and I are so geeky, it's like we were made for one another. I count my blessings every day that we're still together.

However, I wouldn't go so far as suggesting they stab themselves because of their ignorance, willful or otherwise. Even if it would certainly feel a bit cathartic on my part. :)

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Aiddon

Interesting... you say that males deserve a "punch to the gut", and then you try to emasculate him by calling him a "crybaby"... but, he's the sexist one.

Mads said...


And we have a winner! I was accused of sexism first!

And thanks for looking up the word and using it about me (I assume)...I think it's even used correctly in this context. I mean, I don't think you really believe I'm a knownothing, but I do think you want to pretend like you believe it, so in that sense, I guess I just saw a dinosaur!

You act like a bitter 50-year-old man who's angry that the "poor, disenfranchised white man" has to take the occasional, well-deserved punch to the gut. Grow a thicker skin you freaking CRYBABY

So wait...I act like I'm a 50 years old baby? How does that make any kind of sense?

And...what exactly am I crying about again? Or being mysogynistic about, for that matter. If any of what I said was mysogynistic, then what you said was misandrist. They were complete equivalents, except directed at people of different sex.

If someone is going to argue that I was misogynist without simultaneously arguing that you were misandrist, then technically they'd be sexists for favoring one kind of sexism over another.

Which...I guess you do?

I like how this worked out.

Mads said...

@ KevinCV

I'm glad to hear it's working out for you :-)

Anonymous said...

Bob if you read the comments PLZ FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHANGE YOUR THEME MUSIC THAT TUNE IS SO SO SO! BAD Seriously its like a dentist drill.

Sir Laguna said...

+1 for Hack/Slash reference!

Final Stage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Final Stage said...

I vote Bob stay the course with his intro music. Paul Gilbert f'ing rules.

On a side note, has anyone had problems accessing the video & the escapist in general? For most of December the site's been very temperamental (at least on my end).

Sylocat said...

@Mads: Perhaps you were accused of sexism first because you were saying sexist things?

@MovieBob: So, are you going to be posting more of those text reviews, here, or was reviewing J Edgar a one-time thing? I'm very curious to hear what you thought of Young Adult.

Mads said...

Nah. You said the exact same thing about men that I said about women.

You'd be a sexist too, and we all know that's impossible ;-)

Anonymous said...

So Bob, would you prefer this version or the Swedish adaptation? (I believe you offhandedly mentioned seeing the Swedish adaptation at the end of a review)

Your main issue with Fincher's film seemed to be that Mikael came across as a Mary Sue, and that view colored everything else you said about the movie. I don't think that was the case with Swedish version, where Mikael came across as a much more flat character, and therefore would be unlikely to be primarily thought of as a Mary Sue.

But then again you referred Fincher to as a gourmet chef and claimed Mara was more believable, so I therefore ask you:

Which did you prefer?

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