10 May 2011

Millennium Trilogy Resolved

**** (4 stars)

I've been a bit preoccupied with life at the moment, so not a lot of time to sit at home and watch the Netflix collecting dust on top of my VCR/DVD combo. Last night I finally finished "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", the third film in the Millennium trilogy based on the best selling books of the same name. I reviewed the first movie on my older blog, but seem to have skipped the second one all together. Weird. If you haven't seen the movies or read the books you've probably been living in a distopian society that has outlawed all forms of entertainment. If that's the case, than congrats on escaping from the cult and let's get crackin' getting you up to speed.

**There Will Be Spoilers! (But, I'll try to keep them to a minimum)**

In the first film, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", we are introduced to Mikael Blomkvist- rogue journalist and editor of a seemingly boring political magazine. Blomkvist has just served a short prison sentence for slander when he is recruited by a wealthy old man to help solve the disappearance of his granddaughter. Blomkvist's search is too long and tedious to do alone, so he enlists the help of a computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander to help.  Lisbeth is a bit of a genius but the government has kept her under control by declaring her incompetent and locking her up in a mental institution when she was a young girl. What's the angle? Of course everything ends happily but of course that's not true or there would be no need for two other movies.

Cut to the second film, "The Girl Who Played With Fire". Blomkvist moves on with life and begins investigating a possible sex-traffic ring. He would be lost without Salander's hacking skills and once again enlists her to help. Unfortunately for her, there is more than meets the eye in this case and she is soon the scape goat for several murders that occur during the investigation. Now on the run, she must rely on Blomkvist for help this time around. These events unfold along with, and sometimes in conjunction with, the story of Salander's painful childhood and years of abuse. It is revealed that her father, whom she tried to kill as a child, is actually behind everything that has happened to her in life and is now the one trying to shut her up forever. Unfortunately for him, she gets there first and tries to kill him again. Blomkvist to the rescue and roll credits.

Now, in the final movie, Salander is clinging to life and about to face trial for the attempted murder of her father. We all know by now what a bad guy he is, but he has deep roots and trusted allies with which to help him. This film is a lot slower than the previous two and that's saying a lot considering the shortest of the trilogy is 129  minutes. The problem isn't necessarily the filmmakers as it is the author. Steig Larsson traumatically died shortly after the first book was published. We know through his long term girlfriend that a forth book was in the works. Would it have continued the story of Blomkvist and Salander? Was is something completely different? We may never know as it is tied up in the malicious court case between her and Larsson's family. [side note: If you're with a Swede, get married. The country does not recognize girl friends or common law wives, and the family can contest the will and estate in such cases. Bummer.]

The book was able to do a better job at explaining the government's connection to Salander's father and herself since it is unrestrained from the confines of time. To shot the book as written would require the film to be almost 8 hours long. The writers did a fine job editing out additional back stories and characters, yet they seem to have forgotten the main ones. How is Blomkvist so smart in the previous films but so dumb in this one? Why would Sweden protect such a nasty individual as Salander's father? The book fixes both of these problems and for that reason, I suggest you read it first. Otherwise, you will be left in the dark about many things that will fill in the holes the movies creates.

It is a bit of a sad conclusion to such a fantastic series, but not so far gone as to warrant massive complaints or calls to avoid it. You should see it. If you've already watched the other two movies, it will be impossible to ignore it. Furthermore, the English language remake is being filmed now and I can already guess there will be more car chases, bare breasts, and swearing than the original. Such a shame.


  1. I haven't read any of the books and have only seen the first two movies. I was pretty stoked on the DRAGON TATTOO and was all, like, "Hell yeah, I'm gonna buy the books and read them all because I don't want to wait until the other two movies come out! Shah!" Yeah, that didn't happen. Needless to say I was pretty excited for PLAYED WITH FIRE, but man, I was really underwhelmed when I finally saw it. I don't remember why exactly, but it was enough to make me not want to see HORNET'S NEST. Everyone I know who has seen the third one say it's a really slow and boring courtroom drama, basically. No thanks. As for the remakes, I'll give the first one a shot, just for curiosity's sake.

  2. Posted comments seem to be missing...

    @aaron- I think you've invested enough time to see the series through, but you are correct that the sequels don't match the 1st film. I liked the 2nd book best and was bummed that certain plot points I thought were important were left out. However, it did have the most action of any of the films. Perhaps when you're bored one day you can watch "Hornet's Nest". I just wouldn't recommend it if you're sleepy