“Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” footage from last night

HollywoodNews.com: Obviously, the eight-minute preview for David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is not online and probably won’t be at least until after the weekend. I do not know if it will be playing in theaters before theatrical prints of Straw Dogs or whether it was just something to get the film critics/pundits excited.

The footage is basically a primer for those completely unfamiliar with the franchise. We meet the main characters, we see Christopher Plummer lay out the primary mystery, and we get a look at our heroes in action, both when on the case and on their own time. First and foremost, let me just say that the footage looks absolutely breathtaking. While the pallette of choice is dark (think grey skies), there is a haunting and epic feel to the film that arguably surpasses its TV-movie of the week subject matter. But, it’s also the kind of specifically shot and grey-hued film that can look bloody awful when projected incorrectly. So unless I end up attending a press screening, I’m definitely forking out Arclight money for this one.

Having said that, the footage highlighted what I’d argue was a key problem with the original film. Namely, it’s not a very exciting or gripping story and it’s only the entertainment value provided by Lisbeth Salander that gives the film any juice. Rooney Mara certainly looks and acts the part, and I could easily see her scoring an Oscar nomination if the film breaks out. Her Salander comes off less like a standard ‘tough chick’ than a mentally scarred and fragile figure who happens to also be a computer genius who is able to defend herself when necessary.

But, other than her intriguing look and the somewhat unique nature of her character (plus hopefully strength of her Mara’s performance), the film is still a relatively cut-and-dry mystery picture. It looks absolutely beautiful, but I cannot help but think that having David Fincher remake this picture is a bit like asking Thomas Keller to cook a hot dog. Obviously, if you’re a fan of the original series, feel free to disagree and know that you’ll be in heaven come December 21st.

Photo by Sony Pictures

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