These two movies could not be more different; one is dark and twisted while the other is filled with fun and adventure. Despite their differences, they're both worth your time.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is the highly-anticipated movie based on the best-selling book by Stieg Larsson about a Swedish serial killer. Daniel Craig (aka the current James Bond) plays Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist who lost a libel suit slapped against him by a rich and powerful business executive. Henrik Vanger (played by Christopher Plummer) is another rich and powerful man who offers to help Mikael take down the man who destroyed his career if he can find the person who murdered his niece more than 40 years ago.
Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander, the actual girl with the dragon tattoo. She's, let's just say, different. She's sullen, anti-social, punked out and multi-pierced; a far cry from your typical heroine but you'll be in love with her by the end of the movie. She works as a freelance investigator, using her impressive (and often illegal) computer hacking skills to dig up dirt. But at 23 years old, she's also a ward of the state because she set her father on fire when she was a child. The movie never explains why she set him on fire, which drove me crazy because there has to be a pretty intense story behind that, right?
When Lisbeth's caretaker has a stroke, he's replaced by a weasel of a man who uses his power over Lisbeth to satisfy his own perverted urges. But her revenge is intense and a satisfying moment for the audience.
Lisbeth and Mikael team up to track down a killer and uncover an explosive family secret. Mara is amazing as Lisbeth. She transformed herself physically to play this character and entrenched herself emotionally. When Lisbeth is just standing still, staring at something with that intense, dark gaze surrounded by that harsh halo of bluntly cut hair, she vibrates with energy and intelligence. Craig is just as impressive as Mikael, quietly playing a man desperate to get his professional reputation back.
Director David Fincher has created an intriguing movie that explores both the exploitation and power of women. Be warned: this ain't no warm and fuzzy holiday flick, but it is a good movie that you'll be thinking about long after it's over. Warning number two: this movie is a long one, nearly three hours. Skip the mega-large diet soda and be sure to make a visit to the bathroom before the movie begins.
I give "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" 4 out of 5 stars. It's rated R.
Now on to a completely different movie that will leave you feeling lighthearted and ready to take on new adventures. Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of TinTin" is an adaptation of a Belgian action-adventure comic strip. The motion animated flick centers around TinTin, a boy reporter who finds himself in the middle of a treasure hunt after buying a miniature replica of a ship that sank back in the 17th century.
I'm normally not a big fan of motion capture, but I like the animation in this film. The adventure takes you from land to sea to air, and it's visually captivating.
I saw this movie with a theater filled with children. While the action on the screen was good, their reactions were even more fun. They were laughing and gasping and just having a really good time tagging along with TinTin. The movie is probably better for slightly older children (at least 5 years old) because it has a plot that must be followed, but Spielberg and Peter Jackson have created something the whole family should enjoy.
I will say there are a few slow moments in this movie, but I still liked it. It sort of felt like an animated, kid-friendly version of an Indiana Jones movie.
And, fun fact, Daniel Craig is also in this movie. He voices in the revenge-seeking villain.
I give "The Adventures of TinTin" 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's rated PG.