Of dragons and fires

I had missed out on all of the film festivals this year, even the Iranian Nauruz festival, which I never missed annually whether here or back home in Singapore. I also missed watching some really good musicals like Natrah and Mahathir  and some others at KLPac  which I really wished I had gone to. All these were either due to work deadlines, husband’s work schedule-hence no transport-at-night-for-me-and-he-doesn’t-want-me-to-take-Malaysian-cabs-at-night, aikido trainings, out of town to SG/JKT and whatever else.

So in their place, I bought two dvds of two films which were screened at the some international film festivals somewhere, ‘Street Dance 3D’ – a UK production and The Girl With Dragon Tattoo, based on the book by Stieg Larsson of the same name.

I wrote here once that I have a fetish for a lot of Swedish things and hence, Larsson came into my warm embrace almost naturally. The first book, The Girl With Dragon Tattoo was thrilling and I finished it off in less than a week, considering the translation deadlines, an unexpected trip back to Singapore to see my ill grandmother, my student’s exams and all those other factors. I read it in the toilet, the cabs, while having my meals, while waiting in Qs and while frying tempe for dinner.

The book was engaging and mentally stimulating, so much so I found myself  taking part in the mystery solving of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance. I got hold of the dvd when I was at the last chapter of the book and I inserted the dvd while reading the last concluding line.

The film was no Hollywood film. It was in Swedish and unfortunately, the copy I got had already been dubbed into English. And may I add, bad subtitling.

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Sander, The Girl With Dragon Tattoo

I like everything about the film, except for the casting of the Blomkvist character. The character in the book depicted him as a charismatic journalist, good-looking lady’s man, suave and all those magnetic factors a protagonist, albeit a boy-next-door one can have. But in the film, they casted Michael Nyqvist, middle aged, heavy on the belly and not even close to being a suave charismatic lady’s hunk, which actually was one of the factors which carried the plot. At the risk of sounding like a bimbo, I was undoubtedly disappointed with this one weak link to otherwise a fantastic film. It was stiff, typical of any European production and it was straight to the point. Colder than German films and not as melodramatic as the French and Spanish films. Swedish film, this being my first time watching one, is as it is. Practical and straight to the point. Something new but refreshing for me.

Now I am onto the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire and at the point of writing this down, I am halfway through it. Honestly, I find this one draggy. It’s like having the perfect full course meal in The Girl With Dragon tattoo, only to be served a blah dessert with so many layers of different flavors. The kind where you don’t like it, but you need to finish it so that you know at least what’s in store in the final layer.

I just hope I have enough drive to want to even reach the final layer. Again, at the risk of sounding absurd, while reading the sequel, my mind cannot stop putting in the pot-bellied Michael Nyqvist into the Blomkvist character and that, I find somehow affected the thrill of my current reading.

2 thoughts on “Of dragons and fires

  1. The second book still not so bad but I can’t get through the 3rd book! Too draggy and too many names which after a while all sounded the same.

  2. I finally finished the 2nd book. And sudah lah tu.. enough of Swedish mafia.. heh
    I want to take a long, long break from it and then attempt book 3 maybe next year.

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