We watched The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo last night. I’ve read Larsson’s book and thought it was good, but not great. I attribute his success to the global financial crisis and a reading public that appreciated a thriller in which socialist heroes destroy rich capitalists who are secretly all nazis and sex-murderers.
And I thought the movie was okay, but I was aware of how much plot and character development was missing in order to compress it all into the two and a half hour film, even though the original source material was already pretty superficial. I’d like to have watched a nine hour miniseries that really fills out the world of the novel and develops the characters and their relationships.
Film studios aren’t interested in projects like that – they can’t show them in movie theatres, so they can’t have red carpet events and get free publicity for their product. But they don’t make any money from showing movies like this in the theatre, they make their profits from (a) teenage oriented blockbusters, and (b) DVD and TV sales – and they can charge a lot more for a miniseries than they can for a single disk film. Hopefully the market realities of the industry will push them towards longer, TV series style projects over time.