Thea Belak ‘21/ Emertainment Assistant Editor
As great as movies can be, most film adaptations fall flat when compared to their book counterparts. Which is no surprise, considering how many adaptations chose to omit certain plot lines and characters, for the sake of an easier to follow the narrative. After all, books tend to be several hundred pages long. While the average film is only two hours long. Now, while some films have managed to toe this line between omitting certain things and still staying faithful to their book source material (the Harry Potter series) most are unable to. This isn’t to point the finger at film adaptations, as condensing novels down into screenplays while maintaining a cohesive plot that an audience can follow is no easy feat. However, a key factor to this, when adapting book series to film…is to adapt all the books. Not just the first one and then almost seven years later, the fourth one.
Stieg Larsson’s book series goes like this:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
The Girl In The Spider’s Web
The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye
In 2011, David Fincher adapted the first book (before this there was a Swedish trilogy made in 2009) starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. Both Fincher and Mara showed interest in continuing the series. Unfortunately, the project stalled, and neither ever got the chance to make the following two films. Then in 2018, The Girl In the Spider Web came out starring Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander. While the film did reasonably okay with audiences, it did poorly with critics and didn’t manage to make back its 43 million dollar budget. But just because the books failed to translate over to the American big screen doesn’t mean that you should give up on the franchise. What it means is you should pick up the first book to see what all the fuss is surrounding the series.
Yes, reading takes considerably more time than watching a movie, but let me tell you, these books are worth it. Lisbeth Salander is like no other character you’ve ever read. A woman of few words, violent actions and seemingly endless knowledge, just the mentioning of her name on the page will be enough to get you excited. At first, she keeps both Mikael Blomkvist, the disgraced investigative journalist through whose POV we get most of the first book, and the audience at arm’s length. She’s closed off and always on the defense, abiding by her
moral code and sense of vigilante justice. It’s not until close to the end of the second book does the reader start to feel like they’re getting to know Salander. That they get a glimpse underneath her hard exterior armor, into her past and understand why she acts the way she does. (Even after that, you should be ready for a few more surprises she has lying in waiting in the following books).
In a sense, the books are about Lisbeth’s gradual evolution throughout the series. From a closed off person who cares only for her own well being to a loyal friend who’s willing to risk her life. To a wrongly accused murder whose forced to face her childhood torture and psychopath family members. All while she’s forced to help solve a 40-year-old- murder case, go on the run and find out who exactly it is that framing her. So when you have the time, or if you even partly enjoyed either of the American films, READ THE BOOKS! At the very least, watch the Swedish Trilogy to understand why the series continues to make a global impression. Even after the death of its original author.