This is my very first book to movie review, but it's not the firsttime I've watched a movie based on a book I've read before. I know how people can be, sometimes even me, that when watching a movie adaptation of a book, they want those two to be identical. It is practically impossible. So what I look for when doing a comparison is that the movie did justice to the book.
The Sweedish version of this movie came out in 2009, it was directed by Niels Arden. Lisbeth Salander is played by Noomi Rapace, and Mikael Blomkvist is played by Michael Nyqvist. That is probably one of the most famous local movies in Sweeden and was a worldwide success as well. The US version of the movie came out in 2011, directed by David Fincher. Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craigplays Mikael Blomkvist. That movie was very successful as well and it was nominated for various awards.
Both movies were extaordinary by themselves. What I mean by this is that people who didn't read the book were able to enjoy the movie at its fullest. And they could also understand what was happening without the necessity of knowing the book's every detail. The Sweedish version, as well as the US version succeeded in doing so.
First of all the character adaption. I think it irritates us all when, for example, the character's a blond and they cast a brunette. Or when the character's outgoing and they portray a shy one. This wasn't the case in neither of them. Noomi Rapace was stunning as Lisbeth Salander, she brought the character to life in a very literal way. Physically she looked just the way she was described in the book. And the characterization and performance was trully impressive. Now to the US version, I was excited when they announced that Rooney Mara would play Lisbeth Salander. I first saw her in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and even though it's not that good of a movie, I loved her performance. She trully proved herself in this movie, and she did a really good job playing Salander. I liked watching them perform the hard scenes, especially because Lisbeth is such a complicated character, breinging her to life must've been a challenge. In the books, this character brings out so much emotion, not from the outside, but she's got so much in her. They both managed to transfer those emotions without the need of a omniscent narrator. Which is the hard part of the adaptation, because the narrator, dialogue and description make up the story. In the movie you have to get rid of the narrator and adapt the description. Which is why I think that in the acting part, they aced it. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a tough choice, since they were both unbelievable, but I think I would pick Rapace.
I could say the same for the rest of the cast. In the Sweedish version all of the actors were completely unknown to me, but they did surprise me. I know that Daniel Craig is hotter than Michael Nyqvist, but they both were marvelous as Blomkvist. The rest of the characters like Martin, Cecilia, Harriet, etc. were excellent in both of the films. They didn't go wrong when casting.
Now the most important part of an adaptation, the plot. They always end up cutting it. It is important to make it shorter, while keeping the important details. In this part, it was pretty surprising that the US version did that better than the Sweedish version. It impressed me how similar the US movie and the book were. I think that the only thing they radically changed was the ending, but the rest of it is as close as the movie could get to the book. Probably the best book to movie adaptation I have seen so far.
The Sweedish version was also good in adaptation, but quite few things were changed. Those things didn't make the movie less understandeable, they weren't key to the story, but they could've been there. Ironically, this version chose to keep certain scenes that the other movie chose to omit. Like in the US movie they don't show that much about Lisbeth's mother or her past. Only a dialogue she has with Craig in the movie mentions it. But on the Sweedish movie they show several flashbacks. Also, Cecilia Vanger was a more important character in the Sweedish movie than the other one, they chose to show heraffair with Blomkvist. And they kept the ending the same as the book, while the US version didn't.
In conclusion, I did like the US adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo better. The way they asapted the story was impressive and almost identical. The casting was perfect and the performances were stunning, not to mention the settings and the score. However, that doesn't mean the Sweedish version is no good. It is very good as well,and the performances are amazing too. Plus, it was where it all started. It had its merits because its completely local. An adaptation from the local book with local actors and actresses. They are defenitely both worth watching.