Saturday, November 27, 2010


Slightly snowy on the park this morning.

We have a total charade with Doggo as we leave the park. He stands stock still and will not move. Then slowly he lifts his left paw. I have a look; he has a bit of ice between his pads. I remove it. He puts his paw back on the ground but still doesn’t move. Then he slowly lifts his right paw. I repeat the treatment with his right paw but still he doesn’t move. Ok. I’ll have a look at the back ones as well.

L and I head into town on Sunday night and have a look around the Market Square. Daughter is out too, in the pub again. Honestly, I blame the parents.

Our Market Square, since it’s revamp, is usually just a giant patio with a water feature at one end but for Christmas they’ve got the ice rink back again and have done the rest out as Hogsmeade, according to L (Translation for unbelievers: A picturesque little hamlet of thatched cottages and shops, which is the only all-wizarding village in Britain, with enchanted candles hanging in the trees and on the main line to Hogwarts. Yes, it's a Harry Potter thing). She might have a point; they seem to have included a train.

However, it’s supposed to be Dickensian, just shows the council can’t get anything right and it’s so kitschy, complete with Dickensian burger stall.

The Christmas tree is nice though.

They’ve also included an Olde English tavern. Which must really have annoyed Nottingham’s many Olde English taverns and particularly the nearby Grade II listed Bell Inn which is quite olde and quite English, dating from around 1437. Just to show willing we pop in for a drop of traditional Olde English ale but they don’t have any... just good old traditional San Miguel and the like. Hmm perhaps not, we move on.

They’ve got Sooty Stout in Broadway, that’s more like it.

So the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy comes to its conclusion with ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest’ or to give it its Swedish title ‘Luftslottet Som Sprängdes’ which translates literally and badly as ‘The Air Castle That Was Blown Up’. It seems that in Swedish an ‘Air Castle’ is what we would call a ‘Pipe Dream’. With that info the title starts to make more sense.

The film picks up exactly from where the second one left off and because of that it’s kind of important to have seen that film. Preferably you need to have read the books because again there’s quite a lot of unexplained stuff going on.

Our heroine Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) has somehow survived being shot in the head, as well as in the hip, and is now in hospital. Just down the corridor is another patient, the man who tried to kill her, her father Alexander Zalachenko. He’s having an axe removed from his skull, which is where she left it. Amazingly neither of them has a police guard. So it’s not difficult for the clandestine group inside the secret police, which we now know as ‘The Section’, to attempt to assassinate them both. They manage with Zalachenko but by more chance than anything they fail to get to Salander.

The film then follows Salander's rehabilitation process and also the preparation for her impending trail where she will charged with attempted murder. The same powers that be, who locked her in a psychiatric institution at the age of twelve, are hell bent on returning her there.

Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) meanwhile is preparing a special issue of ‘Millennium’ magazine exposing the whole shady lot of them and in the process hoping to exonerate Salander. What follows is a complex web of intricate plot lines and characters, which is why you need the background story. Many people muck in together to help her; her friendly doctor is on side, as is Blomkvist’s sister Annika Giannini, an attorney, who is to defend Lisbeth. Her fellow computer hacker Plague even rides in on his white horse to assist. The old men of ‘The Section’ however, have no boundaries and are prepared to do whatever is necessary to silence everyone, prevent exposure of their group and bury their secret forever.

Finally though Salander and Giannini have their moment in court, outsmarting the prosecution and turning the tables on their key witness Lisbeth’s former psychiatric doctor, Dr. Teleborian. That’s quite fun to watch.

Unlike part two, which was all action at the expense of a more meaningful plot, this film is the other way around and most of the action comes towards the end as Salander explores an old factory left to her in her father’s will. That said the suspense of the scene is diluted by knowing that her psychotic half brother is lurking there. The action with the nail gun doesn't disappoint though.

For a film that still sprawls itself over two and a half hours, it is still lacking in detail and I can’t imagine it makes much sense to the casual viewer. Obviously a lot of material had to be cut from each of the books, which are huge tombs, but they have made some odd calls about what to leave in and out. There are also superfluous additions. Scenes added of Neiderman and an unnecessary sub-plot concerning Millennium boss Erika Berger and a stalker that was altered from the book but still left needlessly in the film. It achieved nothing and if the minutes were so valuable, why waste them?

Both of the last two films had a badly cut feel about them and when I dig deeper I find out possibly the reason why. All three films were intended as a six part mini-series but were then cut down to a reasonable film length. With that information, it begins to make sense why it doesn't make sense. I look forward to seeing the DVD's of the full versions sometime.

Neither this film nor 'The Girl Who Played With Fire, were as compelling as ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ but it's not bad. Overall the series has been a little disappointing and for once I'm actually looking forward to seeing Hollywood’s take on these. Not all car chases I hope. However Hollywood’s Salander, Rooney Mara, has a lot to live up to. The films may have been a bit messy but Noomi Rapace has been outstanding throughout.

(Sunday 28th November)

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