Tall Drink of Nerd: Your Book to Movie Docent [The Girl Who Played With BOOK WEEK 2!]
I am The Girl Who Translates Stieg Larsson Movies for Her Husband. After stumbling across the first movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Netflix Instant queue, I got hooked into the intricate storyline and decided to read the last two books. From Larsson’s prose I found out the people of Sweden are: horny, kinky, buy things from Ikea and spend 18.45 kronor on 6 Billy’s pizzas, a pint of orange juice and a copy of the paper. Also, did I mention they swing and are horny?
My feelings on Larsson’s writing are complex; love the story, dislike the writing style. I waded through the dry, detail heavy prose wondering if the original Swedish version was this stiff or if the translator had burnt the prose to a crisp. The important part, the story was uniquely compelling, dramatic and humane. The story kept me in a book that, normally, I would physically toss across the room to punish it for wasting my time. (It begs the question; If it was this dry before translation, did this book get a pass from editors because ole Stieg was dead when it was published? How does one collaborate with a dead author? Do the Swedes just really get into minutia?)
I could have waited for the next Girl Who… movies that were coming soon, but the majority of movies that I’ve seen made from novels leave out so much. In order to get the whole experience, I needed to push through heavy novels filled with minute details of how much a cheese sandwich cost and lengthy lessons of Swedish political history (I started to skim through the extraneous bits). Persistent reading was rewarded with rich characters, a LOT of rich characters and a plot that got so twisty, Hasbro should get a piece of the residuals. After I finished The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest with a satisfied sigh, I felt triumphant, like I had completed the journey with Lisbeth and pals.
When The Girl who Played with Fire finally lit up our Netflix queue, I couldn’t wait to bring my husband into the crazy adventure. The movie started by jumping over the first 200 pages of the book, skipping a whole storyline. Alright, it wasn’t necessary to the plot. While it was nice to not know exactly how much everyone was paying for each cup of coffee, a lot of stuff got missed. A ton of characters, who were integral to the story, got downsized to background players. The dense novels needed to be girdled to fit into a sexy size 2-hour movie. But, pretty soon, Seen (my hubby) got lost and started asking questions.
“Why were those guys beating up the roommate?” or maybe just a “What was that all about?”
I explained what I could, shored up character backgrounds, the who-did-what-and-why. I felt like an anthropologist, giving a guided tour of this culture to a museum visitor who could only see select artifacts. “You see these lesbians, they aren’t in a relationship, it’s more of a ‘friends with benies’ type of scenario. Now let’s move along to the married woman banging the reporter.” (Even the kinkiness was toned down, slightly, for the movies.)
To be fair, these movies are really well done. The chyck who plays Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is over-the-top good. She defines the character. Good luck American re-makers! I understand the Larsson movies better because I read the books, which I like to think of as research. Seems like this producer assumes his only audience will be the massive readership who followed the novels (or that they will explain missing points to the guests they drag along.) It was worth it to wade through the prose so we could enjoy the movies as I filled in the gaps.
Now we’re off to see Harry Potter 7 pt 1. Out of respect for you other folks in the theatre, I’ll wait until after the movie to explain things to Seen.
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