First Hit: Being skeptical of a remake so soon after the original was assuaged by excellent execution.
Guy Richie might take a lot of lessons from David Fincher. Fincher took the challenge of creating a remake of a less than moderately successful film which had a huge book following within a couple years of the original, and make it really work.
I had anxiety that Noomi Rapace’s version of Lisbeth Salander in the original Swedish version would forever taint my being able to enjoy seeing anyone else in this role, but Rooney Mara did an outstanding job. Not necessarily better, slightly different and very effective.
The story was essentially the same, I got through the language issue (Daniel Craig made no attempt to be from Sweden) early on and within 15 minutes I did not notice it.
The scenery was exquisitely shot and provided the audience wonderful framing for the cold hearted story which is told. Craig as Mikael Blomkvist was clearly a strong force in the film and was a different take than the original.
In this version Blomkvist was a stronger more powerful energy. Even though this film was 2 hours and 38 minutes long there was not one wasted frame. Every moment was clearly scripted and directed.
Rooney Mara was outstanding as Lisbeth and her intensity, physicality and intelligence showed through this film like a beacon of light. Craig was superb as Blomkvist. His intensity and intelligence matched Mara’s and therefore they fit well together. Christopher Plummer was perfect as Henrick Vanger. Stellan Skarsgard was sublime as Martin Vanger, the man who hated women and loved control through power over people. Robin Wright as Erika Berger, Blomkvist’s part time lover, friend and business associate was very good in a subtle, yet critical, part. Steven Zaillian did an excellent job of creating the script from Stieg Larsson’s novel. Fincher fired on all cylinders and made this film his. The moment the initial credits rolled, with an old, but updated, Led Zeppelin song in the background, the audience knew they were in for something interesting.
Overall: This was a very good and successfully developed remake – Kudos to all.