Monthly Archives: March 2012

Since You Asked, Here’s What I Thought of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo….Here It Comes!

Kids, you asked for it. Just saying…

First, let me start with this……….I LOVED the books. It took me some time to get into the first one, but then I just devoured them. It’s always a little hard for me to watch a movie made from a book I adored……the details aren’t right, the characters aren’t as I pictured them, and I’m so concentrated on the ‘back story’ that one often doesn’t get with a film (especially if I’m watching WITH someone who hasn’t read the book), that I tend to have a hard time NOT explaining things the whole time. And then, you have the inevitable plot changes that accompany the ‘book-to-movie’ deal, and those always piss me off, no matter how necessary…..

The gist, overall, I suppose, is this………I’m a movie nut. I love them. That’s always going to be swaying me to the side of being positive about any film. So, here goes.

In this remake, I liked Daniel Craig as Blomkvist, and I was relatively surprised by that fact….he was able to put more vulnerability into the role than I’d have suspected he was capable of, although it seems to me that care was taken to NOT allow the character to be too ‘unsympathetic’, as evidenced by the lack of his involvement with Cecelia in the film. With his becoming involved with Salander, and already obviously involved with Erika, it might have been too much for the viewing public to accept, and still allow him the ‘heroic’ role. To be honest, although Blomkvist is the protagonist in the series, I often found, while reading, that I wasn’t entirely sure that I liked him. Characterization in films is usually more black and white, so I wasn’t too surprised by that turn….

I adored…….let me say again, ADORED Rooney Mara as Salander. Again, I wasn’t sure that I would, at first. I’m not certain that my initial judgments on her portrayal weren’t colored by my having read ALL THREE books already……..but at first, it seemed to me that she was far too ‘don’t look at me, I’m invisible’……I didn’t like it. Reading the series, you come to know Lisbeth Salander as well as any other person COULD know her, and most of that knowing comes from extrapolation and intuition, mined mostly from details of her behavior. She’s meant to be almost unknowable, and then with our continued exposure to her character, to become, not so much transparent, but to become a reflective character, our ending perception of her dependent on the reader’s ability to empathize and draw conclusions about her character based on what we discover are her well-deservedly tangled motivations.

That said, as the film progressed, I was able to see some character movement on Mara’s part………..the ’opening up’ of Lisbeth Salander, and realized that, yeah…..without the backup of words on page, it had to be difficult to translate this particular character to film.

I won’t go on and on, kids, I promise…………Overall, I enjoyed the film, possibly because I love movies in general, and it has to be pretty darn bad for me to NOT watch and like.

In a nutshell, here’s my opinion: The film treated the original work fairly well……not too many horrific plot deviations (although enough for me to wiggle in my seat, until I could say out loud, “THAT’S not what REALLY happened“, to the hubs). I was able to ’believe in’ the two main protagonists, Blomkvist and Salander, so that didn’t constantly distract me from the action and conversation. Because I’d read the books, I’m not too sure of how well the various conflicts and details were explained……….and I explained them to the hubs, so he wouldn’t be unnecessarily distracted by NOT knowing. I did NOT like the plot change that involved Harriet’s final reveal. Obviously, Christopher Plummer was amazing, and his just being IN the film gave it more cache….

One thing that I DIDN’T like, or understand……….the gratuitous footage at the beginning of the film, during the opening credits. Not that I have anything against the footage itself…….it was extremely creative, well shot, well edited………I’m not entirely sure what the point of the whole sequence was. Lisbeth Salander does, yes, live in a kind of fringe culture…….but nothing like what that first montage suggests. Unless the montage was meant to symbolize the serial killings we later learn about? To me, it was a stretch, and gave an uninitiated viewer an entirely unrealistic idea of exactly what type of film they were about to see. In my opinion, gratuitous.

Overall, I’d give the film a B, if I had any supported ability to actually ‘grade’ movies………LOL!

Maybe it’s a good thing I’ve never been tapped for this sort of thing? Probably.

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Department of Defense MAY Have Made a Bad Call…..

So…….you guys remember the whole deal where my hubs (who’s served in the US military for 24 years) was trying to apply for VA benefits, and found that the gov’t had lost his proof of having been deployed?

Shortly thereafter, I received in the mail a survey. From the Department of Defense. Asking me, as a military spouse, how ‘supportive’ I felt that the military has been, of my spouse, during his career, and what my feelings were regarding such.

One look at that survey, and the hubs said, “Oh, HELL…….They don’t know who they’re asking, do they!?”

Here are a couple of the answers I gave, to questions in the vein of, ‘how do you feel about how your spouse regards his service’, and ‘do you feel that the military has been financially supportive of your spouse and your family?’

Y’all take a breath, ’cause here it comes:

*A. My feelings regarding my husband’s participation in the Air Force Reserves are mixed at this point. He moved from Active Duty to the Reserves in 1994, and has been very pleased and proud to serve.

Unfortunately, in January of 2011 he was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type II. Since that time, he has been No Points, No Pay, No Participation. He was informed that he was disqualified from military duty due to being insulin-dependent, and was told that his re-enlistment would not be honored, forcing his retirement from the Reserves. Despite the fact that his forced retirement is involutary, and stems from a medical problem, he has been informed that he is unable to be medically retired, and will thus not receive the benefits inherent therein.

In addition, in attempting to apply for benefits through the VA, we have discovered that his DD214s for deployments have been lost, and no one seems to be able to locate them. This causes severe limitations regarding his VA benefits.

The entire situation has led to a kind of disillusionment for my husband. He has loyally and proudly served his country as an Active Duty Airman, and as a Reservist, assuming that his dedication would be recognized and rewarded accordingly, per his exemplary service record. It unfortunately appears that this was a faulty assumption.

A serviceman who has spent his entire adult life in service to his country should not have to struggle, scramble, and fight to receive the bare benefits due him by right.

B. We are in a situation that is untenable. Due to the lack of additional Reserve pay in the last twelve months, we have fallen further and further behind in our financial obligations, and have had to file bankruptcy to attempt to catch up.

I am a Registered Nurse, but am currently unable to apply for Utah licensure due to the complete lack of necessary funds to do so, making our financial situation that much more dire.

I would HOPE that the military will be able to locate my spouse’s DD214s so that he can then receive accurate benefits from the VA. I would also hope that there could be some review of his retirement status; since he is not allowed to re-enlist and is forced into retirement for a medical reason, it escapes me how a medical retirement is not allowed or approved. If the purpose of receiving a medical retirement is to allow for immediate support and treatment of illness or injury for the retiring serviceman, it seems ludicrous that this is denied to him.

After his lifetime of service, it pains me to see how disillusioned and disappointed my husband is with the military, and with his government, for allowing this kind of shabby treatment. I believe that it makes him feel unappreciated and misused. And, in my opinion, we are in a sorry state of affairs when lifelong service does not earn appreciation, respect, and supportive treatment from those one has served.

Thank you for this opportunity to relate our experiences and feelings.*

I’d guess it’s true. They picked the WRONG bitch to survey……