I initially resisted watching the Swedish films, thinking they would be crappy compared to the books. On the insistence of one of my friends, who watched them after reading the books, I eventually saw them on DVD and they were great. They felt very much like the definitive films of the books to me. You should definitely watch these after reading the books.
When I heard there was going to be a Hollywood remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo I was very skeptical indeed. It’s just so rare for things to come out of that machine without being sanitized and homogenized to the point where any hint of potential hasn’t been washed away. When Lisbeth Salander got out of bed and put on a T-shirt with the words, “FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK”, I knew things were going to be OK. 🙂
As always, there are elements of the story from the first book that are missing and a few pieces that have been changed, probably to improve the pace of the film. Luckily, these don’t detract greatly from the overall theme. If you’ve read the books you’ll know they contain some very dark material. The film does not shy away from this, but is also not gratuitous about how it is portrayed, leaving enough to the imagination to allow you to think the worst. That’s not to say there isn’t any graphic stuff, there is, but not as much as there could have been…
It’s weird because the film and the actors themselves are not better or worse than those in the Swedish version. They are just different. Once you’ve read the books and watched the Swedish films, you should definitely watch the Hollywood version.
I guess I see the books, the Swedish films and the Hollywood film(s) as three different Universes, each with their own value. It’s hard to describe something so dark as enjoyable, but it’s well worth reading/watching in my opinion.
PS. At one point Lisbeth is writing SQL. I chuckled to myself as I sat in the cinema in my OTN T-shirt… 🙂