To me, a movie based on a book I’ve read must meet two conditions to keep me in my theater seat munching on popcorn. First, the casting has to be perfect for all the major characters. I don’t ever want to see Jon Stewart cast as James Bond, for example. Second, the script has to stay true to the main plot, and preferably the secondary plot lines as well.
A couple of examples of good adaptations are The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series. Both did a great job of keeping me in my seat and bringing me back for movie after movie. Having said that, the film adaptation that knocked my literary socks off was the Swedish film adaptation of Stieg Larson’s Millennium Trilogy, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
From the moment Noomi Rapace came on camera as Lisbeth Salander, probably the most interesting literary character to come along in years, I knew I was in for a treat. She and Michael Nyqvist, who plays journalist Mikael Blomkvist, were perfectly cast, as were most of the other characters.
The films in the series also stay true to the central plot. My only disappointment was that several female characters not central to the main plot but central to the development of Mikael Blomkvist’s character were pushed to the background. But that’s a quibble.
Staying true to the plot, check!
The American adaptation is due out this summer, with Daniel Craig as Mikael. I’m okay with that, but I am fearful that the new Lisbeth Salander may not live up to the pitch-perfect casting and performance of Noomi Rapace.
One thing’s for sure: I’ll be there with my popcorn, hoping for the best.