Tag Archives: Noomi Rapace

Prometheus: Things I Liked, Things I Didn’t

It’s been a few weeks now since Prometheus hit screens, but the vociferous dialogue about the film has barely died down – it has its fair share of lovers and haters, and it seems the only thing no one thinks is that it was just all right. I don’t fall into that category either, as I really enjoyed it and can’t quite believe the amount of vitriol I’ve seen hurled at it. In any case, here are the things I liked and disliked about it. I am NOT holding back spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, hold off on reading this until you have. There are plenty of other spoiler-free takes on the film around, both positive and negative.

Things I Liked

The visuals

Nobody denies that Ridley Scott’s strength is visual; even the people who hate Prometheus acknowledge that it looks ridiculously gorgeous. That goes an awfully long way with me, and giving me something pretty to look at is perhaps all-too-effective at getting me to overlook flaws in other areas. I think the flaws people have pointed out in Prometheus are largely overblown, but even if I didn’t, I’m not sure I wouldn’t still have enjoyed the hell out of watching it. From the opening fly-over to the intricate interior of the mounds, not to mention the dazzling effects in the map room and even the static-filled holograms, my eyes were happy every second of this film.

The story it chose to tell

There are lots of stories that could be told within the Alien universe, but when I rewatched Alien a few days before going to see Prometheus, I realized that the story I wanted to see was about the giant pilot in the crashed spaceship. At one point in Alien, that seems to be a big mystery, but then they get attacked, horror takes over, and it becomes about survival rather than discovery, and I wanted to get back to the discovery. Prometheus is all about the discovery, and tells the story that had piqued my curiosity in the first place. Even though the mystery isn’t fully solved, I felt more at home, inspired and fulfilled by seeing this story addressed.

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

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[Rating:3.5/5]

Originally posted on Row Three.

The Millennium Trilogy of films has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me – first chapter The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remains among my favorite films of the year, while its follow-up The Girl Who Played With Fire left me cold and disappointed. Going into the final film in the series, I was pretty much just hoping I would like it better than I did The Girl Who Played With Fire. And I did, though how much of that is due merely to tempered expectations I’m not entirely sure. In any case, if you did like The Girl Who Played With Fire, you’ll probably quite enjoy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, as it’s a really good sequel to that film, though still not up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for me in either story or style. Okay, enough with the trilogy comparisons. I’m tired of typing these titles out.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest picks up right where the previous film left off, with a badly injured Lisbeth Salander being taken off to the hospital by a medivac crew. But her troubles aren’t over yet – she’s to stand trial for the murders pinned on her in the second chapter, plus the attempted murder of her father Alexander Zolochenko. Yeah, he didn’t die, though he’s in pretty bad shape, too. While she recovers in the hospital before her trial, Mikael Blomkvist returns to Millennium to put together a special issue intended to prove Lisbeth’s innocence as well as reveal her mistreatment at the hands of the state throughout her life. In a way, it covers similar plot ground to the second film, but more so, and to an actual conclusion.

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A lot of this film is taken up with a conspiracy within the Swedish government to protect Russian defector Zolochenko, and the lengths the remaining members (most of whom are aged, as the group was formed in the sixties) go to in order to maintain their cover and silence both Zolochenko and Lisbeth. I’m not sure if I missed some important subtitles somewhere along the line or if there’s a bunch of exposition somewhere in The Girl Who Played With Fire that I forgot, but I had some trouble figuring out exactly what this whole conspiracy was about, what they were trying to do, and why Lisbeth was so important to them. I’d be curious if this is any clearer from the books, but I haven’t read these two – perhaps someone who has could at least let me know if it’s worth reading them to answer all the “but…why?” notes I wrote while watching.

In any case, it may be a positive sign that I still found myself invested in the film and caring what happened. All the courtroom scenes are fantastic, and perhaps show Lisbeth’s particular way of handling herself when she’s forced to interact with other people better than anything in the whole series. She’s sporting a new look for them, too, as you can see in the screencaps (she only adopts the punk look for the trial, part of her general no compromise stance – and it looks awesome). I also quite liked the subplots dealing with Millennium itself and Mikael’s relationship with Erika, which was kind of skimmed over in the other films. The callbacks to previous events are nicely handled as well.

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However, as this one does follow right on the heels of The Girl Who Played With Fire, it still has many of the same elements that disappointed me in that film – it’s still wholly focused on Lisbeth, while I preferred the first film’s thematically-related but distinct mystery, and it still has Lisbeth and Blomkvist working largely separately throughout the whole film. In addition, I wanted Lisbeth to have a little more agency than she does – unfortunately, she’s fairly passive this time around, only given some real action toward the end. On the other hand, some of her character moments shine the brightest here, and I really appreciated some of the quietness after the almost comic-book-action-hero Lisbeth we got in the second film.

In addition to the conspiracy not really being that clear, there are other plot issues that had me scratching me head a time or two wondering how exactly we got from there to here, but like I said, lowered expectations probably helped a lot, and it finished off the story begun in The Girl Who Played With Fire pretty well. I still don’t think either film compares with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but perhaps thinking of that one as a standalone and these two as a separate two-part story will make all three of them rate a little higher. In any case, Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyquist continue to play their characters with conviction that makes them rise above whatever issues the film has, and they will be what you remember.

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