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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


The Girl Who Played With Fire [Blu-ray]


(Daniel Alfredson, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Yellow Bird Films

Video: Music Box Films Home Entertainment



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:33.056

Disc Size: 26,913,699,196 bytes

Feature Size: 23,654,694,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.64 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3434 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3434 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Swedish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps



English (SDH), none



• Cast and Crew Interviews (13:59 in HD!)

Neidermann vs. Roberto: Behind the Fight Scene (9:45 in HD!)

• Sneak Preview of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2:39 in HD!)

The Canadian and Momentum package includes a, second disc, DVD of film





Description: Based on the international best-selling novel, The Girl Who Played With Fire is the explosive follow-up to the literary and cinematic hit The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. In this second installment of Stieg Larsson's phenomenal "Millennium" trilogy, Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. A researcher and a Millennium journalist about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and violent behavior makes her an official danger to society. Mikael Blomkvist, Salander's friend and Millennium's publisher, is alone in his belief of Salander's innocence. Digging deeper, Blomkvist unearths evidence implicating highly placed members of Swedish society - as well as shocking details about Salander's past. He is desperate to get to her before she is cornered - but no one can find her anywhere.



The Film:

Those who need a break from the romantic travails of Bella Swan — and who like a best-seller-list tie-in for their moviegoing — will welcome the release of “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” the second installment in the Swedish trilogy based on Stieg Larsson’s novels. Hollywood remakes are not far off, but what Anglophone actress could match the intense rightness of Noomi Rapace for the role of Lisbeth Salander? Ellen Page? Carey Mulligan (listed as “rumored” on the IMDB Web site)? Miley Cyrus?

Mr. Larsson’s “Girl” books (including the last one, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” which was recently published in the United States) may not be great literature, but it would be foolish to deny that Lisbeth is a terrifically compelling character. She embodies so many cultural fantasies and anxieties that it is hard to imagine anyone who could resist her magnetism. Antisocial and deeply principled, a computer nerd with lethal fists, a chain-smoking sexual athlete and merciless scourge of sexual predators, Lisbeth elicits disparate instincts in viewers (and in some of her fellow characters) that are less contradictory than mutually reinforcing. Do you want to protect her? Sleep with her? Hang out with her? Or be just like her?

By “you” I mean primarily Mikael Blomkvist, the muckraking, bed-hopping journalist who is Lisbeth’s confidant and alter ego, and the conduit between her inscrutability and the audience’s desire to know her better. Mikael, as played by Michael Nyqvist, is as open in his demeanor as Lisbeth is secretive, though he also frequently operates by means of indirection and outright deceit.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY times located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, I feel reasonably certain that I have the Canadian (Alliance) Blu-ray sent as a screener but just like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo I doubt it will vary too much from its US counterpart.  The image quality shows some grain but visuals aren't pristinely sharp. There is some noise and the bitrate is modest.  Colors look accurate and un-manipulated and close-ups shows some texture. This Blu-ray isn't going to 'wow' you with the video presentation but it certainly looks HD - just without much of the depth and striking qualities many look for in a 1080P transfer. This is not to say it is poor - just less remarkable than many might have anticipated.
















Audio :

Once again we have a poor choice by the Blu-ray producers - the lossless track (DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3434 kbps) is an English DUB ?! and the original Swedish track is a simple Dolby 5.1 . The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo also didn't offer a lossless track and this is quite a blunder in my opinion. What were they thinking? Anyway, I only sampled the DUB but, obviously preferred and recommend (always) original language whenever available. The Swedish language has some range and depth but not at the level and HD rendering would support. There are English subtitles if you choose the Swedish track - and there is a standard 5.1 English DUB as well. My Momitsu has identified it as being 'A'-locked.



Extras :

Extras are a disappointment with only some fluff including 14-minutes of Cast and Crew Interviews (however none of the major performers) giving brief soundbytes in Swedish with English subtitles. There is a brief synopsis of the choreography of the Neidermann vs. Roberto fight scene from the film. This last 10-minutes and we get a 2.5 minute sneak preview of the upcoming The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. So no commentary and slap-dash supplements sent along with the source. Also included is a, second disc, DVD of the film (For Canadian and UK packages).



In most respects I believe this is as good as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - which started more methodically - where The Girl Who Played With Fire jumps right into the fray - following right behind the precursor's plot. It's a bit convoluted and I'd say you definitely need to see the first part to have a hope of following the events of the second. Good action, well-paced and more tidbits of information endearing us to our protagonists - perhaps not as nuanced as the first. The Blu-ray may be modest on most fronts but it still gave me a presentation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, now I am anxious for part 3! Most fans will appreciate this 1080P transfer - more because of the film than the, less distinguished, a/v. 

Gary Tooze

October 16th, 2010



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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