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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [Blu-ray]

 

(Daniel Alfredson, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Nordisk Film / Sveriges Television (SVT)

Video: Music Box Films Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:27:10.946

Disc Size: 22,026,261,688 bytes

Feature Size: 20,090,265,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.95 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 25th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Swedish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Theatrical trailer (1:18)

Previews

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The final installment of the Stieg Larsson trilogy finds Lisbeth Salander fighting for her life in more ways than one. In an intensive care unit and charged with three murders, she will have to not only prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce the same corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

 

 

The Film:

It takes a while, but the saga of one of the more fascinating characters put on the page or the screen in recent years comes to a satisfying conclusion with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the last installment of the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's so-called Millennium Trilogy. That character is Lisbeth Salander, the computer-hacking, Goth-loving, dark angel of revenge, played by Noomi Rapace with the same black stare and taciturn charisma that were so riveting in the first two films (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, both also released in 2010). When we last saw her, Lisbeth was trying to kill her father, a Russian defector and abusive monster; in the process, the girl was seriously wounded by her half-brother, a hulking freak with a strange condition that renders him impervious to physical pain. As the new film opens, all three are still alive, and she's being taken to a hospital to recover while waiting to stand trial for attempted murder. Meanwhile, her champion and erstwhile lover, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), sets about uncovering the full extent of the conspiracy responsible for (among other crimes) Lisbeth's being sent to an asylum at age 12 while her father was protected by evil forces within the government. This investigation, which puts not only Lisbeth but also Blomkvist and his colleagues in considerable danger, leads to "the Section," a thoroughly repellent bunch of aging liars, killers, thieves, and perverts with a great many secrets they'd like to keep (the oily Dr. Peter Teleborian, who was responsible for Lisbeth's "treatment" as a child, emerges as the most vile antagonist since the guardian who brutally assaulted her in the first film). Although much of the exhaustive detail about these and other matters has been eliminated by director Daniel Alfredson (who also helmed The Girl Who Played with Fire) and screenwriters Jonas Frykberg and Ulf Ryberg for the purpose of adapting the novel to the screen, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is still quite long (148 minutes), and less kinetic and violent than the earlier films; there are some exciting sequences, but Lisbeth, previously an unlikely but magnetic action heroine, is seen mostly on a hospital bed or in a courtroom, and much of the film is spent on procedural matters. Still, the fact that the loose ends are wrapped up in fairly conventional fashion doesn't make the conclusion any less satisfying. In fact, the only real letdown comes from knowing that we won't get to see Noomi Rapace play Lisbeth Salander again.

Excerpt from Sam Graham at Amazon.ca located HERE

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

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest appears even rougher and grainier than The Girl Who Played with Fire (which was even more textured than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!) on Blu-ray from Music Box Home Entertainment (if this is the one in my possession - it has the exact same cover). I didn't see it theatrically but understand this is an intentional, stylistic, appearance - and frankly it suits. However, there are some noisy artifacts scattered throughout the 1.78:1 framed image. This is only single-layered with a very modest bitrate (but it is almost a long as the first entry). It doesn't look remarkable - because it isn't. This Blu-ray has no depth and aside from some strength of detail in close-ups is not going to bowl anyone over with pristine visuals. As the trilogy has progressed on Blu-ray it has become less dynamic in terms of technical strength (ex. this is both the first of the three that is single layered, and it has the weakest bitrate). For this film, I certainly don't mind the thick, raw, appearance. If you are expecting something shiny, glossy and vibrant though - you will be disappointed. Despite the weaknesses it's probably not far off the theatrical appearance. That is the most positive I can be.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The first menu screen allows the opportunity for either original Swedish with English subtitles OR with an English DUB (that is atrocious in my opinion). It then goes to the exact same 'Play', 'Chapter', 'Supplement' menu options. I have the feeling it was set-up like this as a legality to try to avoid original Swedish without subtitles - yet, I can remove them with my remote regardless. Once again, as on the two previous segments of the series, audio hasn't taken advantage of a lossless score for the original language (actually neither for the DUB either). There is some suspenseful moments and heavy action (although the third film here admittedly has the least violence of the three). I'm also unsure of the subtitle translations - the DUB seems to impart more information in my brief comparison - but I still wouldn't recommend that as an option. Both are Dolby 5.1 but can't respond anywhere near the strength, depth and crispness of a DTS-Master. I consider it a mistake. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

As the Trilogy progresses on Blu-ray the supplements are... shrinking. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest only offers a trailer and some Previews - that's it. It should have some viable extras relating to the film and production - especially this being the last.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This whole disc was authored like the series wasn't as successful as, I presume that, it was. Pretty cheap and slapdash. I liked the film a lot and would rank it behind the first but ahead of the second. Surely the Blu-ray is a let down in terms of audio and extras. The video transfer could certainly have been more robust too. For what is offered, beyond the content of the appealing film, is over-priced. So while I suggest the film - I'd recommend the cheapest way possible to see it - and a rental of this Blu-ray or a DVD might be the optimum way. 

Gary Tooze

January 13th, 2011


 

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.

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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