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Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 117 minutes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, previews, DVD, digital copy
VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Descriptive Audio, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 DD, Thai 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese

STUDIO: Sony/ Columbia Pictures/ MGM/ Regency Enterprises/ YellowBird/ Pascal Pictures
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 11-9-2018
Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 2-5-2019
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB is very loosely based on the novel of the same name (the first novel written years after author Stieg Larsson died after writing the first three novels). This is Sony's attempt to do a sequel and semi-reboot without adapting the two novels in-between the first novel and this one. Director David Fincher, the writer of the English movie adaptation of THE GIRL OF THE DRAGON TATTOO, and stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are out after the development for THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE languished in development hell for a variety of reasons of the movie not making enough money back to what it cost to make, not wanting to pay Daniel Craig more to come back, and even trying to write the sequel without Daniel Craig in it. Fast forward to today and a new director steps in (Fede Alvarez) who wants to cast new people because he feels having people like Mara would be like having David Fincher's vision around (and he can't have that over his ego).

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB works as a good thriller with great action scenes and mostly a great cast except they cast the wrong guy as Mikael Blomkvist (Sevrrir Gudnason who is woefully miscast like they just pulled an actor off the street to do the role). Claire Foy is good as Lisbeth Salander even though the movie makes the character too much like a superhero vigilante type compared to the books and the other movies. The script dumbs down the plot of the movie and changes so many things including the macguffin getting switched from a quantum computer to a NSA nuclear missile hacking program known as FireFall. Lisbeth tangles with her sister Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks) who has taken over their father's criminal empire after he died. Yet the movie doesn't get Camilla Salander quite as ruthless as she is in the book instead of the evil woman who blames Lisbeth not coming back to rescue her. Frans Balder who created it gets his motivations in the novel mostly thrown to the side for the movie version, his son isn't a big autistic savant as he was in the book, and the whole Lisbeth Salander/ Blomkvist dynamic is all wrong including the writers getting the character of Blomkvist totally wrong for the movie. They change so many things from book to movie that it gets so many things so wrong compared to how the other books for adapted for film got the adaptations so right. It is another misfire spearheaded by Amy Pascal who also green lighted the woefully terrible Ghostbusters reboot. I wish she leave adaptations, remakes, and sequels to someone else who respects the characters and material more instead of something THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB that isn't nowhere the classic THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Something got lost with too many cooks in the kitchen and Lisbeth Salander got a little lost in this semi-reboot and sequel.

If you want to see THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, I suggest you watch Fincher's adaptation of THE GIRL OF THE DRAGON TATTOO and watch the wonderful Swedish adaptations of the first three books in addition to reading the five books in the book series (three written by Larsson and two written by David Lagercrantz). If you still insist on watching a movie that isn't as much of a train wreck as last year's movie of THE SNOWMAN, I wish the movie wasn't an adaptation of the novel and the characters in the Millennium book series since it would play well as a thriller without trying to be a poor adaptation of the source material and the characters weren't from this series.

Feature audio commentary with Director Fede Alvarez and screenwriter Jay Basu

Eight deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary by the director and screenwriter) which were great scenes in themselves according to the commentary and yet they were cut because they said it didn't fit with the final narrative of the movie. You get a little more of the climax and an alternate ending which don't quite work with the final cut of the movie.

CLAIRE FOY: BECOMING LISBETH (9:50)- the actor and others talk about how she became the iconic character
ALL ABOUT THE STUNTS (6:40)- a behind-the-scenes look at the stunts in the movie with the main focus of how they used practical and CGI to create the motorcycle jump off a dock and across an icy lake.
CREATING THE WORLD: THE MAKING-OF (15:59)- a promotional featurette on how on how producers got involved in making the Fincher directed version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and how they decided to reboot the series with THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB (since producer Elizabeth Cantillon said people loved the Swedish versions of the original trilogy better and hence why they didn't go with a sequel to the Fincher movie), how Fede needed his grey visuals by shooting in Sweden and Berlin, and other details on making the movie. My big takeaway from this fetaurette is they should have listened to the fans of the English adaptation of the first movie and brought back the actors and Fincher to make THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE or got Mara back to make a movie version of THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB which is closer to the source material
SECRETS OF THE SALANDER SISTERS (4:56)- a focus on the actresses who play Lisbeth and Camilla and the characters they play. Remember to watch the movie before you watch this featurette due to big spoiler sin the clips used for this one


A DVD of the movie in standard definition and a code to download/ stream a digital copy of the movie

FINAL ANALYSIS: I'm not denying the visual look and action sequences are great in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, but this adaptation of the book is a fail since it doesn't respect the characters and novel which it is based on. The making-of extras are great and the deleted scenes are worth watching. I hope a better adaptation of this book and the two sequels get made eventually, but I think fans of the English adaptation were expecting a movie of THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE more than Sony's poor attempt to adapt the fourth book without any of the cast of the last movie. If you placed different characters in this movie, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB would be a great thriller. If you are looking to own this movie in 4K UHD, you will have to import it since Sony/ Columbia pictures didn't release it in that format in the United States at this time (and probably cancelled or delayed the 4K UHD of Fincher's adaptation of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO due to poor box office of this movie).

This review is (c)2-6-2019 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com and look for additional content/ news at http://enterlinemedia.tumblr.com