The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed satisfying.
Overall sharpness appeared good. Some interiors could be a little soft, but the majority of the film displayed nice clarity. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws caused no distractions.
In terms of palette, the movie tended toward a mix of blues, greens and yellows. This meant we didn’t see much visual variety, but the hues looked fine given the constraints. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows demonstrated good clarity. I expected a positive transfer and that’s what I got.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, music ruled the day. The score filled out the room in a bold manner that used the whole spectrum well.
Given the chattiness of the movie, effects played a modest role. These components went with environmental material, some of which became moderately involving, such as during snowy sequences or those on streets/trains. The track wasn’t super-involving, but it fleshed out the story well.
At all times, audio quality was positive. Speech appeared concise and accurate, without edginess or other concerns. Music came across as lively and full, and effects were fine for what they could offer. Because the track didn’t do a lot beyond music and speech, I didn’t think it merited a grade above a “B”, but it still satisfied.
This package includes a slew of extras, most of which reside on Disc Two. Disc One offers a single component: an audio commentary from director David Fincher. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the opening credits, music, editing, cinematography, sets and locations, story/character/screenplay areas, cast and performances, effects, and related domains.
A veteran of the format, Fincher offers a typically strong commentary. Granted, he tends to tell us what he loves a little too often, but he compensates with more than enough good data about the film. Fincher covers a solid array of topics and does so in an open, informative manner.
As we head to Disc Two, we open with a six-minute, 40-second featurette called Men Who Hate Women. It includes notes from Fincher, screenwriter Steve Zaillian and actors Daniel Craig, Joely Richardson, Steven Bergoff, Rooney Mara and Stellan Skarsgard. “Hate” offers some reflections on the popularity and appeal of the Girl books. This could’ve become fluffy, but it actually delivers a smattering of insights.
Under Characters, we get a mix of elements, each of which relates to specific roles. Salander, Lisbeth offers five featurettes: “Casting Salander” (15:42), “Different in Every Way” (5:32), “The Look of Salander” (14:06), “Mara/Fincher” (4:09), and “Irene Nesser” (6:25). In these, we hear from Mara, Fincher, Craig, Richardson, Zaillian and costume designer Trish Summerville.
We learn how Mara got the part and her approach, aspects of Salander, costumes, hair and makeup, the Mara/Fincher working relationship, and the “Nesser” character. These pieces mostly work well and give us good thoughts about the Salander part and Mara’s efforts to bring her to life.
We also find “Salander Test Footage”. This runs two minutes, 53 seconds and lets us see Mara’s early take on the character. The snippets probably should’ve just been incorporated into the featuretttes, but they’re still fun to view.
Next we shift to Blomkvist, Mikaeland three more featurettes: “Casting Blomqvist” (6:44), “Daniel Craig on Film Acting” (3:31) and “Dressing Blomkvist” (2:56). These offer comments from Craig, Fincher, Zaillian, Summerville, and Mara. These clips follow the same topics found in the “Salander” programs, though without as much detail. That’s not a complaint – Blomqvist is less interesting than Salander – and the segments provide more useful material.
“Investigation” provides stills that come in four domains: “In the Cottage” (37 frames), “Anita in the Window” (13), “Harriet at the Parade” (16), and “Vanger Newsletter” (14). These let us see close-ups of props and other details. They offer a mix of intriguing tidbits.
“Characters” finishes with Vanger, Martin and its five featurettes. We see “Stellan Skarsgard on Film Acting” (3:13), “Psychopathy” (6:11), “Bondage” (5:29), “Torture” (4:09) and “Wrapped in Plastic” (4:37). In these, we hear from Skarsgard, Fincher, Zaillian and director of photography Jeff Cronenweth.
Expect more content similar to what we found in the prior two collections, though we get more behind the scenes footage than usual. It’s another good collection of segments, especially when Sarsgard discusses his approach to the role.
“Vanger” concludes with “Set Design”, another package of stills. These look at “Hedestad” (22), “Vanger Estate” (17), “Vanger Attic” (30) and “Harald’s Den” (18). Expect another fine compilation.
On Location splits into two areas. Sweden gives us five featurettes: “Stockholm Syndrome” (17:54), “Stockholm’s Tunnelbana” (6:24), “Fuck These People” (6:03), “The End” (11:58) and “Picture Wrap” (6:53). These deliver comments from Fincher, Cronenweth, Mara, Zaillian, Craig, Skarsgard, line producer Malte Forsell, and actor Goran Visnjic. As expected, these pieces look at aspects of the Swedish shoot. With good insights and plenty of footage from the production, these add value.
Under Hollywood, we get seven more components: “Casting Armansky” (4:44), “Armansky Audition” (6:42), “Thinking Evil Shit” (5:09), “Rape/Revenge” (16:52), “Int. Blomkvist’s Cottage” (5:42), “Int. Martin’s House” (7:39) and “Int. Salander’s Apt.” (2:40). Over these, we hear from Visnjic, Cronenweth, Fincher, Mara, Summerville, Zaillian, Craig, Skarsgard, and actor Yorick Van Wageningen. These continue the topics found in “Sweden” and give us many more nice notes. Even the “Audition” works better than usual, as it offers other perspectives as well.
This takes us to Post-Production and its four pieces: “In the Cutting Room” (14:23), “ADR” (6:37), “Main Titles” (2:33) and “Visual Effects Montage” (8:01). “Cutting Room” features editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, while Blur Studio’s Tim Miller narrates “Titles”. “ADR” offers raw footage of recording sessions, and “Montage” shows various shots pre/post effects. All of them deliver useful elements.
Finally, we head to Promotion. “Hard Copy” provides a “mock episode of the 80s-90s era tabloid show”; it goes eight minutes, 58 seconds and brings us a salacious look at the Harriet Vanger case. It’s a very fun extra, and optional commentary from producer David Prior gives us good background about it.
“Promotion” also includes seven TV spots and four trailers. “Metal One-Sheet” runs four minutes and shows the production of the movie’s poster. All these components add to the package.
A third disc provides a DVD copy of Tattoo. It comes with the commentary but lacks the other extras.
Filmmakers don’t get much better than David Fincher, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fails to demonstrate the director at his best. Although the story seems to be up his alley, Tattoo rarely threatens to live up to its potential. The Blu-ray delivers generally strong picture and audio as well as a great set of bonus materials. Tattoo offers mediocre Fincher.