Quantcast

The Girl In The Spider’s Web (Blu-ray Review)

The Millennium series is a property that studio heads just really want to see take off in the United States for some reason. Deriving from acclaimed books and the Swedish film/TV-miniseries starring Noomi Rapace, the US debuted the high profile David Fincher helmed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to an underwhelming box office and put a cap on what appeared to be a surefire signed off and done trilogy. With years away, they’ve decided to make what hasn’t been done before, the fourth book that keeps key player Lisbeth Salander in focus and see what could go from there. Unfortunately, more lukewarm reviews and a box office bomb. Perhaps this could make for a good Netflix or Prime original movie series instead? Anyway, you can check it out for yourself on Blu-ray when it hits February 5th!

Film 

Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder recruits hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal FireWall, a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. The download soon draws attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm. Further problems arise when Russian thugs take Lisbeth’s laptop and kidnap a math whiz who can make FireWall work. Now, Lisbeth and an unlikely ally must race against time to save the boy and recover the codes to avert disaster.

As much as they are trying to relaunch Lisbeth Salander and the Milennium series with The Girl In The Spider’s Web, its surprising how attached to the David Fincher film it looks and feels. The continuity between the two isn’t complete and direct, but its almost akin to watching a Roger Moore James Bond film right after you finished watching one of Sean Connery’s. It feels like the same hands are all involved and that this is a series, but you can sort of just hop right in here and enjoy this story all its own. The film has a look and environment evoking Fincher’s set up in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and even goes as far as to having a 007-esque opening credits sequence to boot.

The similarities stop there, though. Spider’s Web is a much more action-oriented, less mysterious film that feels more pulpy than its darkly dramatic noir that was the original. While I found the story/script to be a bit “blah”, Fede Alvarez’s film can’t be faulted for not trying to fuel it with some creativity and energy. The film features plenty of action pieces that at worst tend to be straightforward and enjoyably basic. He does, however, have many that feel unique with nice touches in camera angles/movements, lighting, choreography and such that actually make this film have a bit of rewatch potential.

Fincher’s film’s cast was made up of established and elite performers, and this one tends to pull from up and coming ones. Claire Foy had herself a pretty nice 2018 with The Crown, Unsane and First Man, with Spider’s Web wrapping it up. She’s a terrific Lisbeth, living up to expectations for the part and matching up to Rooney Mara’s portrayal and even touching on Noomi Rapace. LaKeith Stanfield kinda has a bit of a nothing role that he makes more interesting just from his presence. The new Mikael Blomkvist is where things feel a big difference as it feels like a little bit different take on the role. Its fine, but nowhere near as commanding or effective as the previous two performers in the role had provided.

Overall, The Girl In The Spider’s Web is some solid entertainment, even if it may become forgettable. Its a very well done rental kind of movie, and I do mean that as a compliment. Fede Alvarez really seeps through here as you can see his touch improving the source material and injecting enough to make some things interesting. We likely won’t see the Milennium series hitting theaters again ever after this one, but the film itself was all right. Unfortunately with the box office returns and following another entry that was moreso “all right”, that’s not going to cut it in this day and age.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Girl In The Spider’s Web was shot and finished with a 4K digital intermediate, which would be great if we were talking about the UHD version. It comes across quite fine here in the standard Blu-ray with some good crisp detail and a pretty share looking picture. It picks up little falling snow with some good precision and also has a nice palette of color with stronger saturation. Overall, the intended look of the film doesn’t lend itself to being pretty, but this disc showcases mostly to the best of the format’s ability.

Depth:  The film has a solid look to it and an above average depth of field. There are some good exterior shots looking very free and spacious, but the nature of this beast doesn’t lend itself to a lot of the pushback look. The sniper sequence proves one of the best. Motion is natural, cinematic and smooth with no real motion distortion issues.

Black Levels: Black levels are pretty deep, but an area that I could see improving quite well with the 4K UHD touch. There are some dark scenes that feel like they have some grain to them. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t the most colorful movie as its devoted to the grim and grit. Reds really pop here, especially on Camilla’s outfit. Whites actually come on quite impressive with good saturation.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones er on the colder end of the spectrum, flushing out to evoke the wintery environment. Facial features and textures come through pretty clear as dried blood, stubble, make-up, lip texture, freckles and more can be made out in my reasonable camera distances.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Audio Descriptive Service, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malaysian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese

Dynamics: This track is pretty active and playful for a 5.1 mix. I was hoping for an Atmos track, but the intricacies and well structured mix here make for a good time so as that is not to be too much on the brain when watching. It also strikes a solid balance between the vocals, effects and score with each being given ample attention and time to shine without interfering with one another.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer portion of the mix does rumble deeply with roaring fire, engines, car crashes, explosions and gunfire.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix mostly hangs out up front, but does provide some fun unique sounds, especially in the previously mentioned sniper sequence. Motion is tracked accurately.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, plenty audible no matter how loud or intense the action.

Extras 

The Girl In The Spider’s Web comes with the DVD edition and a digital copy of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Fede Álvarez and Screenwriter Jay Basu

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 15:36)

Claire Foy: Becoming Lisbeth (HD, 9:50) – Claire Foy, Fede Alvarez and others discuss the character and Foy’s preparation and execution for the role (She does talk about The Crown for a couple seconds). It goes over Alvarez wanting to defy expectation with the casting and Foy’s desire to try something against type for her.

All About the Stunts (HD, 6:40) – A quick piece regarding some of the action sequences in the film, mostly very EPK-like as they keep talking about what to “expect” in the film.

Creating the World: The Making Of (HD, 15:59) – Kicking off using the term “dark & gritty”, this goes into making the film but goes into the studio logic (Probably a kind spin on the first film not meeting expectation) on going with this direction and jumping to the fourth book (“We were waiting on it to come out”). This highlights on Alvarez much more and getting the look and craft of the film done right.

Secrets of the Salander Sisters (HD, 4:56) – Focuses on the relationship of the sisters in the story and getting the right performers to convincingly bring that bond to life.

Summary 

The Girl In The Spider’s Web is a decent thriller heavier on the action where a promising director and good performers elevate a weaker script. Its Blu-ray release provides a terrific presentation in both audio and video for the format. Extras are actually pretty useful surprisingly, so that is very welcome. Though, I’d put this film more in the curiosity rental column for most and the to purchase when the price goes down for the devoted Milennium fans.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments