The last couple days have been anything but exciting, though fun and relaxing all the same. Mariette’s parents biked out yesterday against a strong wind for fika (they are both over 80) and to look at some paintings. Bianca enjoyed it as much as they did.
This morning she (Bianca) treed a squirrel, which was the high point of our walk.
The highlight for us was going to a movie for the first time since we have been here. And it is possible to compare the entire experience from setting to subject matter.
For starters there is only one theater in Halmstad, albeit with 6 screens. I guess this is what passes for a multiplex in Halmstad.
Tickets were an outrageous 16 bucks. Apiece. Popcorn was better tasting and comparable in price to the U.S. The godis were cheaper. Seats are assigned, not first come, first served as in the U.S. Mariette remembers there being a few theaters when she lived here growing up, even with a smaller population and many fewer young people back in the day.
We were here to see the Hollywood remake of “Men Who Hate Women” — er, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Just as the American publisher softened the original name of the book for an American audience, so has Hollywood softened the story for the U.S. market. More on that in a minute.
Stairs up to the individual theaters.
We did not see a popcorn machine. The boxes were sitting in a heated case next to the soft drinks.
Godis bins and packaged candies.
Cornball signs were a nice touch, I thought. Mariette was unimpressed by the whole place and says she misses American cinemas, even though the seats were comfortable.
The shots I took inside were too bad even for me to post (which is saying something) but suffice it to say that there was only one coming preview and most of the ads were for local services (many of them governmental or union-based, such as propagandizing farmers). The production values would be laughable in the U.S. but the content was no better or worse than the U.S.
Now, down to the film. Mariette was a huge fan of the later Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and we have seen the films more than once. They showed them to us in school so, I have seen them 3 times each, I guess. In English, of course, it was easier to follow the story line.
The title sequence of the Hollywood remake is really cool, even though it had nothing to do with the film that I could tell. Both Mariette and I agreed that it was good to see the Hollywood remake but that the Swedish version is actually quite a bit better in just about every respect. One thing that Mariette read about the actress who played Salander that tipped her off was Rooney Mara saying in an interview that she did not think that the Salander character was a vehicle for women’s rights or feminism. Larsson’s girlfriend took umbrage at the remark and said that were Larsson alive today he would be using the success of his books and the films as a platform for their messages.
My biggest gripe about the Hollywood version is that all the characters seem to have been somewhat flattened compared to the original film. Salander is not as messed up as in the original. (Stieg Larsson said he created Salander by imagining what Pippi Longstocking would be when she grew up.) Mikeal Blomqvist is not as crushed by losing his libel case, Bjurman (Salander’s second ward) is not as slimy, etc., etc., and so it goes.
At the end of the movie, people took their garbage and dropped it in a garbage can that had been moved inside the theater just as the end credits rolled. At least some people did. Being American still, we didn’t.
All in all it was good to go to a movie in Sweden and see what it was like and on the way home, I realized another good thing about Sweden–it is possible to pee almost anywhere you need to. I really had to go after we got off the bus. I realize that this advantage also exists in many places in the U.S., but Mountain View is not one of them.
Tomorrow, another great thing about Sweden–you can buy fireworks for New Years Eve!