Pop Rocks: In Which I Conclusively Prove Lisbeth Salander's Cultural Supremacy

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​David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's gazillion-selling The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opens today. I'll have a review up tomorrow, which will likely have no effect on the reportedly large numbers of women planning to avoid the film entirely.

Says another marketing exec, "Hyper-realistic violence against women is very different from the average horror movie. They're escapist, 'movie-date' oriented. This is different, and I suspect the female numbers [Sony does] have are inflated by title recognition, not actual desire. Do women really want to see a movie like this at this time of year?"[...]

A third marketing insider put the film's lack of success with connecting to its female fans this way: "I am surprised by those female [tracking] numbers, but I am not surprised that women don't want to see an ultraviolent David Fincher movie about women being tortured and raped. I think women see these trailers and are being scared shitless away from it."

I love marketing people: "Hey ladies, we know you don't have the stomach for 'realistic' violence, especially at Christmas." If he'd only added, "And you should really be baking cookies this time of year anyway," it would've been a perfect storm of douchery.

Why do tracking numbers show women avoiding Fincher's latest? Maybe they all saw the originals and aren't enthusiastic about what amounts to almost a shot-by-shot remake, albeit with James Bond. Ot maybe they're uncomfortable with the abuse heaped upon the quote-unquote "hero" of the movie, Lisbeth Salander. I don't know. Doesn't mean we can't speculate, or make some wildly inaccurate off-base comparisons.

Salander, the troubled computer hacker who assists journalist Mikael Blomqvist in what is known as Larsson's "Millennium Trilogy," suffers throughout. I won't go into details for those who haven't read the books or seen the original films starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist, but suffice to say Larsson puts her through some horrible shit.

And so what? The story arc is ostensibly about Salander's redemption, from her beginnings as a "legally incompetent" ward of the state to...well, wait for the next two sequels, I guess. Doesn't every hero's journey involve overcoming obstacles and personal hardship before eventual triumph?

Sure, but look at Blomqvist, Larsson's other protagonist. He gets roughed up a bit here and there, but nothing like what Salander experiences. Plus, he sleeps with, like, 60% of the female characters. Formidable.

A better point of comparison might be the main character from another trilogy you might have heard of (they even have the same initials). I'm talking, of course, about Luke Skywalker.

And there will be spoilers from here on out, so you've been warned.

Luke Skywalker

Lisbeth Salander

Edge Goes To...

Awkwardly kisses half twin sister.

Buried alive and framed for murder by half-brother.


Loses a hand.

Anally raped. Shot.


Can bullseye womp rat in his T-16 back home.

Breaks into highly secured computer networks.


Blows up Death Star.

Finds child porn on the computer of the psychologist who had her committed.


Whines about going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

Destroys the life of the man who sexually assaulted her


Convinces father to sacrifice himself to save his son, leading to his ultimate redemption in the eyes of the Force.

Sets father on fire, disfiguring him for life.


First seen wearing linen tunic and leggings.

First seen in leather motorcycle gear.


Fights with a lightsaber.

Fights with taser, pistol, and fists.


Friends with hairy Wookiee named "Chewbacca."

Friends with hairy hacker named "Plague."


Movies directed by guy who also did "Howard the Duck."

Movies directed by guy who also did "Se7en" and "Fight Club."


So there you have it. Lisbeth Salander is empirically more awesome than Luke Skywalker. I'm glad we had this talk. And while Fincher's TGWtDT is a pretty good movie, I probably wouldn't classify it as holiday family fare. Check out that A Christmas Story marathon on TBS instead.

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