Best SF this year!

Karen Hellekson's picture

The best SF I’ve seen this year—and admittedly it’s January 9, so there’s some time left in 2012 to go—has to be the opening credits of the 2011 David Fincher film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The imagery is drawn from the three books in the Millennium series. But it’s an incredible articulation of the melding of body and machine; in it, the heroine is seen not to be born, but rather forged: has a “making of” feature for the opening credits, “An Exclusive Look at the Making of Dragon Tattoo’s Stunning Titles,” that interviews one of the creators, Tim Miller. It’s worth a read to see what the creators had in mind—which, in my book, has little to do with what I perceive the credits as being about, because I thought the credits transcended the text of the books.

If you’re interested in the song, it’s a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” performed by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Karen O, and can be purchased from

Regarding the film itself: it doesn’t live up to the hype of the credits. The credits imply a cyberromp through the main character’s head, even as it foreshadows all the events of the entire trilogy through imagery. But the movie isn’t about what the credits are about. The credits are all SF; the film is a straight-up thriller, and any engagement with technology isn’t handled on the level of meaning that the credits promise.

I greatly preferred the Swedish-language version, which is far more compelling on every level. If you haven’t read the books and haven’t seen the Swedish-language films, then I think you can safely watch this movie and like it; but otherwise, it spends a lot of time on the mystery at the expense of some of the complexity that made the other texts so dense.

Filed under: essay

Karen Hellekson

Publication date (from feed): 

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 00:32:28 +0000