High expectations for new ‘Dragon Tattoo’ set to hit theaters Dec. 21

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In this post Twilight mega success age, it’s become hard to detect when the newest best sellers are legitimately well-thought and executed or over hyped half-witted fan fiction level literature.

So it would be easy to be apprehensive when coming into a  new series such as the late Swedish author Steig Larsson’s “Millennium trilogy,” consisting of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl who Played With Fire,” and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

Happily this series is one worth having on your bookshelf.

After Thomas Harris went off the literary deep end with his laughable 2006 effort “Hannibal Rising,” effectively destroying the mystery and complexity of his creation “Hannibal Lecter,” there has been a gap needing to be filled in the genre of dark and disturbing crime mysteries.

That’s where Larsson swooped in and took the reins.

While not enjoyable in terms of contents, the writing is strong if not a little overwrought, but the series’ main draw is in the characters, particularly in its secondary protagonist Lisbeth Salander.

Salander is of the most bizarre, and downright unique, female characters for quite some time.

She’s a leather-bound, pierced, hair-dyed character with a bad attitude.

Salander has poor social skills and a genius level proclivity for hacking.

She is a weird amalgam of Sherlock Holmes, Joan Jett and Pippy Longstockings.

Larsson’s Salander was brought beautifully to life in the 2009 Swedish film adaptation by actress Noomi Rapace.

Rapace transforms herself to an almost unrecognizable degree to bring the page to screen.

That’s why when Hollywood first announced that they would do an American adaptation of the material with all new cast and crew, its easy to get nervous.

Thankfully all seems to be heading for fantastic, if bleak waters.

The American adaptation hits theaters Dec. 21.

It will be helmed by David Fincher, quite possibly the best man for the job, with his past efforts including “Fight Club,” “Zodiac,” “Se7en” and “The Social Network.”

The gods of cinematic heaven appear to be smiling down at us.

The new film looks fantastic and on the money, while retaining the stylistic flourishes that Fincher is now known for.

That includes a Stanley Kubrickesque obbessive-compulsive disorder to his camera work, and having Trent Reznor composing the musical score.

The only big enigma left to audiences is in the casting of young Rooney Mara in the role of Salanader.

Mara is a relatively new face to the silver screen and has yet shown what she’s capable of.

All we can do is trust in Fincher to trust of her to deliver as the marketing totes it “The Feel Bad Movie of the Christmas Season.”

On a closing side note, it’s interesting two female characters so wildly different as Twilight’s Bella Swan and Lisbeth Salander can be both popular at the very same time and age.

One is an incredibly flawed but strong willed and capable young woman that won’t allow herself to face her past traumas or allow the one man most likely able to help her and love her.

The other is a selfish, vapid, manipulative girl who lets the two men fighting for her do all the work.

One character is a progressive, one will set back the feminist movement twenty years.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

DIRECTOR: David Fincher

ACTORS: Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, Daniel Craig as Michael Blomkvist

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21