Erica: I have not read the books. I did not see the original version of the movie (although I did add this to my Netflix queue after I saw this one) so I went into this knowing hardly anything, and I liked it that way. I was extremely surprised how much I liked this film (so much so that it made my top ten of 2011). I thought Mara and Craig did a great job in the leading roles and the story was dark, disturbing, and twisted and I LOVED it. We saw it at the Essex Green Dine-In Theater Cinema Suites as we thought a movie of this length (about 2 hours and 40 minutes) would require us to be in a reclining chair. I was hooked and got so entranced that when it ended, my response was "It's over already?" That's how good it was. All of my enjoyment for this movie being put aside, this is not a movie for everyone. There is a lot of violence and torture in the movie, so maybe us eating during it was not the smartest move. I highly recommend this movie for those who are not squeamish.
Mike: I didn't read the books but I did see the trilogy of Swedish films and thought they were pretty good. What you get here is basically the same thing - a Fincherized version of that first film. I was surprised how similar the two films were. I think I liked the Finched-up one better because it's a bit more engaging.
There are a few gross scenes in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which doesn't make it an ideal movie to eat through. Those fries don't taste as good when you're watching a gross fat guy eat Rooney Mara's ass on a giant screen right in front of you. But its sheer length - over 2 1/2 hours - was the reason we went to the Essex. We've gone on and on about the reclining seats here and how wonderful it is to lay down and watch your film after lunch or dinner (we went for lunch this day). After the 2 1/2 hours I could have laid there and watched another movie - that's how sublime it is.