Ya hear that? So if you want to see Sherlock Holmes and not be horribly disappointed because I've spoiled the whole thing for you, steer clear. But first, a quick message.
We've got about 6 inches of snow! Yee! And I love my new boots! (Think these, but brown and with two buckled straps) Double yee! I wish there was more time in the day with which to be slothful!
Okay, enough of that. And now, it's time for ***SHERLOCK HOLMES SPOILERS***!!!!!
After much deliberation and nit-picking of the new ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie, I have taken it upon myself to attempt to write a review of said film….so here goes. Please excuse the consequent rambling and general incoherence that comes from only having read three of the stories and seeing none of the old movies.
Overall, I’d say that ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is a pretty good action flick, but nothing really defines it or makes it stand out from all the OTHER action flicks that are/have been coming out for the past few years. I really liked the atmosphere (Victorian with an obvious dash of steampunk, which made me happy), but the main characters were a bit…I dunno…not the way I imagine Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to be at all.
I guess what bothered me the most was the fact that Holmes is a difficult, neurotic, smart-alecky know-it-all that people put up with because he was smart (I haven’t seen any other Sherlock Holmes films and have only read a few of the stories, but I never got that impression from the books) and Watson didn’t act like a doctor. If you will permit a small analogy: in the Aubrey and Maturin series, the protagonists balanced each other out. Jack Aubrey was the fellow who would jump whole-heartedly into a battle, fists swinging, while Stephen Maturin (the doctor) was the one who would stand back, wait for the dust to settle, and then go about repairing the damage. In ‘Sherlock Holmes’, both Holmes and Watson would go into a battle fists swinging and there was very little repairing afterwards. One moment Watson would be saying ‘I’m a doctor’ and then happily assist Holmes in knocking someone’s block off. Some of it was defense, yes, but…there was very little character balance. When two protagonists are very alike it’s hard not to automatically lump them into a single category with no definition.
At another part during the film Holmes and Watson are described as having a ‘brother-like bond’. Y’know, if that was true, where did that whole bond come from? What kind of adventures had they gone through before to get to that point? Most of the time they seem to be intent on bugging the heck out of or biting each other’s head off. There were a couple half-hearted attempts to have a ‘moment’ between the two, but it seemed rushed and…well, half-hearted. (And what was with all the gratuitous bare-chest shots of Robert Downey Jr.? The guy is buff, but such blatant fan service was a little over the top.)
Supporting characters weren’t lacking, but…but…Blackwood looked like Dracula. I’m sorry, but when an antagonist obviously looks like the set example of a previous antagonist (in a different story, I might add) he’s hard to take seriously. There was also the thread through the whole film that he was pulling things off by ‘black magic’, which is explained in forty seconds towards the end of the film by Holmes. That was a little disappointing…perhaps I prefer the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach. And an antagonist doing the whole ‘exposition’ of his evil plan towards the end is SO cliché that I don’t want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Irene Adler…oh boy. Where do I start? First off, you would think that the directors would realize that American accents (especially New Jersey, such as from ‘Horatio Hornblower: Duty’ *twitch*) compared to English accents are INCREDIBLY annoying, and if it’s a woman doing said accent that just makes it more annoying. Being a girl myself I don’t expect that I can be called chauvinistic for saying that Irene Adler bugged the heck out of me. She was an unreal attempt to have a spunky bad-A female character. According to my brother she’s a canon character…but I’m pretty darned sure that Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t intend for her to be quite so annoying. Argh.
(Concerning the previous paragraph: apologies if you are female, from New Jersey, or somehow liked Irene Adler. This is just my personal opinion, and I do like and have several friends from NJ. Just not Irene.)
Minor characters: I LIKED the minor characters! The giant French fellow--was I the only one rooting for him? The Inspector was…okay, fine, he was a typical English inspector and did nothing to improve the stereotype about the English police. But I can’t say that I really disliked him. Maybe I just have a thing for cop characters. :D
The storyline: hmm. Well, it was pretty typical for an action flick: introduction of protagonists in a flashy fight scene, description of the bad guy, buildup with several rather pointless fight scenes, etc etc, finally the Grand Scheme of the bad guy is revealed and stopped, with the epilogue wrapping it all up. The most I can say is that it was a typical storyline with an attempt to execute the filming in an ‘edgy’ way. Perhaps ‘edgy’ could have been sacrificed for ‘coherent’--by that I mean that the choppy editing and lighting gave it a confusing hyperactive incoherency to the whole film that distracted from the storyline (such as it was).
The music…hoo boy. Apparently the music was a banjo, violins, and a broken piano. The overall effect was that of an OCD/ADD band in a bar playing the same tune over and over, at fortissimo and with no sense of volume control. Perhaps if the music had a little in the way of dynamics it would have been easier to take, but at full-speed and as loud as possible? No.
(Although I DID kind of like the music for some odd reason. Maybe I can listen to it someday and play it softly at half-speed.)
Thus concludes this review. Again, as a disclaimer, I don’t pretend to be a professional movie reviewer and haven’t read very many of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I think the record stands at three right now. Nevertheless, having seen the film I think that I can count it as relatively unmemorable story-wise, and compared to the classical portrayal it doesn’t measure up. The sad part is, people who HAVEN’T been exposed to the classics will think that this Holmes is the real Holmes instead of the adaptation that it is.
***/SHERLOCK HOLMES SPOILERS***
If you've disregarded my warnings and stuck it out to the end, I congratulate you. Unfortunately, there is nothing more to see in this journal. HAH! Gotcha, suckahs!!