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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Holmes. Sherlock Holmes

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


We went to see Sherlock Holmes today and I thought I'd better put a review down in pixels before I forgot.

It's not that the movie is forgettable. It's just that I'm busy trying to wrap up several items before the end of the year. And then it snowed again today. Oh, the shiny distractions!

Note: I'm going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven't seen it yet.

As all three of my readers know, I'm a bit of a Holmesian. I've also adapted a couple of the detective's tales for radio and written an original one of my own for the medium. And you may (or may not) have seen this a couple of weeks or so ago. Of course, I tend to wax lyrical on the merits of Jeremy Brett's Holmes.

As a matter of fact, I did approach this film with a certain wariness. The trailers made me think of a Victorian era Lethal Weapon. How would that go over?

The more I think about it, the more I like it in a grudging fashion. They took some serious liberties with canon, but I can understand why to a certain extent. While there were strong women in the Holmes tales, there was only one who might hold her own with Holmes. Stereotypical Victorian wallflowers simply will not do in this age.

My biggest complaint is that they seemed to expend a lot of odd little bits from the stories on this one film - especially since they left it open for a sequel.

So, what about the actors? Robert Downey, Jr. was decent, though he seemed to be channeling Jeremy Brett sometimes. But to be fair, Brett reached back to Victorian theatre for his take on Holmes, and it seems Downey mined that fertile ground as well. That's not a complaint. Downey's Holmes was not the dapper sort, though he sort of cleaned up well. I never pictured Holmes as that slovenly, though Downey sold it.

Now, I like a Watson who can take charge, and Jude Law did so admirably.

Now, where does it fall down? The "buddy movie" aspect went a little too overboard for my tastes. I loved how well the two of them worked together, but sometimes the relationship seemed more like a lover's spat than anything else. Visually, the movie is lush, but some of the camerawork and effects were a bit too self-conscious. The movie shouldn't scream, "look! It's CGI London! Watch the fancy camera work!" Those moments were distracting.

I was bothered by much of the Irene Adler subplot. I think they played a little too fast and loose with the source material on that one. I've never seen her as quite the scoundrel others make her out to be, though her method of temporarily disabling Holmes was ... interesting.

So yes, the film is worth seeing, especially in digital. If there is a sequel (and if the door for one had not only been opened, but had the hinges torn off) I'll be interested to see where they go with it. There's some fertile ground for exploration in the Holmes universe.


Filed under: Movies   Sherlock Holmes         
12/29/2009 8:18:37 PM
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