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Off-World Discussion Forum

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Old Feb 1, 2010, 05:36 AM   #1
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: That stupid hat is finally gone, thank God!

I've read a few reviews here and there, written by fools who are very critical of how this new film "ruined" Holmes, but who do not seem to have actually read the Arthur Conan Doyle books. At the very least they must have read those books under very strong impressions from previous films that have been far more guilty of butchering all that is Sherlockian.

Among other missing though apparently much beloved travesties, you will find no trace of Rathbone's highly inappropriate deerstalker hat. Nor will you see the bumbling, ineffectual and highly off-cannon version of Watson popularized by Nigel Bruce. Some also seem to take umbrage at this new Holmes' athletics. They complain that Mr. Ritchie has turned Holmes into some sort of action hero. But the original Holmes wasn't just an intellectual- he was as adapt at the sweet science of pugilism as he was at the science of chemistry. Some changes were made, yes. But the overall effect is far closer to the original characters than the naysayers admit or (in many cases) know.

In fact, this is- with all it's steam-punk accouterments and dark magery- most certainly one of more faithful depictions of The Great Detective that have graced the big screen. It is defiantly the most true-to-Doyle version of the characters that I know of in the English Language, though there is a series of Soviet films from the 80's that does take a more by-the-book approach. Much like previous adaptations, there is no mention of Holmes' heavy drug use. In this movie, Holmes is a drunk who just acts like a junkie. Vodka and lighter fluid take the place of Sherlock's beloved cocaine and morphine. Sure it's silly, but who really wants an "R" rating?

I came to the theater with very low expectations. I came out more than satisfied. Messrs. Downey and Law give delightful performances with great chemistry all around. Mr. Strong was well cast as the villain and gave a solid performance. You have to love a fellow who sounds like the Antichrist and looks like the love child of Benito Mussolini and Steve Carell.

The plot and pacing were more than adequate, the visuals were quite good and the action sequences were well played. It was really the acting and direction that did it for me. This isn't the sort of film that will stimulate you intellectually or move you emotionally and it does not offer any technical innovations to the art of film-making in terms of either narrative or presentation. But it has everything that you could possibly want in a popcorn action thriller. Taken on it's own terms the film does exactly what it sets out to do and it does it almost perfectly and thus I shall give it the highest mark that my scale permits for a film of it's modest ambitions.

3.5/5

Last edited by SF_not_Sci-Fi : Feb 1, 2010 at 05:43 AM.
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Old Feb 1, 2010, 10:05 AM   #2
HighWiredSith
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Re: Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: That stupid hat is finally gone, thank God!

I felt like the film's strongest asset was the chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. They were perfectly cast. I agree that most forget Watson was a true foil to Holmes, the logical, level headed physician and the eccentric, brilliant, emotionally unstable Holmes. I admit to not having read more than one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books and can't recall any drug use but I do remember Holmes being a much more idiosyncratic character, prone to fits of hysteria and even dementia, something I agree, has never been portrayed in western visual interpretations of his work, at least none that I've ever seen where he always seems so straight laced and proper to the point of being the iconic dull genius, brilliant, but a total bore. This film had no such Holmes and yes, was the better for it I think.

As far as the rest of the film, I found the direction, in particular the cinematography, to be so stylish to the point of being a distraction at times. I've watched enough Guy Ritchie movies to spot his signature style in fewer than 100 frames. The ability of properly utilized CGI to create a spot-on Victorian London was a real treat. I'm really starting to love what good computer graphics can do with historical films. And so while the slow motion, multi-angled, slow down/speed up, thing is certainly chic and trendy, I found it to totally unnecessary in the context of a film whose strengths rested upon character and story. In short, I suppose it's safe to say that Guy Ritchie is indeed a talented enough director to no longer have to rely on callow camera trickery.

All in all, I found the film to be highly entertaining and would not hesitate to see Downey Jr. and Law at it again.
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Old Feb 1, 2010, 10:11 AM   #3
Iwata
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Re: Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: That stupid hat is finally gone, thank God!

I have never been a Guy Ritchie fan, and this movie failed to change that. I own, and have read, most of the Doyle's books and feel like this was more John McLane than Sherlock Holmes. Although it was interesting to see a few nods to the book's character, it still felt like too much of a radical "21st Century X-Treme action hero" revamp to be enjoyable.

Maybe for the next one he'll have Hercule Poirot fighting the undead, or Miss Marple in a bikini.
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Old Feb 1, 2010, 01:37 PM   #4
Seraph
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Re: Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: That stupid hat is finally gone, thank God!

I enjoyed it, I might have been a lil bit drunk at the time though.

Did anyone else find it difficult to distinguish the dialogue from the background noise? Also found the action scenes were badly shot & edited, too jumpy and rapid, which meant you missed most of it.
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Old Feb 1, 2010, 04:22 PM   #5
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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Re: Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: That stupid hat is finally gone, thank God!

Though I have never been a huge fan of it to begin with, Zack Snyder totally soured me on the very hint of a slow motion fight scene. When Ritchie did it in this film however, it actually worked for me. Because there was not a bit of gratuitous slow motion. The slow motion in this film was largely "Holmes vision" with an appropriate "jab to the kidney, dodge lead pipe, knee to the right testicle. Conclusion: subject disabled. Will stay down for ten minutes. Short-term ramifications: the subject's urine will be bloodied for a week. Long-term ramifications: the subject's sons will all be cross-eyed" type voice over. I actually loved every minute of it.

Other directors should take lessons.

Quote:
Hercule Poirot fighting the undead,
If Christie had endowed Peroit with as many levels of Cleric as Doyle had Holmes with levels of Monk, this would be feasible. But though Peroit has never exhibited the ability to turn undead, Holmes' kung fu has always been strong

Last edited by SF_not_Sci-Fi : Feb 1, 2010 at 04:28 PM.
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