The game is afoot! I, Cyrus
, seek to confront those forswearing scalawags who unctuously claim this au courant
tale of the lord of all detectives is deleterious to his proper legend. Uh-oh, I think I exploded Thesaurus.com
. Regardless, HAVE AT YOU!
The problem I keep hearing from a lot of folks about the 2009 Guy Ritchie
helmed tale of the master inspector, is that they’ve created elements to him not in keeping with his historical character. I heard no end of grumbling about his fighting prowess in the film, deftly displayed by Robert Downey Jr
in the role. People seem to have an idea in their heads about the character based on over 100 years of interpretations of him, as opposed to the actual man who Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
wrote so prolifically about ever so long ago. While the details of the fisticuffs were not detailed in such loving degree to the very punch as it is displayed in the film, it was certain that Holmes
was not only a master brawler and martial artist but one who often had to use those skills in the course of an investigation. This is just one example of the type of spurious reasoning I had come across while seeking to understand why some folks didn’t really take to the new film.
It’s a shame too. Ritchie
and company, while making up an entirely new case for Holmes
taking place relatively early in his career, were immeasurably careful to not represent anything that would have been out of sorts for the character and even to throw in a number of tributes to Holmes
’ other adaptations. Certainly quite a bit of the evil mysticism portrayed by mustache-less twirling villain Mark Strong
bears no little resemblance to the events of 1985's "Young Sherlock Holmes" Barry Levinson
film, as well as almost being an in-joke poking fun at Doyle
's own seemingly inconsistent beliefs in the supernatural. For a serious Holmes
fan, the film is a trove of delicious and expanded details from the original Doyle
tales. I find it nearly impossible to argue with the pedigree.
Certainly something new was called for in terms of atmosphere and pacing, as opposed to the drier productions of the past. It’s a big Hollywood production which means action, explosions, the looming end of the world....maybe this is where things went wrong for some. In tone, the film resembles more a Victorian James Bond
film sometimes than a Sherlock Holmes
story. However, and this is important, in no way did the style of the story told her step on the toes of the original character. Even the ‘wmd’
that SOME people complained about at the end of the film didn’t seem wildly out of bounds for what was plausible at the time. Hell, the only part of the machine that seemed mildly far fetched at all was the remote control for it, which, believe it or not, was patented originally by Nikola Tesla
in 1898, a mere seven years after the story is taking place. I told you, these folks did their research.
Now, just so you don’t think I’m president of the “Sherlock Holmes 2009”
fan club (that would be Leon
, I believe) I didn’t think this was a flawless film by any measure. While it’s certainly a Holmes
story, with him putting together everything for us at the end, it’s frustrating in retrospect, as all the little clues along the way that he finds and adds together are not shown so as it would be possible to inch towards the solutions yourself. The big and inevitable speech of ‘and this, and this, and this, and this’
at the end from Downey
feels more than just a tad forced and leaves one as a mystery fan somewhat unsatisfied. Also strange is the bromance between Holmes
and Jude Law
’s perpetually exasperated Watson
. The writers are using it primarily for the sake of comedy, but this ‘will they get back together or won’t they’
thing seems unlikely for anyone to take seriously. It certainly makes it harder to feel anything vaguely resembling a chemistry between Downey
and Rachel McAdams
, who I normally adore but was badly miscast here as Irene Adler
, a professional thief who Holmes
has a dangerous, and for my money, fatuous fascination with.
The blu-ray release of this film is either a terrific package or a mediocre one, depending on how you like your extras. There’s a series of eight ‘focus point’
featurettes on various elements of the film’s production, but none are particularly enlightening. There’s also a 14 minute promotional video that offers nothing new either. The real bonus here is the ‘Maximum Movie Mode’
, a feature that offers the entire film with Guy Ritchie
narrating to both the film and a series of concept art, storyboards, set footage, etc. I can’t help but wonder though. Did anyone who put this together even LOOK at the “Iron Man”
disc extras? When you’ve got RDJR
on your film, you take advantage of it in this respect. The man is apparently a master of the manic energy improv, seemingly always spewing a litany of gems when the camera is not even supposed to be rolling. Where are these gag reels? For heaven’s sake, where are the deleted scenes? And finally, nobody told me that hidden ending with Brad Pitt
never actually happened. Stupid rumor mill.
as a home release is a mixed bag, but acceptable, as certainly the HD quality of the sound and picture are lovely. The movie is one that deserves a serious look from anyone who skipped it the first time around and a second from folks who maybe were casting an inaccurately skeptical eye towards it. Ritchie
’s film is a worthy entry in the canon as well as a thoroughly entertaining and funny film that is a fantastic introduction for anyone new to the character. It's not perfect but there's more than enough good stuff here to lead me to hope that it will indeed spawn a sequel (although I remain unconvinced as to Brad Pitt
as the rumor mill would STILL have it). For me, if someone asks if I’m gonna BUY
this, I can only reply, ‘No shit, Sherlock’
CLICK HERE TO BUY Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray]