Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes the movie isn't really aimed at Conan Doyle aficionados. It's a kind of an action movie with historic overtones and with some characters and background from a famous story. A slightly silly action movie at that. Think Shanghai Knights with more good-looking stars.

Sherlock Holmes is played by Robert Downey Junior and Dr Watson is played by Jude Law. They thwart a murder by arch-baddie Lord Blackwood who is arrested and hung for some previous murders but manages to avoid actually dying and stages a comeback from the dead and then tries to poison everyone in the House of Commons. Of course Holmes and Watson come to the rescue and then we have a highly improbable finale on a computer- generated Tower Bridge under construction where Blackwood finally gets the nasty end he deserves.

Along the way we get thinly disguised Masonic conspiracy, an old flame of Sherlock Holmes making a bit of a nuisance of herself, a few more murders, Watson making a huge effort to move out of Baker St and get his relationship with Mary off the ground, a cute bulldog and an amazing fight scene in a dry dock where the ship under construction gets launched by accident. One of the tenets of this movie is that Sherlock Holmes is an accomplished fighter although we can only wonder how he manages to maintain such a finely toned and fight-ready torso while moping around the house for weeks at a time.

The sound track was rousing but there was too much CGI for my liking. Why have a completely unconvincing CGI night view of Victorian London in the rain when you could just have found a street scene with houses of the right era and filmed that instead? The half built Tower Bridge was equally annoying. They did use some real locations like Brompton Cemetery but not nearly enough, in my opinion. I felt like the actors were just in front of a blank screen most of the time and the background got filled in later.

There's nothing wrong with escapist clap-trap but I've seen it done better.

Anne's rating 2/5

Perhaps I am getting too used to CGI but I didn't find it too obtrusive. I agree with Anne's assessment that this isn't really a Sherlock Holmes story but is a good Shanghai Knights-like romp.

Ian's rating 3/5

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