March 23, 2010

Sherlock Holmes - 2009

I went to see Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes last night at the local rep theatre. Once I resigned myself that this wasn't going to be anything Jeremy Brett would be proud of,  I relaxed and enjoyed the ride.

I thought the film was very good, but being a 47-year-old mum, too violent. The dialogue was a little hard to hear at points. Although not a Conan Doyle story, the plot was exciting. The bad guy, Lord Blackwood, looks like a cross between Dracula and Andy Garcia and has a really gnarly pointed eye-tooth. He wants to retake America.

I thought the acting and relationship between the actors was good. I suspect Robert Downey is rather clever in real life. Maybe he's perfect to play Holmes - easily bored and ready for chemical stimulation. Jude Law is believable as Watson. He's handsome where Downey is splendidly debauched - like a party animal coming home barefoot in his tuxedo at the break of dawn.

The sets - the parts that were not CGI - were a feast for the eye - well-designed, detailed, and layered. Just keep the camera still for a second, Guy Ritchie, let me look. The art direction was stunning - right down to the titles. London was made to look oh-so-grimy. Not the antiseptic Victoriana we are sometimes exposed to on Masterpiece Theatre.

Some of the shots featured a half-finished Tower Bridge. Because I have an inquiring mind I found out that Tower Bridge opened in 1894. Like the Eiffel Tower, I forget sometimes that these structures haven't been around forever. Anyway here's a picture of Tower Bridge under construction. It's completely feasible that this building project would have been a feature of Conan Doyle's London.

Another technicality: My son was put out that the actress playing Irene Adler didn't even try to hide her American accent. I had to remind him that Adler, the only woman that Holmes had ever admired, was from America.

And Holmes' costumes. I had to keep my husband still in his seat. Lots of layers of corduroy and tweed, check and stripe. I imagine that the G-pup will have his waistcoat on this morning, ( Here he comes. Yes. Waistcoat and checked trousers. You rock the casbah!).


Has anybody else noticed that with the rapidly-edited modern action movies that there are no scenes to actually sink your teeth into. I find this with the X-men movies, Iron Man and Batman that the next day I can hardly remember a single scene. Is this because of all the quick takes I wonder? Where as with Jeremy Brett's Holmes I can still see the action unfolding in my mind 20 years later.

Despite my complaints the family as a whole gave Sherlock Holmes an 8 out of 10. The movie ended  primed and ready for a sequel which I believe is going to happen in 2011. In the meantime, I'll rent the DVD and catch the dialogue I missed.

11 comments:

Liza said...

"like a party animal coming home barefoot in his tuxedo at the break of dawn"
Yet I still find him hugely attractive.

"that there are no scenes to actually sink your teeth into"
YES, YES!!! I love the way you put it btw.
But I do love the X-Men
trilogy, IronMan, and the FIRST Batman movie.

Great review.

Brian Miller said...

nice. this just came to our dollar theatre..have been waiting to see it.

tina tarnoff said...

I'm so eager to see this one, I'm such a Sherlock Holmes fan, the Jeremy Brett one, that is. Nothing beats Jeremy Brett. But, I've read somewhere that R. Downey Jr. actually studied Jeremy Brett's Holmes for this role. So, it will be interesting to see. I've read some awful reviews, so I'm glad you didn't hate it. And my husband, who is NO Holmes fan at all, is not looking forward to seeing it. Anyway, I've been watching a lot of Brett's Holmes lately thanks to Netflix - one can stream all the old episodes.

And, G-pup! Waistcoat and checked trousers, there's nothing better on a man. :)

Giulia said...

Hi Pup. Not sure what you mean about quick takes. But short shot editing in film is a given now (sadly). What used to be montage to help with exposition has evolved (devolved) into huge amt. of the film. When a director leaves long shots in a film nowadays, it's an occasion for much discussion on Charlie Rose Show, cinema journals, etc.

General wisdom holds that video game technique is necessary nowadays. Esp. for action films. Also most are shown to focus group audiences. Sigh. (And I loved RDJr even though I cringed at the in-yer-face crunchfest.)

Rinkly Rimes said...

I haven't seen the film yet but your crit will add to my enjoyment, I'm sure. Unlike newspaper critics, you have no axe to grind! I think we'll have to see it on DVD and have sub-titles. I must be getting old! Too often scenes are too quick and speech is too slurred!

ds said...

Shoot. I've been wanting to see this, despite the fact that Robert Downey, Jr. is really too 'buff' to be Holmes...Will wait for DVD so I can hear the dialogue, too.

Blog Princess G said...

I so enjoyed reading this review. I want to see it, and I know what you mean about the sometime antiseptic period thing on Masterpiece theatre. Did you ever see Little Dorrit, the Christine Edzard film from about 20 years ago? I remember my dad commenting that you could almost smell the damp sheets as Derek Jacobi got into bed. Great stuff.

Hels said...

Although it is not about the film, I was delighted to see the photo of Tower Bridge in the process of being built in the early 1890s. We do indeed forget that important landmarks were not always there, especially if they were there before we were born.

I had this exact conversation with one of my sons yesterday. He, born in 1974, didn't realise that Melbourne had the Olympic Games in 1956. But more importantly, he didn't realise that many developments in Melbourne that he took for granted all his life... were simply not there in 1955.

Poetikat said...

I think your son and I would get on well. I'm a purist when it comes to language (although I get that Irene Adler was American). I had such a hard time with Julia Roberts in "Michael Collins" and when Gwyneth first started putting on the dog with her Britspeak.

I had written this film off, but you've convinced me, CP. ( Too funny about your hubby and the waistcoat - mine would do that too (if he had a waistcoat)).

I don't like the CGI and the rapid-fire scenes. Give me PBS any day.

Kat

amourissima said...

"Has anybody else noticed that with the rapidly-edited modern action movies that there are no scenes to actually sink your teeth into. I find this with the X-men movies, Iron Man and Batman that the next day I can hardly remember a single scene. Is this because of all the quick takes I wonder? Where as with Jeremy Brett's Holmes I can still see the action unfolding in my mind 20 years later."

I couldn't have said it better myself! As a wee lass I can remember being 8,9,10- watching Jeremy Brett's Sherlock... and I too remember scenes and even whole shows.

I haven't seen the new RD Jr. Movie but might give it a try being that you thought that it was good.

Lovely post, they are always so well thought out and perfectly written. Often giving me a lot to think about :)

Terrace Crawford said...

I still want to see Sherlock Holmes.

--Terrace Crawford
www.terracecrawford.cm
www.twitter.com/terracecrawford