Sherlock Holmes

2009 action movie/bastardized lit

Rating: 13/20 (Jen: 11/20)

Plot: Slobbish detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson attempt to solve the mystery of who is trying to terrorize Londoners. Turns out that it's a dead guy! Oh, snap!

The more this went on (and on and on), the more I actually ended up liking it. Unfortunately, it was never enough to completely save the movie. This is one of those movies that seems like it was written by eight different people. They all started out in same conference room around a massive oval table, a picture of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in front of an empty chair to give them inspiration. Maybe they all smoked opium, listened to violin music, and wore deerstalker hats to get in the right mood. In fact, I'm sure they all must have been smoking opium. They had trouble agreeing on much, just as you'd expect from a gaggle of writers, and decided to split up, write portions of the plot on their own, and reassemble later to paste it all together. So Guy #1 ran off with his head full of all these supernatural elements because he digs vampire movies; Guy #2, the traditionalist of the bunch, left with his convoluted explanations to show off Holmes' deductive knack and powers of observation; Guy #3, lover of action movies that he was, decided to storyboard a few ultra-modern fight scenes; Guy #4, lover of romantic comedies that he was, figured a little romance on the side wouldn't hurt anything; Guy #5 figured it was about time to put all that research he'd done on Masonry back in graduate school to use, also remembering the popularity of that Da Vinci Code movie; Guy #6, awakened from yet another terrorism-fueled nightmare, decided to put his irrational fears to use and include biological weapons; Guy #7 had writer's block and failed to contribute anything at all; and Guy #8, a chemist without any friends at all, decided to Bill-Nye-the-Science-Guy is up and add a bunch of stuff that nobody but he and the friends he would have had if he had had any would understand. They reconvened and threw all their ideas on that big oval table. But some dastardly foe, likely from a rival movie studio although that's yet to be proven, set the table on fire! The writers panicked, rapidly assembling the most coherent story they possibly can before their hard work perished in the flames. Sure the final result was a complete mess, but they decided that modern audiences won't mind if there's some nifty special effects to go along with it. I was a little annoyed by the slow-mo modern fisticuffs and Guy Ritchie's flashy direction. It's all stylistically interesting but very distracting. The story was also frustratingly complex, and after a while, I was so confused that I just gave up trying to figure out what was going on. Yes, it does all come together in the end, but it wasn't enough to make up for the previous 110 minutes of frustration. I don't easily forgive when something or somebody makes me feel so stupid for so long. The special effects team did create some cool settings (love moody London here), and as readers of my blog know, I always like Robert Downey Jr. He and Jude Law have fine chemistry. Rachel McAdams also provides some eye candy. I suppose there are enough nods to the original source material to appease some Holmes-aphiles while the purists will likely turn up their noses and pooh-pooh the whole thing. I'm somewhat in the middle. I'm not in a hurry to see this again even though it's the type of thing that repeated viewing could help, but I wouldn't mind renting the sequel when it comes out.


Barry said...

I like Rachel McAdams. I think she is dreamy. I like Robert Downey, and also believe he has a high dreamy quotient. I can stomach Jude Law, despite his ability to be dreamy lessening as his hairline recedes. However when you put all this dreaminess into a convoluted mess like this, it really become pointless no matter how attractive the cast.

It also had my biggest pet peeve about modern movies, when they try to do a period piece. They cannot help themselves and have to include technology or ideas that are decades out of place for the movie. The worst example of this in a recent movie that got great reviews was The Prestige. (needless to say, few movies have pissed me off more than that one.) In Sherlock Holmes the villain has come up with a aerosol poison that he can protect himself and his goons from with the simple administrations of an antidote at any time before the poison enters your system. The problem with this is, no such poison has ever existed, otherwise terrorists would use it all the time and never worry about having to kill themselves to carry out their missions. In addition that same villain is going to use a sophisticated miniature radio transmitter to get his deadly toxin in the air. The guy uses a freaking remote control that is small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. Controlled transmissions of radio waves were just being discovered at this time, and miniature transmitters and receivers like those depicted were at least 80 years away. But the freaking lazy ass writers cant be bothered to come up with a realistic threat so they just settle for something that is hopelessly out of date.

Here...I will write it correctly.

Villain has given himself and all his henchmen gas masks of some kind. He has positioned some of his henchmen in an air duct at the Parliament building with vats of cyanide and big air bellows. At EXACTLY noon they are going to open those vats and use their air bellows to pump the room full of death. Of course the villain and his gang will have their gas masks on, and will be able to avoid the death they are about to cause. Thankfully Holmes has figured out the plot, and with the aid of his balding Watson, and Rachel McAdams in a skin tight leather body suit and Victorian corset they are able to defeat the bad guys and save England with less than a minute to spare.

Was that so hard?

I give this one a TEN. Dammit.

Shane said...

I love it when you get ticked off by a movie.

Any technological anachronisms I just figured was a "steampunk" thing.

Maybe McAdams donning the corset and leather body suit is in the sequel?

l@rstonovich said...

Two movies that made me feel really stupid re: following the plot were this and Ang Lee's Hulk.
I give this an 11 1/2 to split the difference between you guys.

cory said...

A 13 is about right for a film that is a lot of work. As a married man I will not express any opinion about McAdams or more importantly, Downey Jr.