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.