May 3, 2010

#077: Sherlock Holmes (4/10)

The Sherlock Holmes played by Robert Downey Jr. in this 2009 film is not the Sherlock Holmes that Arthur Conan Doyle created.  For somebody who never read the books, this movie might be perfectly fine.  However, I could not get over the feeling that this character was a poor perversion of what the real Sherlock Holmes would have been like.What it lacked in character it could have made up with story, but that didn't work well for me either.  My mediocre expectations for this film were definitely not met.  Therefore, I can only give it a 4 out of 10.
Going in I knew this movie would have a new take on Sherlock.  I expected it, and was open to that fact.  However, I not was not prepared for Sherlock to be a well-educated mixture of Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Mickey O'Neil (Snatch).  I shouldn't have been so surprised considering Guy Ritchie's direction.  I was so looking forward to this live-action Sherlock.  It turned out to be a hybrid super-hero/James Bond film. I felt betrayed.

While this film didn't take advantage of the great lead character, it could have saved itself by telling a really interesting story.  Rather, the writers seemed more concerned with creating homo-erotic tension between Holmes and Watson than delivering a compelling mystery.  Its bids at humor were clumsy; its "aha moments" were heavy handed.

What was up with the bare-knuckle boxing stuff at the beginning?  It seems weird at the time but I thought for sure they were going to bring it back in some clever way at the end.  No.  Never happened.  Now I just don't understand what they were doing with those fight scenes at the start.

The ending not only lacked bare-knuckle boxing, it also was without satisfaction.  The last part of the film felt terse and incomplete.  It seemed like the last several minutes were spent tying up plot points and going through the motions.  It was... uninspiring, which is how I would describe the entire movie.

The one thing that made this movie worth watching was the cinematography and costume design.  I didn't find the content engrossing, but the set pieces were nice to look at.  A definite bright spot in a film that offered little else. Jude Law and RDJ did have some good moments thrown in there also.  I can't recommend Sherlock Holmes as it doesn't have enough substance to make it worthwhile.  It isn't a complete waste of time, but there are a lot better movies out there.

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