Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sherlock Holmes to the Rescue

I ventured out into the Christmas blizzard to see the new movie yesterday afternoon, and I must confess that I loved it.

This is an excellent Sherlock Holmes film, and one of the very best in depicting his brilliant lightning fast brain. While Robert Downey, Jr. is physically rather unlike the literary detective, his superb performance convinced me, in mere minutes, that I was indeed watching Sherlock Holmes. Jude Law is a very capable Dr. Watson, and Rachael McAdams' presentation of "The Woman", Irene Alder, while not exactly Canonical, is my favorite version of her character on the screen so far.

Director Guy Richie's breathtaking recreation of 1890 London oozes with foggy atmosphere and looming thunderstorms. It is a beautifully dangerous-looking place. The mystery itself is clever and epic in its construction. As a special innovative bonus, Richie allows us inside the Great Detective's mind during his rapid-fire observations and deductions. The result is dazzling. Besides Holmes' physical prowess--something actually described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in many of the original tales--I could not help but be astonished by the hero's mighty brain as well.

Regardless of what some unknowing reviewers may say, along with certain self-proclaimed Sherlockians who'll wildly criticize the film without seeing it, this is Sherlock Holmes. And it's a grand incarnation. They are really missing something special.

I fully intend to see the movie again before it leaves the theater.

The sold-out audience was completely and positively involved from the very start, and were obviously delighted with the film. This was probably Holmes 101 for most of them and I think it's a very fine introduction to the classic character. I don't consider it much of a gamble for me to predict that this will easily be the highest grossing Sherlock Holmes film in cinema history. At least, until the release of the sequel (with Professor Moriarty!) which is already in the works.

I had a touch of the holiday blues, as usual, before seeing it, but now I'm quite fine. Once again, Sherlock Holmes has saved me.

Every movie isn't everyone's cup of tea (I detested Titanic), but--as a Sherlock Holmes writer of two decades (and life-long fan)--I give the new film full marks.

This is my favorite Christmas present of 2009.

Four out of Five Stars.


  1. Thrilled to hear you enjoyed it so much,Martin.
    I'm dying to get to the theater with Val and see it. Hopefully this coming week for sure.
    Several naysayers have already popped up on-line, FB, and other sources. Sadly people who just couldn't get beyond the action and new look. Too bad. But as you said in parting, no one movie can please everyone.

  2. The unbelievers will never be convinced, Ron. Most of them are condemning the movie without even seeing it. However, these folks are very few in number and I suspect the general movie-going public--especially those who aren't very familiar with Sherlock Holmes--are going to love it.

    I know the Holmesian Canon as well as anyone, even better than most, I dare say, and this film is a REAL Sherlock Holmes adventure. Period. And Guy Richie's vision is much more authentic than most of the existing films depicting Conan Doyle's characters.

    I predict SHERLOCK HOLMES is going to be a big hit. And deservedly so.

  3. I thought the film was marvelous and it's easily one of my favorite Holmes films. It IS Holmes and Watson; let the naysayers sadly miss out.

    I loved the score and wanted to pick it up immediately upon leaving the theater, but the soundtrack won't be released until January 12th.

    Hans Zimmer's with James Newton Howard) glistening themes are wonderful.Frankly, I was captivated by the film from the opening moments of the corporate logos embeded in the cobblestones and Zimmer's plunking pianos, accordians and banjos.

  4. Oh, so glad you liked it. Now I'll have to go see it- 12 inches of snow or not. lol. Happy Holidays!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it, too, Gary. As a fellow Holmesian scribe, I felt you would.

    Mark--Thanks for the info on the sound track!

    This was just reported on the Associated Press:

    After only two days, "Sherlock Holmes" has earned $65.4 million in ticket sales, including a record Christmas Day debut of $24.9 million.

  7. Martin, you know that I respect your opinion in matters such as this more than any other person I know, but the Olbrich's only give it a 50%.

    Maggie (my 23-year-old daughter who works in Hollywood) liked it. I didn't like it very much. I can't imagine sitting through it twice.

    Sometimes the music was a delight. Sometimes is was overdone and annoying. As I was watching it, I kept thinking that this movie was doing for Holmes just as the Will Smith WILD, WILD WEST movie did for the classic TV show of the same name. That is probably a little too harsh, but the movie left me cold ... and not particularly entertained.

    I thought the casting and acting were superb. I also think that the "case" was okay. Plenty of times it was too cute for its own good and Guy Ritchie's direction worked against it.

    Maybe I'm just a philistine.

    Dave Olbrich

  8. You a Philistine? Nah. Hell, you published my SCARLET IN GASLIGHT when no one else would even consider it. To me, you're a hero.

    Like I said, every movie isn't for everyone. At least you actually watched the film before offering an opinion. I've no patience for those who are blasting the picture without even seeing it.

    Hope you and your family had a fabulous Christmas, Dave!

  9. Watching the trailer for this film really put me off. I thought it was going to be a lot of stuff blowing up. What a surprise that it really was SHERLOCK HOLMES. Stuff still blew up for sure, but I was shocked that Conan Doyle's sleuth was very much intact, if only in a scruffier version. I can say Robert Downy Jr. performance is right up there with Jeremy Brett, and Jude Law might be my favorite Watson (although James Mason in MURDER BY DECREE is hard to beat). The best thing I can say about the film is... I can't wait to see the next one.

    Scott Beachler

  10. Hi Scott! Great hearing from you!

    Once again, you and I see eye to eye. I learned quite a long time ago not to trust movie trailers. They actually did quite a disservice to SHERLOCK HOLMES by (seemingly) dumbing it down with that first trailer especially. Some of my friends are still scoffing when I try to assure them that this really is a real Sherlock Holmes movie. Not only that, it's one of the greatest ever made.

    While Brett is my favorite Holmes, too--Downey is immediately high on the list now, perhaps even second best for me.

    I'm already anxious for the sequel, too!

  11. Golly, sounds like a good movie. I should make plans to see it. I too didn't think much of the trailer, though I like the character, and have the J. Brett BBC movies. They really captured the times for me, so I'm interested to see how Richie might handle Holmes. Thanks for the review. I did get out and see Avatar--nice visuals.

  12. Don't judge this very fine (and accurate) Sherlock Holmes on that ridiculous Loony-Tunes trailer. In fact, after I see it a couple more times this might just become my favorite movie of the Great Detective ever. It's already running in the second or third place category. I still haven't seen AVATAR, although I will. The visuals are a given--but how was the story? That's what is most important to me. Fancy special effects will never take the place of good writing and engaging characters for me.