Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator takes us back to old-timey England (sort of) for 2009’s Sherlock Holmes.
Here’s what happens: It’s the later days of Holmes’ career as the world’s greatest detective. His friendship with Watson is tested with Watson about to be married. Meanwhile, the sinister Lord Blackwood has seemingly risen from the grave and is killing his politically powerful enemies with supernatural powers (or is he?).
Why it’s famous: The first Sherlock Holmes movie in theaters after the excellent Without a Clue, 19 years earlier. Its depiction of Watson helped fans worldwide realize the character is not bumbling comic relief, but someone smart, capable, and even tough.
Get your film degree: To illustrate Holmes’ deductive thought process visually, director Guy Ritchie slows down and speeds up the fight scenes at times, so we are in Holmes’ head during the precise seconds it takes for him to out-think, rather than out-fight, his opponent.
Movie geekishness: Holmesians have long debated whether their favorite detective should or should not be labeled “action hero.” I fall in the “should” category as the original stories have numerous examples of Holmes’ excellent fighting and marksmanship skills, and him performing almost supernatural feats of strength. This movie, though, goes really far with the action hero stuff, emphasizing fights and chases, and rushing through the mystery-solving parts as quick as it can.
Thoughts upon this viewing: The movie is a fun romp, but still not my favorite film version of Holmes. (I’m a Jeremy Brett fan.) Its inclusion in the Warner box set is an iffy decision, but there are others that are even more iffy, which we’ll get to.
Next week: Not-so-empty nest.
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