Sherlock Holmes

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Dr. Freudine Not Thrilled With Revisionist Sherlock Holmes~

Dec 4, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Robert Downey Jr.; Jude Law; the look of Victorian London

Cons:Rachel McAdams; revisionist tale; very barebones DVD 

The Bottom Line: Reading Sharlet's sequel C Street at the same time as I watched this movie undoubtedly influenced my review.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

NOTE - Dr. Freudine is a fictitious psychiatrist and my alter ego who sometimes helps me to review books, movies and music. Last time she heard about the silly movie Lesbian Vampire Killers.
I'm now knocking at Jan's loft door after getting her intriguing invitation to join her and a few friends for a book discussion. Since the book in question is Jeff Sharlet's sequel to The Family, which was a national bestseller for nearly five months, I eagerly accepted. Jan is laughing as she yanks open the door and waves me inside.

"Hey, Doc, come on in and have a seat. We're finishing up a rather silly movie and the guys with their remarks keep me gagging on my popcorn." She follows me in to where two guys are snorting and pointing at the big-screen TV. "You know Leo...," she pauses as the gorgeous Native American turns his head to welcome me. "And Marcel...or Marc to us." She playfully runs her hands over his cropped haircut to get his attention. He half-turns on the couch to extend his amazingly slender hand to me and I remember meeting him once as Leo's date.

"Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law?" I ask after glancing at the screen. "I haven't seen it, but Irish said it could've been better."

Leo grins. "A man of understatement! Although Downey's amusing enough. Here, take the easy chair, Doc. The dissection will soon begin (of the movie) and then we'll get to that terribly important book...What? What?" He glares at the movie while Jan sinks down on the other side of him.

"I know, I know! Did I miss something'?" Marc demands, frowning. "Holmes seems to know how Moriarty kills...Hey, he must've killed the ginger midget, even though doe-eyed Adler doesn't accuse him of it when she finds him on the train waiting for her."

"I wouldn't call her the brightest bulb of the bunch," Jan says with a snicker.

"Me neither...," Leo mutters, then slumps and groans. "Wouldn't you know they leave it open for a sequel? I hope they'll send Adler back to wherever she came from."

"She'd make a great Glenda the Good Witch, wouldn't she?" Jan asks. "Sexless, plastic face, doe eyes as Marc put it. She's no femme fatale, no master criminal, not someone who could outwit Holmes twice before. She does distract him and drug him, but with his keen sense of smell that doesn't seem possible."

Marc nods, holding the remote control. "You've got that right, babe. I didn't even think she was necessary to the plot. Holmes was already distracted by Watson's engagement and plans to move out of the boarding house where they lived as neighbors."

"Yeah," Leo grunts, eyes flashing, "it was like let's make damn sure the guys aren't seen as gay. Oh, no, we can't have that!"

Marc grimaces, then clicks for the DVD menu and sighs in frustration. "Look at this, you can't go to a scene on this cheap DVD and it's a mystery. Shouldn't that be required, especially in the 21st century? No bonus features at all, but you got your subtitles in English and Spanish!"

"Hey," I speak up. "Could you please tell me what Sherlock Holmes was about? The only Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story that Irene Adler was in was A Scandal in Bohemia."

"Oh, sorry, Doc," Jan murmurs, looking at me while she rubs Leo's broad shoulders. "Well, it's revisionist Sherlock Holmes for modern audiences with Holmes and Watson acting like Batman and Robin unable to be the buddy movies of the 1980s." She smiles at my shocked look. "Holmes, action hero, shows Bruce Lee moves in a boxing match and goes up against a serial murderer who seems to have risen from the dead with the help of black magic. Adler is being paid to distract the detective and nearly gets herself and Holmes killed in the process."

Leo opens his eyes and smiles at me. "I like how Holmes has to save her sorry, helpless butt. Then again close to the end this ‘master criminal' almost dies again on this lame CGI-created, suspension bridge. But go on, sweetie."

"So this killer takes over a secret fraternity called The Temple of the Four Orders, which refers to both black magic and the apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelations..."

"Right," Marc interrupts cynically, "that says a lot about their desire to do good; he simply wants to remake the world by making people fear their power. He could've more easily put the fear of God into them like fundamentalists instead of using his 'conjuring tricks' and bribes, which made him and his society pretty boring."

"But then Holmes wouldn't have had his mystery to solve, right?" I suggest.

"Right, but I found the mystery to be, well, inconsequential. The fun was watching Holmes deal with Watson's fiancee and box and use his logical mind and be buddies with Watson, although the five screenwriters only showed them being manly men."

Leo suddenly collapses on Marc's well-toned lap, tickling him. "And never like this!"

"Hey, bro, are you askin' for it? Huh? You know I'm a mean tickler..."

"Anyway, Doc," Jan continues with a laugh, "this Sherlock Holmes was about fighting evil, nothing original, and pretty much mindless entertainment with Oscar-winning production value that really gave you the smoky atmosphere of Victorian London. Robert Downey Jr. made an amusing, eccentric, but heroic Holmes and Jude Law was surprisingly believable and engaging as Watson. I wasn't impressed with Rachel McAdams as Adler and the other characters were as forgettable as the mystery." She pauses when somebody pounds the door. "Must be Jack. Excuse me."

She hurries to the door and I reach for the DVD case. Guess I might ask to borrow the cheap DVD directed by Guy Ritchie. It doesn't sound great, but should be PG-13 fun for...about two hours.

Recommend this product? Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day

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