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|Index||621 reviews in total|
I've finally figured out Guy Ritchie's fatal weakness as a filmmaker.
He doesn't actually care about character, theme, or even storytelling.
He just wants to be cool. He only wants characters that quirky,
badasses, or sex godesses. Because they're cool. He employs flashy
cutting, hyper-stylized cinematography, and fractured time lines.
Because, they're cool!
This worked for the bonkers Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. Those movies were cool and it felt natural, easy. Things took a turn for the ugly with Swept Away, this decade's Isthar. Revolver was dreadful, and RocknRolla dances in your faces practically screaming "look how cool I am" and is then forgotten before you've even unlocked the car to leave the theater.
Which brings us to Ritchie's desperate-to-please, big-Hollywood style stab at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's timeless icon. The production values are excellent. Period-appropriate London is completely convincing. Downey's Holmes captures the mad intensity of Doyle's character, withdrawn, depressed, and self destructive when he's has nothing to occupy is never ceasing ming, burning life and frantic energy when the case does arrive. He does however, straight up mumble for half the picture, rendering what might of been neat instances of observation/deduction/knowledge, but I couldn't tell. Couldn't understand him.
Ah, the case. When it comes to adaptations, remakes, re-imaginings, etc, I'm a pretty forgiving fellow, as long as the soul is intact. Change the race, change the gender, change the setting, but don't lose the essence. The mystery, the case, is the soul of a Sherlock Holmes tale and I'm afraid this is where Ritchie's film falls flat. Sure, there's something dastardly afoot, but solving the puzzle is beyond the audience to predict. We're not made a part of the unraveling. Stuff goes on that we don't understand, and it's all explained in the end in smash cut flash backs, filling us in with details that were never foreshadowed, many of them feeling like afterthoughts to dig the screenplay out of the hole it dug for itself. Doyle's stories invite us to narrow our brows and read carefully. One feels include in the unraveling. We're right there with Watson (who in this movie, is quite spry for a man with a permanent war injury) Here, Ritchie holds out on us, keeping the mechanics of the mystery entirely to himself. The larger mystery afoot exists for no other purpose than to make a sequel.
Why such failure in maintaining the soul of Holmes? Because Ritchie doesn't care about the mystery. He drowns the film in cool, in showy camera angles, manically (and confusingly cut) action and the whole affair is drummed up with buddy-movie comedic angle that falls flat. It's just not funny. The shifts in tone from funny, to mysterious, to thrilling, to dramatic, are jarring, barely held together at the seams. It's ultimately a crushing bore, lacking any sort of narrative momentum.
Guy Ritchie has undeniable talent as stylist. He'll can make a worthwhile movie. No one who works that hard with that much raw talent will just fade away. He needs to another round at bat to prove that too us again.
Buried underneath a ton of special effects and obligatory action (to keep the audience riveted) lay a poorly devised character of a a 19th-century consulting detective, with an 18th century hair-do, and late-20th-century weapons, poorly disguised to look like something from steam-punk. (Psst- they didn't chrome-plate their pistols in those days.) Another Hollywood butcher job, re-writing history, and the intentions of the authors who originally presented it. The plot could not have been more transparent had it been made of glass--exposing the metaphysical as tricks of science and engineering. And Irene Adler... would have been arrested for dressing the way she did. But, of course... that's Hollywood. And Downey should be ashamed of himself... trying to make Holmes look like an Einstein Emo. He looked like a heroin addict, not like someone who took a 7% solution of cocaine when feeling bored. Totally disappointing.
I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and I could still read them. This is because his novels can wake up imagination of the child and yet they have style and class to involve any adult into the story. I can say that this is the case with most of the Sherlock Holmes movies I had seen before I saw this one as they engage you by using the intelligent plot, first of all. 2009 Sherlock Holmes is a ridiculous attempt to turn a legendary detective into a Mission Impossible character and Dr. Watson into James Bond, Sean Connery style. Fast actions with special effects and very poor plot development are typical failures of this sterile Hollywood style project which has nothing to do with Sherlock. As I already mentioned partly, character of Dr Watson overpowers must dominating figure of Sherlock Holmes, which is sooo amateurish. Sherlock Holmes casting is a total failure, this guy matches Sherlock Holmes character as much as Sylvester Stallone. All in all, this is the bad time for Sherlock Holmes lovers.
Since too much has already been written about this crap, I'll confine
myself to some key points:
- Story: Thin to non-existent. Plot holes and logical blunders abound.
- Script: Complete failure. Just a succession of scenes without a coherent narrative.
- Acting: Mediocre and miscast (although I usually like both Law and Downey).
- Chemistry between characters: Completely non-existent.
- Action: Too many boring fight scenes, just for the sake of it.
- Humor: Got very thin very fast. Tried to be witty but failed miserably.
- Length: About two hours felt like three. Boring. Paralysing.
- Visuals: Some good shots of industrial London. CGI became quite dull soon, however.
Seriously, save your time and money!
I guess what is more depressing than this abominable movie is the many
laudatory reviews I have read here. Are audiences today so jaded, so
utterly disconnected from even their recent past, so completely
lobotomized that they would find kind words to say about such dreck as
this? I had thought that the unspeakable 1979 pastiche of HOUND OF THE
BASKERVILLES with Dudley Moore was about as low as one could get in the
filming of a Sherlock Holmes story. I was clearly wrong. This is the
end, the limit, the bottom of the calcium-encrusted barrel. Holmes
admirers (those who understand and appreciate the fine originals) will
stay away in droves if for no other reason than the hilarious
miscasting of the lead characters. Mr Downey as Holmes and Mr Law as
Watson rank right up there with such inspired casting choices as Tony
Curtis playing a medieval knight and Sharon Stone playing a gunfighter
of the old west. Ridiculous.
I doubt that Hollywood's renowned contempt for its audiences can be better illustrated than by this movie. Do moviegoers really enjoy having their intelligences insulted with such grand insouciance?
It is both pointless and useless to go on. We have given up what little culture we have left by allowing these amateurs to take great classics and turn them into idiotic roller-coaster rides. A paying public that can applaud, let alone part with the money to see, such a movie is clearly a public that can no longer recognize quality.
Some years ago, just before he passed away, the great producer Darryl Zanuck said "I know audiences feed on cr_p. But I cannot believe we are so lacking in ability that we cannot dish it up to them with a little style". Why bother, Mr Zanuck? Apparently anything thrown out to movie audiences today will be lapped up like cream.
Stay home and read a Conan Doyle original.
If I were a supercomputer built to ruin Sherlock Holmes I could not
have done a better job. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came back to life just
to die again of embarrassment. Maybe if anyone in Hollywood ever
bothered to read the source material tragedies like this would happen
Even though Holmes is one of the most recognizable names in literature they decided that he wasn't bad ass enough and turned him into a frigging UFC fighter. Instead of solving cases he just beats the crap out of everyone.
If you liked this movie, you are the problem with American cinema. Have some standards people.
This movie is entertaining and the big budget showed in the costumes,
set decorations, the CGI, etc. all this creating a 19th century
atmosphere which was very pleasing to my eyes. The action sequences
kept me mindlessly entertained, and the Sherlock Holmes frivolity and
eccentricities was somewhat amusing. Now let's see what's bad about
this: Firstly, the true Sherlock Holmes is not a fighter, he uses his
mind to solve problems instead. He and Dr. Watson have reserved mutual
respect for each other, especially Dr. Watson towards his enigmatic
friend admiring all the while his amazing intellectual capabilities. I
can't believe how bad their relationship is portrayed in the movie,
like two stoned teenagers constantly fighting. The Sherlock Holmes
character is the major problem with this production: although funny the
why was he portrayed like a genius a la Mozart with unkempt hair and
disorderly attire is beyond me. The action sequences I guess are a
compulsory necessity in a big-budgeted production like this in order to
attract teens and make more money for the studios. I blame the success
of the Indiana Jones action sequences for this mishap. Just as
unfitting for an archaeologist professor, it's also contrary to
Sherlock Holmes' reason to use violence. But how else are we gonna have
those compulsory big explosions? Lastly, the most important thing of
all in a detective story, the case, rings closer to home to the
original series, even though the explanations for the supposed
supernatural elements at the end are themselves near impossible.
Obviously the creators of this film took great liberties with the poor Sherlock Holmes' character, for he fights like Indiana Jones, laughs like Mozart and thinks somewhat like Sherlock Holmes; I guess he is Sherlock's bad ass, genius double, though not as tall and lanky.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was TERRIBLE! It wouldn't have been half as bad if they just didn't call it 'Sherlock Holmes' the way they portrayed him in this movie is NOTHING like the actual character of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is not some buff, a-kicking, bad-a.. He is supposed to be a highly intelligent character and I didn't get that feeling from Downey Jr. AT ALL. I never pictured Sherlock Holmes to be a strong, tiny man & I think they just did completely horrible things with the characters. Story line and plot and all that was not bad at all definitely some good entertainment but NOT using Holmes & Watson as characters, that just completely ruined the movie because that is NOT what those characters are supposed to be like at all! Definitely going to avoid the new one coming out this year I was already disappointed enough in this one definitely know better than to waste my money this time. It makes me sick the way Hollywood takes normal proper characters and completely destroys them in films this was complete blasphemy I'll bet if the original creator of Sherlock Holmes was still alive today he would be very upset!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am so very tired of people reviewing movies, which are subjective by nature, as blanketly "best ever" this and "best ever" that. That's simply a case of small minds and big egos at work. There are so many great Holmes films and portrayals out there, that it's asinine to declare any one film or one actor as "the best". Most reviewers who rave about this film claim how it finally got "it" right. Got what right? Your personal interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in your mind? What about Jack's mind? What about Sally's? Some go so far as to claim this film merits something extra because it debunks the very debatable myth that Holmes never wore the famous deerstalker cap. For the record, Holmes was described as wearing a hat made of "cloth" that was an "ear-flapped traveling cap" in the story Silver Blaze. Original illustrator Sidney Paget saw that as meaning a deerstalker in his mind and an image even more famous than the writing on the page was born. Sounds like Paget made a pretty sound deduction too if you ask me. Regardless, if you personally don't think Holmes ever wore a deerstalker in the stories would facts like that alone or in combo boost a film so much as to make its interpretation "the best". Equally valid claims can be made that Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Arthur Wontner, Douglas Wilmer, Peter Cushing, Clive Merrison, and others depending on your taste are the best. The question is, was the movie any good on its own and were the performances fun. I don't give a hoot if it was exactly how you pictured Holmes in your mind or if you thought it was better/worse than other Holmes' films or that it somehow isn't as authentic because it wasn't a verbatim dramatization of a Conan Doyle tale, etc (Jeremy Brett fans, you know what I'm talking about). If you liked the movie, great. If you like other Holmes' a lot better, more power to you. I personally think the new Sherlock Holmes film took a lot of hinted at bits of Holmes' personality and skills from the canon and gave those characteristics the spotlight. That's fine. Those aren't the qualities that took reign when I read the stories, but who cares? Why would I want to see the exact same thing I saw when I read the books? That would make for a monotonous world. Hurray for everybody's various interpretations and subjective and wonderfully different tastes! There are no gospel truths about movies or books or art, so please just say you "liked it a lot" instead of it was "the best". That's so unhelpful. Just tell me what you liked about it as a film on its own without comparing it to any books, or other versions/interpretations. That's like saying one food item is "the best". It's ridiculous. On a final note, this new interpretation is a welcome addition to the world of Sherlock Holmes. It doesn't diminish any of the older films or television series. It stands on its own as another fun ride for fans of mystery, action, and those who love many things Sherlock.
... me, i imagine, not the movie. the modern movie viewer obviously
likes this "edgy, action-packed, gratuitously violent" junk because it
permeates the screen these days. i knew i was in trouble after five
minutes in my seat watching the previews of soon-to-be-released movies
-- all pubescent shoot-em-up, blow-em-apart nonsense. i might have
given it three stars except for the obvious set up for the sequel
"Sherlock Holmes Two: Moriarty Teaches Calculus Badly."
let's see ... too loud, too exaggerated, too violent, too edgy, too much.
i'm tired of looking at actors standing in front of computer generated screens. at some point, maybe modern audiences will stop saying "oooh aah," and look for some artistry.
one could hardly call this a
as the next remake of "Bambi" will, no doubt, contain the obligatory checklist of "action-packed adventure" scenes, but i'm really tired of fight clubs, explosions, burning bodies, slow motion mutilation of human faces, etc.
if they can actually sit through it, Arthur Conan Doyle fans will enjoy the variety of allusions to his work. i had fun picking out lines and, during the too infrequent scenes where people were actually trying to talk to one another, noting traces of character in the characters. at times there was a glimmer of rapport between Holmes and Watson (Irene Adler was weak, the rest of the cast cardboard cutouts). unfortunately, i suspect Arthur Conan Doyle fans will be spending most of their time cringing.
please, do yourself a favor, if you really have an interest in the Holmes stories and, if you haven't done so already, read "a study in scarlet" and "the adventures of Sherlock Holmes." then go rent a few of the Granada television adaptations with Jeremy Brett and David Burke. you will enjoy some first-rate detective stories; well-written, well-adapted, and well-acted. i know that's where i'm headed right now to get that nauseating taste out of my mouth from bad popcorn and a bad movie.
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