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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't know what to expect going into this movie. My friend had free tickets, which is really the only reason I went. I don't know anything about Sherlock Holmes (aside from vague details), haven't read the books or researched the history of his character. So I go in with a blank slate, willing to enjoy the ride if the movie is good. Unfortunately it is not. In fact, it's bad. It's so bad and so boring that I literally fell asleep during the film. I think I missed a good 30 min chunk somewhere in the middle. Before you say, "Well then you can't possibly judge the film since you didn't see it all," let me say this: I didn't miss much. Because when I woke up, I was still able to follow the story just fine. I was at that stage, however, praying for the end to come quickly. The plot is bad, the acting is not much better. I hated the filming style, all that ridiculous slow-motion, fast-motion, fast cuts, narrating the fight scenes all CRAP. And terribly distracting. I think RDJ is a good actor, Jude Law is fine and Rachel McAdams is good, too. So why did they do this movie? I place a lot of blame on Guy Richie who just seems self-indulgent and determined to be 'stylish' instead of actually making a movie for audiences. My advice: Don't bother seeing this movie, even if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I don't know his backstory, but I'm told they pretty much ruined his character in this movie and turned him into some weird-ninja-dude.
When I heard that Guy Ritchie was making a Sherlock Holmes movie I
shuddered. I had a horrible idea of a stupid, glossy action movie that
had nothing to do with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing.
The casting of Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law did little to reassure me.
The movie was everything I feared..a steampunk version of Holmes for American teenagers with Holmes' "woman" Irene Adler shoe-horned in.
There are action scenes galore, some of them are decently staged but this is not a Holmes story.
I went in with low expectations and my worst fears were realised.A better disappointment.
I love Robert Downey Jr., and he's funny and engaging as always in the
role he takes on in this film. Unfortunately, his character, though
named after the "Sherlock Homes" invented by Arthur Conan Doyle, has
almost nothing in common with his literary ancestor. This film's
"Holmes" is a hyper-kinetic pugilist who excels at swinging numchuks,
swan-diving into the Thames from second-story windows, and leaping
about city buildings in a manner reminiscent of the Assassin's Creed
video game franchise. For that matter, the hyper-real Victorian London
of the film's exterior shots has a very similar computer-generated feel
to it, one amplified when it vividly depicts the Tower of London on the
wrong side of the Thames, among other gaffes.
There is none of the cerebral intensity, none of the subdued emotion, essential to Holmes as a character. A pipe appears precisely three times, and a cigar if proffered but unsmoked. Jude Law's Watson shows little affection for or understanding of this nouveau Holmes, and their little bits of stage business evoke nothing of the vital feeling between them.
That said, if a steam-punk action-adventure film that's built around three or four elaborate chase sequences appeals, this film may be a fun way to spent an afternoon -- it's certainly a decent "popcorn" flick. But anyone who knows anything about, or cares very much for, Conan Doyle's immortal character would be better off staying home and popping a few Jeremy Bretty DVD's into their player.
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning
** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) finally catches the elusive Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), who's been responsible for a series of murders and occult black magic use in 19th century England, and sees him, or apparently sees him executed. But when it appears the super-villain has mysteriously risen from the grave, Holmes and his nagging but ever loyal sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) must use all their detective know how and skill to solve the mystery while dodging obstruction from every corner of London society.
A big screen adaptation for 21st century audiences of Arthur Conon Doyle's legendary literary detective was an unusual change of direction for southern hot shot Guy Ritchie to take on, but he's gone at it with his usual gusto, leaving no stone unturned and striving for the most professional job he can get. Unfortunately, his SH is a bewildering mess, a long, heavy, humourless affair that is curiously short on entertainment value.
Much of the dialogue is probably true to the style Doyle originally used in his novels, but it is nonetheless baffling and over-whelming even to someone like me who isn't much of a lover for slang. It manages to be a lot of style with no real substance, and for a 'blockbuster' doesn't give you a lot to be on the edge of your seat about. Performances wise, Downey Jr. tries to get under the skin of the lead character, but doesn't stand out and does a questionable cockney accent, while Law is as bland and unremarkable as ever as the sidekick. Even support like Eddie Marsan and Kelly Reilly can't do anything. Strong is good as the villain, practically playing the role in his sleep, and things do perk up a bit at the end. Overall, though, Ritchie should stick to gangster films. **
As with most of Hollywood "blockbuster" cinema these days, the film
suffers from an inescapable, one-dimensionalism. It is all about style;
the cinematography, costuming, digital sets and effects, etc. are all
top notch. As well, the quippy dialogue betrays a certain shallow,
slick stylism that the script suffers from in general. However, far
from being a clever distillation of the best of Holmes and Watson, the
film instead suffers throughout from a post-modernistic reductionism
that flattens our heroes into effete, world-weary caricatures of their
In a nutshell, for Holmes enthusiasts particularly, the film--in spite of the stylishly depicted action sequences--is dull and soulless, almost as if bored with its own pointlessness. Telling of our times, perhaps, but far from great storytelling.
Why did I find this movie totally boring?
The acting: None of the characters could hold my attention. All of them lacked a soul. Watching Robert Downey Jr is like watching a brick wall, nothing happens, only a negative radiation and a view in a bottomless lake. The 2 leading ladies were also a big disappointment, catwalk faces with zero expression. Ow, how I missed a Hitchcock heroin. I always love Jude Law but here his sparkles also die and it's not his fault, he was still the best of them all. Btw, Jude looks very sexy with mustache.
The directing: Guy Ritchie probably focused only on the visuals and the story. As far as scenery and so on the movies is okay. The story however is way too blurry and unnecessarily complex and far-fetched. A typical boy's story, -now this happens now that happens- -this is fun that is fun- with no thoughts about the feelings to trigger with the viewer. Everything we get to see is brainy and rational. 19th Century London could have been breathtaking atmospheric if only this product wasn't aimed at the ADHD generation.
Digital filming: it is obvious this movie was not shot on celluloid but digitally shot which saves a lot of money. The problem with digital shooting becomes clear during action scenes, they are not fluid but shaky. Also the dynamics between light and dark are very limited. The whole movie is covered in a boring grey scale which even covers the girls make up.
The editing: It is way too fast, so none of the scenes make it to the unconsciousness or can become iconic.
Music and sound: I can't remember any tune anymore, except that left and right speakers continually gave dis adjusted sounds.
Where to start? My main problem with the film was there being NO
Sherlock Holmes or Watson characters, and NO mystery plot. Seemed more
like some strange action/fantasy hybrid.
I have a feeling we'll find out where there going with this in the sequel. Perhaps Jude Law is actually playing Sherlock Holmes? I think Robert Downey may be covering for him, as Jude seemed to be the one more likely to be the Sherlock type.
Other than the lack of plot and characters, I had a major problem with the ridiculous action scenes. I guess I should have been ready for them from seeing the trailers/commercials but there's more ridiculous action than I could tolerate. Especially for a film labeled as a Sherlock Holmes film.
1/10. Can't recommend it for any reason.
Maybe I'm getting old, but maybe this movie is just stupid.
Most of the time various people just run around like headless chicken. Any B-movie from the 80s had a more solid plot than this waste of celluloid.
The only difference is the production, but not even that is very impressive.
I guess this is the way Hollywood movies are made these days, but I think when our kids see this in 20 years time they will think "how could you watch this junk willingly?" I could forgive over the top acting, I could forgive over the top everything else, but I can't forgive that they forgot to conceive a plot for this.
It's one of those movies that you struggle to remember whether you've seen it or you've just seen the trailer and someone warned you not to waste time with it. Well, I've seen it and I warn you not to waste time with it.
... this really is just 'Wild Wild West' without the spider.
Out of time techno-gadgets are used to usurp the lawful government, and only two dedicated men and a woman with questionable allegiances can save the day... sound familiar?
Factor in the lack of chemistry between the male leads and the awfully staged and completely unnecessary action set-pieces, and you've got yourself Will Smith's lamest ever outing in film (only with British accents).
Guy Ritchie... what happened to you, man?
I thought it would be hard for a remake to be worse than Wild, Wild
West but this version of Sherlock Holmes managed to do it. And that was
just on old TV series, while Sherlock Holmes founded a whole literary
It's not surprising that this anachronistic action thriller on steroids is popular -- the budget, the production values, the actors all saw to that. What's surprising is that those who claim to have read the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle still maintain that this Victorian James Bond has anything to do with him. This hodgepodge borrows everything, from Indiana Jones in the opening scene to James Bond apocalypses -- everything that is except the original works by Doyle.
What Robert Downey does on the screen may be entertaining, but it has nothing to do with acting. Jude Law is his usual insipid self. Rachel McAdams is her usual glowing self, though totally miscast in what may be the worst-written role in a pathetic script.
Hollywood has truly abandoned any pretense to making quality films in its pursuit of the adolescent audience it thinks will save it. Good luck with that.
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