Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
95 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Stands the test of time...
equipage22 June 2003
I feel one of the true tests of a good movie is how it holds up over time. Can't believe it has been 18 years since I first viewed this little gem, and it was as good today as in 1985! Among other reasons, the Holmes and Watson characters were obviously cast for their youthful likeness to the characters in the old Basil Rathbone series of movies. Take a good look! This a wonderful penning of the proposed early days of the two and a very original concept. Probably only true Holmes officiandos will see some obvious references to the adult Rathbone character, and these add to the cleverness of this version. Make certain to stay 'til the end of the credits; Sherlock Holmes fans will receive an ingenious clue to the his "future".
25 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Elementary Good Fun!
BaronBl00d2 June 2001
What if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a story where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson met as adolescents? What if he made it a very suspenseful mystery that explanied may of the great sleuth's character traits and stylistic characterisics? What if...well, he did not, but screenwriter Chris Columbus, director Barry Levinson, and producer Steven Spielberg do bring us a fine film that does these things called Young Sherlock Holmes. Young Sherlock Holmes is the meeting of fantasy film and classic literature, and it is a meeting that coexists very nicely. The great detective meets his future colleague and friend Dr. Watson in a London prep school amidst the mystery of what six men did many years ago in Egypt. Several of the men begin to die in horrible, inexplicable ways, and the young Holmes suspects mischief. The film is a veritable treasure trove of Sherlock Holmes allusions. The film is fast-paced, fun, fantastical, and creates insights into why Holmes developed emotionally the way he did. Nicholas Rowe does a superb job playing Holmes, bringing to the role intelligence as well as compassion. Alan Cox does an equally good job playing his young sidekick and doctor to be. The special effects are first-rate, yet in no way detract from the Victorian world of Doyle and Holmes and Watson. Start watching and it will not be long before you'll be saying, "The game is afoot!"
28 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very Good Movie
strahd9829 November 2002
Young Sherlock Holmes was one of the best movies I saw when I was a kid and it amazes me up to this day.London was pictured perfectly by Barry Levinson with the help of course of Stephen Goldblatt (the cinematographer). The spcial effect by ILM was brilliant and they were the milestone of the special effects of today.The music of Bruce Broughton is one of the best of the 80's. The acting is good for this kind of film, not bad but not brilliant either. The script written by Chris Colombus (director of Harry Potter Films) is very good and it keeps you guessing up until the end. Watch this movie and you won't be dissapointed. (Wait after the end credits roll to see one last scene...)
24 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An enjoyable non Doyle Holmes story
Rich-9918 December 1998
There are probably more Sherlock Holmes stories not written by Conan Doyle than were written by him. Some are quite bad but every now and then a good one comes along. "Young Sherlock Holmes"is one of the better ones and works on the premise that Holmes and Watson did not meet as adults in "A Study In Scarlett" but in boarding school. Of course they are in London where the young Holmes detects a link between a series of bizarre murders (depicted in some lively and imaginative special effects). The game is afoot and along the way (with a slight tongue in cheek) we learn where Holmes picked up some of his more famous trademarks and most infamous nemesis. A well written script, fine cast of actors and a physical production that recreates late 19th century London in grand fashion. A film to sit back and enjoy.
30 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
great for teens
kittiwake-16 January 2007
My son turned 12 in August. We purchased this movie at a drugstore while on vacation because I remembered watching it a loving it when I was younger. My son has a love of mysteries and "spies", so I thought that this would be a good movie for him to enjoy. He watched it twice the first day and has seen it several times over the last couple of weeks. It really appeals to younger mystery fans, even though it is rated PG-13, for violence. I would recommend any parent see this movie before they let their kids see it. Some of the violence is hallucinatory, and therefore quite "scary". I think the way it begins Holmes's and Watson's friendship is fun and creative. I think the script and characterizations are well done (especially in light of more current movies, which are just to draw viewers to the theater and have no substance.) The casting was inspired, and I don't see how they could have improved upon it. The cinematography was great and the special effects very good for the time of this movie. Some people might find Holmes's character a bit smug, but that is accurate to the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I recommend this movie to mystery fans, fans of Sherlock Holmes (but NOT "perfectionist" fans), and anyone who enjoys a young fellow showing up his elders.
21 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Young Sherlock Holmes
Coxer9918 June 1999
Intriguing story, not based on a Doyle idea, about the meeting of Sherlock Holmes and his good friend Watson. Even as youngsters, they unravel mysteries together and find themselves in constant mayhem and peril. Rowe is an outstanding young Sherlock, while Cox is an exceptional younger Watson. Barry Levinson directed this fun look at the master detective in his younger years.
16 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unusual and fairly entertaining.
barnabyrudge11 July 2003
In the mid 80s, audiences were hungry for heroes in the mould of Indiana Jones. Films featuring Sherlock Holmes were quite out-of-fashion. People expected a hero with a bit of dash and a penchant for action; not a meticulous, stuffy, ultra-intelligent sleuth. Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear is an unusual hybrid, because it takes the period trappings of a Holmes mystery and dresses them up with Indy-style action and mysticism.

The story has young student doctor John Watson arriving at a boarding school in Victorian London. He meets, for the very first time, a brilliant young student named Sherlock Holmes and they rapidly become friends. At the same time, a series of bizarre murders have been going on close to the school. In each case, people have had terrible hallucinations and in desperate states of panic have inadvertently killed themselves. Holmes and Watson investigate, and uncover an ancient cult which is responsible for the killings.

The film has its share of problems. For one thing, purists will know that the very first meeting of Holmes and Watson was described at the start of the book A Study in Scarlet, and didn't take place in a school. Some of the performances are overly hammy, particularly Freddie Jones in yet another of his wild-eyed characterisations. The idea of a huge pyramid being ingeniously concealed beneath a London warehouse is hard to swallow (surely someone would have noticed them building a construction of this size in such a tightly-packed city). However, the problems can be forgiven because the film moves at a lively pace and is invested with lots of clever dialogue and stirring action. There's even a touch of humour (something lacking from the original Conan Doyle novels). One scene in particular is most amusing, when young Watson is shot with an hallucinatory dart and imagines an army of living cream buns jumping into his mouth! The climactic duel on the ice is very excitingly staged too. There's also a surprisingly downbeat event at the end which thankfully strips the film of the typical 80s sentimentality. This is agreeable and entertaining stuff.
18 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wonderful Movie
ctyankee117 March 2010
I love this movie. The young actor to me was a young Sherlock Holmes. Nicholas Rowe as Sherlock.He is 6 ft 4 inches and is left handed when sword fighting. He was human, respectful, humble, polite, wise and treated Watson like a brother not like the combative relationship in Sherlock Holmes 2009 and 2010.

This story took place at a school for boys called Brompton Academy.

A dart with hallucinogenic drug made victims see scary things when hit by this dart.Things come alive that attack the victim. A cooked chicken, statues of bats or bird and more. One victim jumps out a window one runs out of church and gets killed by a stage coach and one stabs himself thinking creatures are in his shirt harming him. The special affects in it were amazing. Holmes could not attend the funeral of one of the victims because of his expulsion from Brompton Academy.

Watson's experience after being shot with the drug was funny. A grave opened up at the cemetery that had all kinds of pastries on shelves. The pastries started jumping off the shelf,on to the ground & Watson talking to each other. They were all different sizes and shapes with big eyes and some pastries started shoving other pastries in to Watson mouth cherry cream and all. Really humorous.

Earlier in the movie Watson finds a dart blowpipe which belongs to an Egyptian cult worshiping Osiris god of the underworld. This cult sacrifices live people in a hot substance. Sherlock finds this temple and stops the sacrifice and escapes. Later he realizes there is a cult operating in this city which is causing the deaths of men that knew each other.

Sherlock was in love in this movie which at the end it said the writers did not know what young Sherlock would have been like and that they just respectably put some things in.

This film was very violent and tense. It is about 145 minutes long.

It was like one of the Indiana Jones movies with the cult members running for their life and the building falling down.

This is one movie that did not disappoint me but scared the pastry out of me.
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A likable fiction where Sherlock Holmes along with John Watson are involved in his first great case
ma-cortes28 September 2009
This amusing movie set in a perfect Victorian atmosphere (1870, England) speculates about what might have happened if Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe) and Doctor Watson (Alex Cox) had met during their student times in London . Holmes falls in love with a beautiful youngster (Sophie Ward) , living with her uncle , a retired professor named Waxflatter (Nigel Stock) . Then , it happens several murders and Holmes helps Inspector Lestrade (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) to resolve it . Later on , young Sherlock performing feats of derring-do in London , including a spectacular flight and dangerous duels . Although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not write about the youthful years of Sherlock Holmes , as he established the initial meeting between Holmes and Watson as adults . This affectionate speculation on what might have happened has been made with respect and admiration , knowing references to Sherlock's later existence and in tribute to the author in his enduring Works .

This stirring , fast-paced film is packed with noisy action , adventures , thrills , tension and results to be quite entertaining . It's a genuine ripping yarn with much suspense , intrigue and outstanding surprises . Nicholas Rowe is nice as obstinate and intelligent young Holmes as well as Alex Cox as timid and easy frightened John Watson . Some images are very creepy and eerie and developed in ¨Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom¨ style , for that reason is rated PG-13 for violence and crude scenes . Spectacular special effects by Kit West and Pixar Animation Studios making 'the glass man sequence' and puppets by David Allen . Furthermore visual effects supervisor by Dennis Muren with some of the firsts , images made by means of computer generator . As this one is considered to be the first feature film to have a completely CGI (computer graphics image) character : the knight coming out of the stained glass window . And intervention by Industrial Light & Magic (company run by George Lucas) animated the scene , overseen by John Lasseter in a very early film credit for Pixar . As the "Stained Glass Knight" took Industrial Light & Magic artists 4 months to create . Atmospheric score fitting to action by Bruce Broughton and London symphonic Orchestra . Well written by Chris Columbus and lavishly produced by Steven Spielberg with his usual collaborators , Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy . The picture was well directed by Barry Levinson . Youth and little boys are likely to enjoy this fun film.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What might have been if Holmes and Watson had met as school mates.
tinman196020035 May 2006
The crime solving team of teenagers Sherlock Holmes (Rowe) and John H Watson (Cox), prep school students by day, but crime solving sleuths at night.

When young John Watson starts mid term at a London Prep school, he is greeted first by a tall slender lad of about sixteen. Sherlock Holmes proceeds to tell Watson all about himself before they have exchanged hellos. The stunned Watson admires the older lad from that moment on.

At first reluctant to involve himself in Holmes schemes, Watson finds himself up to his neck in a series of murders, as he trots beside the lanky Holmes. When they rescue a man from nearly killing himself to destroy an imagined attack, they are told a strange tale of betrayal and vengeance. When he attempts to get Sergeant Lestrade (Ashton-Griffiths) involved in solving the murders of several men, Lestrade calls them suicides and angrily orders Holmes out of his office.

That is only the beginning of an adventure that takes the boys to the notorious Wapping district where a nefarious cult of murderous religious nuts, led by the cruel and mysterious Eh Tar (Higgins), is doing heinous things to young ladies, including - to his horror, Elizabeth Hardy (Ward) Sherlock's first love! The cast is excellent, the period London sets and costumes are great and the direction by Barry Levinson (The Natural, Rain Man) is commendable. All told, a satisfying entry into the Holmesian legend. Might be a bit intense for very young children but otherwise a fine family film. I Heartily recommend seeing this film.
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
cool film
mattkratz23 April 2001
This is an awesome movie. The only drawback was the absurd dealing with the "flying machine." Other than that, sit back and enjoy as Watson and Holmes embark on their alleged first adventure as Holmes tries to find the link between a rash of recent murders, hallucinations people have been having, and a cult. Not a bad way to spend a few hours of your time!

** 1/2 out of ****
12 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
one of the best juvenile movies from the 1980s
r-c-s12 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
With NAVIGATOR this is the BEST juvenile/escapist movie of the 1980s. What can I say, I just watched it once as it first aired decades ago, but still had positive memories and thus watched it again a few days ago. I bet the scenes inspired tripe like Harry Potter (juveniles chasing mysteries in old English school settings, eh?). Atmosphere is good, acting excellent, SFX very good (Era/genre wise ). Of course it is a bit of a salad bar mixing Indiana Jones, E.T. Gremlins and other 1980s motifs (the underground temple scene clearly imitates Conan the barbarian)...much as in the NEVERENDING STORY you get a funny man trying to fly... Plot contrivances abound and are well thought of.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Reliving the memories
panzerss19 June 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I first this film on video in my young teenage years. The main reason I remember this film to this very day, even though I have not seen it since today, is that I fell totally in love with Sophie Ward. It was something about her beauty and innocence which I never forgot. I just bought the movie recently and saw it again. The film is classic 80's Spielberg. Even though he did not direct it, the film has his signature all over it. I loved the way London was portrayed, as a gothic and beautiful winter setting. The plot was a bit contrived, with the identity of the evil cult leader becoming increasingly obvious at mid-film. It was heartbreaking to see Elizabeth die, and it would have been a better film if there was more of a focus on her character. Nevertheless, this is a film best seen when you're young. A fairly good film, and something worth keeping as a token of your teenage golden years.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Woeful and childish supposition
gcd7016 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Woeful, childish supposition of the early years of Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes, which finds the school boy detective and his new fond chum Watson hot on the heels of a sadistic Egyptian cult who have been kidnapping young girls for sacrifice, and killing off a group of elderly gentlemen against whom they hold a terrible grudge.

Chris Columbus' story (writer of "A Night on the Town" and "Home Alone" - which were both much more fun) is naive, silly and borrows far too much from other Spielberg productions, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" being one of them. The cast are unable to lift proceedings also, and one has to wonder how a director of Barry Levinson's class ever became involved in this.

The only thing left to do is shake one's head and hope that Mr. Doyle isn't watching.

Friday, August 12, 1994 - Video
8 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ahead of its time perhaps, but so overcooked it self-destructs...
moonspinner554 January 2007
Long before the "Harry Potter" books and movies arrived, this somewhat similar concoction from producer Steven Spielberg and director Barry Levinson came and went in theaters. The film, certainly full of imaginative talents, has the general core of a good idea, but the focus of the project apparently got away from Levinson--and everyone else with discernible judgment. It's an overcooked fantasy imagining a youthful friendship between a juvenile Sherlock Holmes and an equally green Dr. Watson. Effects-laden mess also echoes the "Indiana Jones" series, but without strong or charismatic performers and screen writing, the picture deflates rather early. The tag at the film's finish suggests there might have been a sequel had this installment been a hit--alas, it was not. *1/2 from ****
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the knight steals the movie
Samiam318 February 2009
For film buffs, there is only one reason to see Young Sherlock Holmes it has the first photo realistic CGI creature in film. A hallucinating priest sees a stained glass knight jump out of a church window and march towards him, sword raised and ready to swing. The knight only has about ten seconds of screen time but he is a major step forward in visual effects. I am certain that films geeks will appreciate this. For those who are not film geeks, Young Sherlock Holmes has some entertainment to offer, but not enough to make it a good movie.

The first 30 minutes of Young Sherlock Holmes are fine. It gives us a charming and pleasant introduction to a teenage Holmes and how he meets John Watson. We are also introduced to Elisabeth, Holmes' love interest. There are some laughs to be and some shocks which are generated by an array fun-disgusting special effects. During this part of the movie, the filmmakers take time to set up the premise of the mystery that Holmes and his buddies must solve. When the journey gets underway however, Young Sherlock Holmes takes a nosedive. The story becomes silly and unrealistic, and it resort to clichés and badly choreographed action sequences. Holmes loses most of his charm and wit and he gets rather tiring. Watson ends up doing more complaining than he does thinking, and Elisabeth becomes almost literally brain dead. The climax is weak, and the ending is even weaker.

A secondary problem with the movie, is how inaccurate its portrayal of Victorian England is. For the majority of people, this will probably go unnoticed, but for historians, Young Sherlock Holmes will be a pain to watch.

The movie has a clever premise, as well as some quirky and charming moments, but it misses the mark in it's attempt to be what it tries to be, a enjoyable little adventure for a general audience. The only thing in Young Sherlock Holmes that cannot be found in any other movie is the knight.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Supreme Dud...
Hoffmanintl27 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
It's a real arrogance that this bomb ever got made--somebody assumed that the correct mixture of stock "ingredients", i.e., slick Hollywood production techniques, a few million dollars, plus some obvious special effects, would yield acceptable results. They couldn't have been more wrong.

Within the first 20 minutes or so, there's a definite impression that the "special effects" are the real star, and that the whole bit with "hallucinations" was created solely to cram as many of them in as possible. When a movie's not about believable people, there's no way it can be more more than a cartoon.

The actors here--given that they're mainly younger--don't have much of a chance in competing with the effects or working with the bad writing. The cardboard "Sherlock Holmes" character lacks the wit and cleverness of the real Holmes, and considering the original's inerrant sense of applied logic, the new version is a under-developed, bumbling sub-amateur. The Young Sherlock just isn't INTELLIGENT.

With weak performances and an unhealthy over-reliance on effects, only a strong thread of logical storyline could hold it all together, but there's not one. Not much that happens is really believable in any way. Being a fantasy shouldn't be a license to make everything totally ridiculous, but that's exactly what happens here. The script couldn't have looked good on paper, and someone should've noticed that early on.

There's a scene early on where Young Sherlock's "wits" are tested to discover a hidden object somewhere on a huge school campus within one hour; it's utterly unbelievable that A. He'd bother accepting such a ridiculous and impossible challenge, or B. that he'd solve it at all, given nothing whatsoever to work with. When it's explained exactly HOW it's solved, it's so patently absurd that even young children will start asking questions.


So why is the girl killed at the end, so she can't ride off into the sunset with Sherlock, or is Young Holmes not supposed to like girls? If viewers care at all about her character (which probably isn't likely), then they should wonder why she was shot for no good reason at all. Then we get a closeup of Holmes' single, solitary tear...CHOKE!

This movie embodies the adage "Never mind the quality, feel the width"--or in this case just look at the obvious and overdone special effects and the heck with the people. There's plenty of action--things moving around--and gobs of noise, but no substance here at all. There are better ways to spend two hours of one's life than willingly undergoing this sort of torture masquerading as entertainment.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mildly diverting
bob the moo4 January 2002
A young Watson attends a London public school and befriends a young Sherlock Holmes. When prominent Londoners are murdered by a mysterious hallucinogenic drug, Holmes and Watson investigate, uncovering an Egyptian cult operating under the guidance of a shadowy boss.

This was an attempt to bring the cult of Holmes to a young audience, not to the pleasure of the Holmes estate judging by the number of disclaimers at the start and end of the film. The main bit of plot revolves around the use of the drug which allows the film to have a series of effects scenes to keep the children happy. The plot is full of holes and even some of Holmes "logic" that he explains doesn't make any sense (check out how he finds the trophy near the start to see how lazy the script is). The identity of the secret boss can be easily guessed an hour before he is revealed.

The leads are mixed. Alan Cox's Watson is very good - believable and likeable. Rowe, however is a terrible Holmes. Most of his dialogue sounds like he's reading an autocue, and the rest is delivered with a terrible air of arrogance that makes him totally unlikeable. He looks down on everyone else and reminded me of a spoilt public school brat - nothing like the gentleman sleuth that is Holmes. I think that Rowe is the reason that we had several disclaimers pointing out that this Holmes is not based on any of Arthur Conan Doyle's work.

Overall this is too scary for children and too illogical for adults, but may entertain 8-15 year olds. For the rest of us it is mildly diverting.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A wonderful film for the most part, until it moves into young Indiana Jones territory during the last 25 minutes
Terrell-415 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"It was a cold, snowy day in early December. Lack of funds had forced my old school to close. I was being sent to a new one in the middle of term. I was accustomed to the opened, relaxed expanse of the country, and now, I was in the heart of London at the height of the Victorian Era. The streets were teeming with every activity imaginable. I was very taken by what I saw. As I stepped from my carriage, the sight of my new school filled me with fear and apprehension, yet, I was swept with a wave of curiosity. However, nothing could prepare me for the extraordinary adventure that lay ahead, or the extraordinary individual who would change my life." That's an old John Watson speaking in a narrative voice-over, and moments later at the Brompton School common we're going to see young Watson, played by Alan Cox at 15, meet Sherlock Holmes, played by Nicholas Rowe at 19. Watson has had his trunk delivered and Holmes is scratching away horribly at a violin. Holmes stops and nearly smashed the thing in frustration. "I should've mastered the damn thing by now," he cries. "How long have you been playing?" Watson asks. "Three days!"

The first three-quarters of the movie is a wonderful Holmsian adventure, full of deduction and growing friendship, as we see young Holmes exercise his slightly arrogant intelligence to put an insufferably superior student named Dudley in his place, assist an eccentric inventor, find tentative Victorian love with the inventor's niece, discover a pattern of assassination in the deaths of four elderly men, deal with a lazy Lestrade and a friendly fencing master, and establish a friendship with his young follower, Watson. The high-point is probably Holmes acceptance of a challenge from Dudley to locate where Dudley has hidden the school's fencing no more than 60 minutes. The game is afoot as Holmes examines minute particles of...what?, locates snowy footprints in the school quadrangle, examines the school's kitchen...all with the clock ticking away and with the school's students racing after him, with Watson in the lead. It's clever and exiting. As the older Watson says in recollection when Holmes finds the trophy with seconds to spare, "It was a wonderful, heroic moment for Holmes. But little did he know that his amazing powers and talents would soon be put to a much greater test, a test of terrifying and deadly proportions."

And with that we're off into a case of murderous hallucinations with all sorts of scary special effects, of a deadly Egyptian cult in the heart of London, of young girls used for human sacrifices, of a cauldron of revenge...and we realize that we've moved from a young Sherlock Holmes to a young Indiana Jones. From a loving and clever imagining of Holmes and Watson meeting at school and solving a vicious, exotic series of killings, we're up to our necks in the calculated hokum of a boy's own adventure, courtesy of executive producer Steven Spielberg, assisted by George Lucas' special effects studio. We even have an E.T. moment when young Holmes and Watson take off on a pedal-powered flying device to soar over London at night in pursuit of the villain. The first part of the movie is so good that it just about disguises the calculated playing-with-the-audience build-up to the conclusion. Nicholas Rowe, tall and lean, and Alan Cox, round and quizzical, are first-rate as young Holmes and young Watson. They've continued to act but never had better roles. Michael Hordern, who gives us the narrative voice of the older Watson, provides much of the heart of the movie. We can imagine an elderly Watson looking back at this first case with affection and appreciation. At the end of the movie Holmes is leaving Brompton School while Watson will graduate and go on to medical studies. Watson says goodbye to his friend and stands near as Holmes enters the horse-drawn carriage. We hear the older Watson tell us, "As I watched Holmes settle into his seat, a sudden feeling came over me -- that I would most certainly be seeing him again. So ended my first adventure with Mister Sherlock Holmes. As I watched his carriage disappear into the distance, I realized that I had forgotten to thank him. He had taken a weak, frightened boy and made him into a courageous, strong man. My heart soared. I was filled with confidence. I was ready for whatever mystery or danger lay ahead. I was ready to take on the greatest and most exciting adventure of them all, and I knew it was bound to involve Sherlock Holmes."
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good until it tries to become an action movie
Nickmac1125 January 2003
The movie starts out as a promising Sherlock Holmes-ish adventure. Murders, suspects, clues no one would think of, etc. But then...oh, but then. About halfway through the movie, the movie veers on the course of action. A temple collapses, a swordesque fight on's just not Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle always has a more mystique over the crimes, and it rarely turns into a fast paced, adrenaline pumping adventure. The hallucinations, while interesting, are also farfetched, such as Watsons hallucination in the graveyard.

Though, if you make it through the credits, and know about Holmes' arch enemy, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Many Holmes sayings and trademarks appear ('The game is afoot', The hat and pipe) and for a fan of the books, those will also be appreciated.

It could have been so much better, but alas, it was not. 5/10
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Shoot yourself before you think about watching it...
Satchman1 May 2003
A bland rendering of a Sherlock Holmes story... Picture this... We are in Victorian London, in a time where everyone was always calling everyone else "old chap" and being told how "dashed bally wonderful" everything is. We begin by following the young Holmes on his way to a new school in London. There he meets the young Watson, apparently bent on entering medical school (I guess we know he never got there), addicted to cream cakes and totally devoid of any acting skills. The actor who plays him is reminiscent of Harry Potter, that is, if Daniel Radcliffe was fatter, mentally retarded and had the acting capabilities of a bag of flour.

The plot thickens (along with Watson) as we meet Holmes' new schoolmaster, Master Wraith. Wraith comes across as a decent sort, keen to advise Holmes and give him a helping hand here and there. Though there's something about his good looks that suggests he must have some darker ulterior motive (otherwise he'd be the hero of the story seeing as he's far more sophisticated and intelligent than that whelk Holmes)

Soon we also meet Professor Waxflatter, mad inventor and would-be mentor to the young Holmes.

Even though Professor Waxflatter is mad as a bicycle, it seems not to run in the family. His niece Elizabeth, not only is in total possession of her mental faculties and common sense, but is -as far as Holmes is concerned- the tastiest thing since peaches and cream. The feeling turns out to be mutual (amazing what some people will settle for isn't it?) and a heart warming love story blooms that leaves you with a lump in your throat and a desperate need to find the nearest sick bucket.

Meanwhile, the evil Dudley, Holmes' rival at school is doing his damndest to get Holmes expelled. Before long, a series of deaths have occurred and Holmes is ready to camply leap into action. So, he installs himself in Elizabeth's attic flat (though we're all led to believe its in the interests of solving the murder -sneaky little devil that Holmes) and so the dynamic young Holmes and his bloated sidekick embark on their adventure, armed only with the power to look at things through a magnifying glass and saying "hmmn" and otherwise severely limited powers of deduction.

Before long, we're led into a web of intrigue, involving an ancient Egyptian cult that largely busies itself with doing unspeakable things to people and dressing up in silly clothing.

At the heart of this mystery is the evil Aytah, the leader of the cult, who came to England as a boy with his grandfather. Before long, the young Holmes has solved most of this puzzle with the air of one who has just discovered that the square peg wasn't meant to go in the round hole anyway.

Soon, we discover the identity of the "mysterious" Aytah (*yawn* can you guess?) as well as his fraternally wicked sister. Before you can say "dastardly duo" Aytah and co have spirited Elizabeth off for their evil purposes and its up to Batman and Robin to get her back -after all, Holmes hasn't had so much as a goodnight kiss from her yet.

Holmes and Watson give chase in a bicycle powered airplane (Orville Wright eat your heart out) and the score shifts to "Lassie Come Home" mode with a sound that reeks of boisterous young adventure the Famous Five would be envious of. Sadly, Holmes and Watson aren't killed in the crash landing,

Before long, the scene changes to an underground temple full of itinerant Londoners dressed in silly robes singing some sort of opera in some dubious attempt at the dead tongue of the Egyptians. Aytah comes down the stairs looking the belle of the ball in his dress and jewelry, a silly mask is ceremoniously placed on his head to complete a look straight off the cover of Vogue.

Predictably, there's a Tom & Jerry style death trap for Elizabeth that gives the rusty wheels in Holmes' head just enough time to revolve and hatch a plan Jerry mouse would be proud of...

Tell you what though, if it were up to me, I'd pick Watson for a sidekick too. He takes a thumping every five minutes in the film, but is never knocked out for more than 10 seconds and never shows any signs of bruising. Not only that, every villain that takes a swing at him is covered by a shower of rocks and rubble. Honestly, its like he's got divine protection.

On with the "plot" *sigh*... Aytah makes off with Elizabeth, ostensibly I assume for the purpose of a bit of hows-your-father. Holmes, filled with indignation at being beaten to the punch, is after the devil in a flash. The last bit worth mentioning (or not) is the final battle between Aytah and Holmes. In a curious version of sword play that involves attempting to hit your enemy's sword instead of lopping his arm off, the two battle for their lives, with various crate throwing and other dirty tricks mixed in. The ending's nothing to write home about, a good laugh by all accounts and a lesson in how not to act if you expect anyone to actually watch your film. To cut a long story short, everyone doesn't live happily ever after, but close enough.

And there you go, a pathetic end to a trash film. Spielberg really should have been shot for producing this one...
7 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Never credible, but most enjoyable!
nalobcram14 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Today, Chris Columbus is (what Harry Knowles astutely calls) an "almost director". He has never made a truly good movie, (what has he been doing since "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"?). But back in the mid 1980's, Columbus wrote 3 very entertaining (if unbelievable) movies, all for Steven Spielberg's Amblin company: "Gremlins" (1984), "The Goonies" (1985) and this film, "Young Sherlock Holmes" (1985). I don't blame Doyle followers for hating this movie, it isn't for them. This film is for those of us who know nothing of Sherlock Holmes franchise, but just love an fun movie.

"Young Sherlock Holmes" is well-produced across the board, fun, fast and perfectly cast. Some other posters here have slammed both Rowe (Holmes) and Cox (Watson), but I found them just fine. The flagrant 80's effects (from the Spielberg/Lucas teams) are a distraction and the "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984) style plot is absolutely wrong, but those are my only real complaints. Director Barry Levinson, has of course, go on to much greater things, but this may be his most underrated film. Personally, I would have enjoyed this film even more had the three leads been even younger (say 11-14 years old). But then, there couldn't be a big sword duel between Holmes and Rathe.

If your a fan of the Amblin Entertainment empire, and don't know anything about Sherlock Holmes I think you'll enjoy this film. It's a great shame (even tragedy) "Young Sherlock Holmes" was a complete box-office bomb and that the DVD has no special features whatsoever!

Final rating: 7/10 "An enjoyable, entertaining movie. Not a classic, but it's not supposed to be."
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Weaknesses are in the Screenplay
curtis-819 October 2001
"Young Sherlock Holmes" could have been the first installment in a very entertaining series of films for young people, if not for one particularly crippling weakness in the screenplay.

The basic story is fine, for a kid-oriented, Spielburg-influenced adventure. In this alternate version of the Sherlock legend, the great detective and his sidekick (future doctor)Watson meet as young teens in boarding school. Here they solve their first mystery, concerning a mysterious figure who causes several deaths by shooting his (her?) victims with darts filled wit a powerful hallucinogenic. Eventually, they are led to a mysteriously powerful cult. And of course, there's a bit of romance (no, not between Holmes and Watson).

Sounds pretty good for a kid's adventure, huh?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, the screenplay by Chris Columbus (director of the new Harry Potter movie)is seriously flawed. Obviously, some research into Holmes' fictional history went into the creation of the movie's revisionist story. But, beyond a couple of clever revelations foreshadowing the adult Holmes canon, Columbus' screenplay completely ignores the most important element of the Holmes character, the element that has made the character one of the genre's most enduring: Holmes' uncanny observational and deductive abilities. The payoff of every Holmes story comes when he explains how he has deduced what seemed, up until that point in the story, impossible for him to know. He basically goes through the entire process and we marvel at is abilities as a detective.

Well, "Young Sherlock Holmes" has none of that. Columbus' version of Holmes and Watson simply fall effortlessly from one clue after another, moved not by Holme's deductive abilities, but by the machinations of teh screenplay alone. In other words, the great Sherlock Holmes doesn't really figure much out.

If a second screenwriter had been hired to create an actual mystery to lay over Columbus' adolecent adventure--perhaps puzzlemaster Anthony Peter Shaffer ("Sleuth")--the movie would have been much more involving. As it stands, it's "The Goonies" with posh London accents.

Then I'm sure we would have had "Young Sherlock Holmes 2: Moriarty Returns" and on and on.

Perhaps its time for a remake.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This bomb would make Doyle roll over in his grave.
cipher12329 August 2000
"Young Sherlock Holmes" has the potential to be an interesting film but unfortunately seems to be marred in contrived cliches. I did not find any of the characters to be particularly interesting, nor did I appreciate its stereotypical and racist demonizing of middle Eastern culture - as if Egyptian women really behave or look like that! At times, I thought I was watching a series of bad Monty Python sketches.

All in all, the acting was reasonably good (except for the scenery chewing villains) and the costumes were great, but I had a hard time staying awake while watching this film. The ending was particularly inane...obviously designed to lead into a sequel, which thankfully never came about. Strictly a movie for little kids or for people who like watching dated special effects.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sherlock Holmes meets Raiders of the Lost Ark
blanche-28 January 2014
Young Sherlock (Nicholas Rowe) and young Watson (Alan Cox) meet as young schoolmates in "Young Sherlock Holmes," from 1985. Both of them immediately get into trouble.

Holmes becomes intrigued as well as angry when several people die of apparent suicide or hysteria, including someone with whom he was very close, Professor Waxflatter. Waxflatter keeps repeating a word over and over before he dies, and Holmes decides to investigate. While doing so, he discovers a hallucinatory drug that is blown into the victim, causing them to see things that aren't there. He also discovers an Egyptian-type religious cult called Rametep, who make use of this drug.

After observing one of the cult's rituals, Holmes, Watson, and another school friend, Elizabeth, are spotted and hit with the drug, each suffering horrific hallucinations.

Holmes is unable to interest Inspector Lestrade in this case, and when a fellow student sets him up by forging test questions in his handwriting, Holmes is expelled. Though he's supposed to leave town, he stays in a room at Elizabeth's, helped by Elizabeth and Watson. He's found, and Watson is expelled as well. Can they solve the mystery, and can they get back into school? In the Conan Doyle stories, Holmes and Watson meet as adults, but it's stated up front that this is a speculative fiction. Those who know Holmes as an intellectual, probably asexual, with not much in the way of physical prowess, will see that here, he is an expert swordsman and also falls for Elizabeth. Watson here is a chubby young man (as stated in the script, though he really didn't look it), very bookish looking and not at all adventurous.

The plot is reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark in that there is a lot of action and adventure, as well as exploration of the cult, which has its meetings in a cavernous place with a replica of a pyramid, where its members wear costumes and practice mummification. There are lots of special effects during the hallucination sequences as well as in other sections.

This is a marvelous film for kids, and I have to say as an adult, I enjoyed it as well. The final silhouette of Holmes is delightful, as we see the man he will become.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed