Sunday, 28 November 2010
Well lets start with the basic requirements of any entertaining film. It fails in every important way possible. It's badly cast, badly acted, poorly written, overly violent for no apparent reason , the story makes little or no sense, lasting about 120 minutes but feeling like 4 hours. It's called Sherlock Holmes, but resembles Holmes about as much as a fat hamster resembles a cheetah. It could have been called Indiana Bond v the Evil doer ninjas and not have changed a single word save a few names, it was that removed from even being slightly about Sherlock Holmes. But since I was made to sit in plain view of the promo monkeys, I could hardly walk out at the 15th minute when I wanted to. Had I left, I would not have seen the complete list of atrocities inflicted on movie goers in the name of Guy Ritchie's bank account and Robert Downey's ego. And so having been made to watch this, I will tell you in exquisite detail why it's 2 hours of my life I would have preferred watching repeats of old industrial films or having a root canal.
Oh Yes! As a Sherlockian I can tell you it treats the core characters with as much respect as an illiterate bully looking for porn mags at the library. Holmes should have no difficulty paying the rent as he's quite wealthy. Holmes and Watson do not have gambling problems, Holmes is not a slob, Irene Adler is not a master criminal but an actress/singer. As for the whole Mary Morstan story, Holmes is the one who hooks her up with Doctor Watson in the stories. So for Holmes on film to be jealous and to make trouble is insane and clearly he can't use deduction on her as he already knows her.. Holmes and Watson never come to blows and Mrs Hudson is Scottish and not afraid of Holmes. One tiny detail... Holmes and Watson do not own a dog of any kind, let alone a dead ringer for a certain insurance selling bulldog. Oh Yes ! Can you say product placement? For the writers to take a few over the top episodes from the books and wrap them in rubbish does not make for an alleged accurate portrayal with a twist. As for the costuming, it's a dogs breakfast of styles from 1840 through to 1925, Rachel Mcadams in particular is dressed so poorly for the period, it's clear this was never ever made as anything but a cash grab at horny teenagers who can't afford internet porn. There are more cockneys per square inch than there were in London at the time and there appear to be only a handful of upper class people and they are all without exception, Evil. London was not an eternal lunar landscape forgotten by the sun and the constant less than subtle reminders that Ritchie once made Lock Stock and two smoking barrels means the film was never more than a sad call for attention from a film maker who's last few films have been without exception, turkeys.
So what's the story?
Holmes has to stop a megalomaniac from taking over the world through alleged Satan worship, but is in fact Kabbala. The baddie who dresses like a Nazi from 1933 and speaks like one, wants to create a new world order. Where have we heard that one before? Oh yeah, Indiana Jones or was that WW2?
The greatest offence, as if what I already mentioned wasn't enough, is the clear use of Jewish iconography and objects to create a sense of evil and danger. People who could read Hebrew, were shocked to see the following.
1- A passage supposedly from the Kabbala , a practise that was so deeply shunned at the time by Jews, it was cause for expulsion from the congregation. The passage purported to be about a ritual with animal parts was in fact a text about the elements of life and completely harmless.
2- At one point, the film casts evil intent on the character of some high nobles with the inclusion of a richly decorated ceremonial box. The box in fact is a Tzadakah box or charity box. You select a cause to donate to and drop your change in to eventually give it to the charity of your choice. To elevate such an object of good to symbol of evil and danger is the same as equating a breast feeding mother to that of a murderer.
It gets worse
3- During the film there is a massive overly long, slow motion explosion. The music played is the same as is used in every WW2 special about the concentration camps. It was creepy and unsettling.
4- Lastly they plan to kill off most of the members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons by using a device to activate poisonous pellets that will send the deadly smoke into the House of Commons turning it into a gas chamber.
This film is flawed in so many ways, but the use of Jewish symbols and sacred items in combination with the gas chamber imagery is beyond the pale. As a Holmes film it fails, as an action adventure it's a complete mess from beginning to end, not having any particular hook or creation of tension onto likable characters. Lastly it is offensive to any person who knows their history .. I can only hope this film dies a quick death.
My last word on this, if you want to watch quality Holmes stories,stick to ITV's Jeremy Brett, but at all cost avoid this piece of dog's droppings,it's not worth the price of admission, even if you don't read Hebrew.
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