I’m going to see the new Sherlock Holmes film on Thursday so, as I hadn’t seen the first one, I bought it from Blockbuster for £3. It’s going to be a bit of a Sherlock Holmes OD week this week because I also watched the first episode of the new run of Sherlock on BBC1 on Sunday. I need all this film and TV viewing at the moment because here in England the year has entered its grim, cold, post-Christmas phase so it’s much better not to be outside.
The Guy Ritchie film (2009) was pretty good; very few dull parts, reasonable script and good performances from all of the cast especially Robert Downey Junior who became Holmes in the same way as he became Chaplin all those years ago. I liked the fact that the city of London, in a way, became another character of the film; this is an advantage that the movie has over the BBC version which could almost be set in any European city. Of course, the film evidently has a much bigger budget than the TV series so they can afford to put it all on show. Which they certainly do; the whole Victorian London thing looks breathtaking especially the under-construction Tower Bridge where the finale takes place.
Overall, it’s a good, entertaining film which ticks most of the relevant boxes. My minor niggles would include the violence; I’m not against showing violence but I hated the stylised, slo-mo, ninja-esque, trendy way it was done (why does Guy Ritchie have to spoil films by always putting this in?!). I also prefer my heroes to use violence reluctantly rather than rush into it like a couple of Transformers on a bad hair day.
As I said, the TV episode I also saw this week clearly didn’t have so much dosh to splash out on visuals. It made up for this, though, in inventiveness, cleverness, wittiness, suspense, characterisation and probably a few more fronts too. A lot of this was down to Stephen Moffat‘s script (does he ever do average ones?) but not all; the direction was great even without the CGI and all the cast was superb. I can’t choose between Robert Downey and Benedict Cumberbatch for who does the best Holmes; they both do it so differently but it works well both ways. If I was really really really forced I would probably say Downey because he has a tiny bit more heart but Cumberbatch gets the better words to say.
I’m only halfway through this Holmes Fest; am seeing the new film tomorrow and then there’s episode 2 on TV on Sunday. Maybe I’ll get myself a magnifying glass. I’ve been advised to do that before. That was in very different circumstances and it was even colder than today.