Back to the movie~! Now, despite being an avid mystery lover, I have generally steered clear of Sherlock Holmes movies and series because, quite frankly, I find that they portray him as a humourless pansy. They never seem to explore his friendship with Watson (or Watson himself), his quick wit with comebacks, his fighting and martial arts prowess, and his complete disinterest in people and social interaction. This movie changed all that by showcasing Holmes as more of the disorganized, brilliant mind that he is and makes better use of all of his (physical) abilities.
There was only one thing missing for it to have been the God honest portrayal of Holmes and the movie teased me about it in a scene! >:3 In one of the scenes, Holmes hadn’t had a case for three months, I think it was, and was going crazy about it. Watson tells the landlady to get Holmes something to calm him down and get his mind off things, and I immediatly thought “FINALLY! A movie where you see Holmes shooting morphine or cocain like he does in the stories“, but alas, she brought him tea… =.=; Watson does however note at one point that Holmes had been ingesting something that is normally used for eye surgery, and that’s probably the closest I’m gonna get for now…
Watson is also more honestly portrayed; rather than a bumbling idiot of a sidekick that he is usually portrayed as in the old pre-WWII movies, he is shown as quite capable at deductive reasoning (like in the books), able to utilize his great medical knowledge (seeing that he is a doctor), and as a man of action mirroring his past as a military man. I’ve read that he was also portraid in this manner in the 1984 TV series, which unfortunately never aired here in Denmark.
Watson’s vices are also portrayed, such as his gambling addiction which I found to be a nice touch. So I rather enjoyed that Watson was given more depth in this movie and was somewhat of a foil to Holmes, rather than being shown as a sort of incompetent follower without a mind of his own. His more natural sense of humour, rather than the exaggerated clowning about from the old movies, was also hearts; Nat and I laughed ourselves silly whenever Holmes and Watson started arguing.
The story is original, i.e. not based on a book by Sir Conan Doyle, and so is the lead villain, Lord Blackwood. I’ve had a little trouble placing the movie in the Holmes canon, but given the events, I’d say it takes place right around the the time of conclusion of the case in the book “The Case of Four“, based on Watson’s relationship with his fiancé. In ‘our time’, that would make it around 1886-1887.
The story itself was quite well-written and rather exciting, leading up to a great conclusion at the very climax of the movie. Some of the riddles were, however, redundantly simple, such as the secret behind one of the character’s death and resurrection, but overall, the mysteries had me sitting on edge.
The dialogue was absolutely delightful and humorous; I was laughing myself silly at the dry wit of the two main characters and their bickering. The action and effects were amazing, and they took advantage of recent trends seen in shows such as Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp“, where everything is in super slow motion.
But like there’s something for “the common man”, who doesn’t know much about Sherlock Holmes canon, there were also easter eggs and nods that you simply CANNOT understand if you aren’t an avid Holmes fan and know of the mythos and habits of the two characters. For instance, at the end of the movie there is a short (10-15 second) dialogue involving the notes and journals Watson made of the adventures he’s had with Holmes; a nod to how the original stories were always written from Watson’s perspective as he was chronicling them.
An absolutely delightful movie and probably the best one of 2009 (Avatar is probably the most visually beautiful though). It has humour, action, mystery, more action, witty punchlines, awesome effects, and is just overall lovely~. If you haven’t watched it already, I advise you to do so, IMMEDIATLY!! And don’t listen to those BS “professional” critics who are completely biased and have to nitpick at like EEEEEVERYTHING while seemingly having forgotten how to simply sit back and enjoy a movie for what it is.
Oh, and the ending so TOTALLY segweys into introducing a sequel, so I’m totally looking forward to it already! ♥♥♥