Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Holmes & Watson
I saw the (relatively) new Guy Ritchie "Sherlock Holmes" movie yesterday. If you're wondering whether to buy the dvd I can tell you this much: it doesn't bear much of a resemblance to any of the Holmes versions you may have seen before. It opens and closes like a Batman movie, actually, with lots of noise and decidedly non-Victorian fighting in locations intended to be spectacular. And in the middle there's an interminable, allegedly comical, fight sequence that reminded me, at least, of the wake-me-when-it's-over battle scenes in "Pirates of the Caribbean". I am not a fan of movies that rely on a combination of special effects (or should that be CGI?) and cliche to please their audience. But the new Holmes did have some impressive things in it. The rendering of Victorian London is as good as, if not better than, Tim Burton's in "Sweeney Todd"; and Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr., as Watson and Holmes respectively, are fabulous on screen together. The new Redford and Newman, we cautiously whisper, hoping that the Fates don't hear us and make fools of everyone. When producers and directors trust their stars -- and the intelligence of their audience -- the results can sometimes be tremendous, as they are when Holmes and Watson are sparking off each other and nothing is exploding behind them. Unfortunately it happens all too rarely. A sequel will dilute the traces of timeless movie brilliance a little further sometime next year, I shouldn't wonder.