Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law put memorable imprints on Holmes and Watson in this bold new reimagining that makes the legendary sleuth a daring man of action as well as a peerless man of intellect. Baffling clues, astonishing Holmesian deductions, nimble repartee, catch-your-breath scenes of one slam thing after another--director Guy Ritchie helms the excitement reintroducing the great detective to the world. Meet the new Sherlock Holmes!
The character of everyone’s beloved detective, Sherlock Holmes somewhat gives an impression of an elderly gentleman wearing a deerstalker cap, a smoking pipe dangling from his lip and always seen hanging around with his chubby sidekick, Dr Watson. These two outlandish characters doesn’t really help in selling a movie in the multiplexes if put to the litmus test to be frank.
In come Guy Ritchie (RocknRolla, Snatch) and his team of writers who managed to reinvent the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic creation and amassed a US$208 million box-office success domestically when it was released last Christmas. No worries, Holmes and Watson did not turned out to be two teenagers drabbed in Levis and streetwear in contemporary London. Instead, Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law play the main protagonists respectively in the story set in Victorian London before the construction of London Bridge is even complete.
The movie opens with a thrilling horse carriage chase scene and never lets up for the rest of the 128 minutes duration. The eccentric Sherlock Holmes and his trusted ally, Dr Watson is racing to stop the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from continuing committing ritualistic murders using his supernatural powers after he miraculously survived his supposedly death sentence. Does Lord Blackwood, the occult leader indeed possess remarkable sinister powers beyond what Holmes has expected? Or Blackwood is just a madman on the loose?
The setup is 'elementary' enough yet engaging to a non-detective fan or sorts. The story never relies on endless pages of dialogues or head-scratching detective deduction. Ritchie wrapped the characters and plot with snazzy action scenes that are strikingly refreshing from one scene to another. Even the CG enhanced sets add to the grandeur of things for examples the wharf fight and the London Bridge sequence. This Sherlock Holmes is far more hands-on, martial-arts oriented, disheveled but never falls short of being cocksure and observant. The character of Dr Watson also differs from the usual fumbling caricature; this Jude Law portrayal is an ex-war veteran and equally as gung-ho and skilful as Holmes.
Of course, the success of this reimagining goes to the sizzling chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Iron Man and Gigolo Joe plays it off like a seasoned pair of BFF, taking playful shots at each other and seamlessly worked their magic onscreen effortlessly. Rachel McAdams who plays Irene Adler, the former flame of Holmes feels somewhat out-of-place opposite the far superior Robert Downey Jr. Mark Strong, the resident onscreen villian in recent cinematic outings (Body Of Lies, Kick-Ass) gives another twisted performance without being far too cheesy.
On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes purists might take offence at Guy Ritchie’s take on the classic brainy detective with its not so faithful adaptation of Sir Conan’s literary works. In addition, the heavy handed usage of both fast and slow editing techniques and the obvious lack of suspense and mystery of the plotting does little to stimulate your mind if you are looking for something far more challenging to kill time.
Despite the shortcomings, the detective residing at 221B Baker Street is apparently given a new lease of life on the big screen by Guy Ritchie whom has proven as a filmmaker, he can attempt a different genre besides the usual gangster flicks the audience has grown accustomed to.
As what Sherlock Holmes says in the movie, "Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts". I suggest you take a peek at this Sherlock Holmes’ reimagining if you are in a mood for a superbly craft action comedy peppered with brilliant cast performances.
Among the influx of remakes, reboots and reimagining from Hollywood, this one comes highly recommended.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented – This 14 minutes
feature the usual cast and crew interviews and shots of behind-the-scenes.
and Doilies: Designing a late Victorian London –
Take a look at how the clever use of CG helps to fulfill Guy
Ritchie’s version of early 19th century London.
a Deerstalker cap in sight – A more fanciful
name for costumes design feature.
A Tutorial – Guy Ritchie is a fan of Ba-ritsu
and this feature shows you how the martial-art is used by
Holmes in the movie.
English: Perfecting Sherlock's Accent – This
short feature shows you how Downey master the English accent
under his dialog coach.
One That Got Away – The lady characters, Irene
Adler and Mary Morstan is given a highlight in this feature.
of Observation and Deduction – A spoilerish
featurette which unveiled a few clues and easter eggs.
Sherlockians – A rare look at what Sherlock
fans do in real-life to celebrate the famed works of Sir Arthur
Past – An interesting feature that details
the efforts make by the crew to 'dress up' contemporary London
locations into filming sets.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 delivers a strong dynamic soundtrack
including generous doses of breaking glass, kicks and punching
sound effects with an Oscar nominated, robust Hans Zimmer’s
score to go with. Details and black levels are fine for the
visual department despite the intended dark, gritty, grim
look which Guy Ritchie has opted for.
by Linus Tee
Posted on 19 April 2010