Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sherlock Holmes: New Approach To A Classic Sleuth

This ain't your high school detective story! In Warner Bros. 2009 "Sherlock Holmes" gone are the traditional deerstalker cap, matching cloak, and magnifying glass. In their place, an 1891 bohemian/artsy, nontraditional style that paints the English crime solver as more of a rogue than a detective.

While Robert Downey Jr. portrays the eccentric, astute Holmes, Jude Law portrays Holmes' sidekick, John Watson. In total contrast to each other, the deducing odd couple squabble over everything from their living situation to women to clues. Obviously they are close, but how close? Will you sense an underlying "bromance"? Maybe!

Set in the 1890s, Holmes and Watson's new case involves a cunning villain from the occult world named Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Sentenced to death for ritually sacrificing women, Blackwood employs his supernatural powers to rise from the grave and continue his killing spree.  Once his "resurrection" is witnessed by a local and reported by press, fear spreads through London and even into Scotland Yard. Enter the dynamic duo of deduction, Holmes and Watson, to save the day!

Distracting Holmes from the case is "Jersey" girl Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). With a pretty face and bad character, she's not to be trusted and Holmes knows it, but can't resist her charms. Is she working for him or against him? The answer is held by her mysterious co-conspirator.  His face, just their agenda, is hidden in the shadows.

The story plays out in "Angels & Demons" fashion and as with both films you must pay close attention to the details. But Holmes figures out clues and observes details more quickly with a twist of anthropology and other sciences. And though he thinks out loud, you may find him difficult to understand with the English accent. He talks fast so you're forced to listen carefully or be left behind as he and Watson move on to the next scenes.

But not only is he quick on his feet, he's deadly fast with his hands too in a fist fight. If you're unfamiliar with the character details, this side of Holmes may come as a surprise. But for fans of Conan Doyle's literary series it's a only slight change from the original Holmes skilled in martial arts. And of course, there may be other differences too but that's to be expected between the original work and the film adaptation.

Remember director Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" isn't necessarily the one you grew up with but the core elements are still in place. There's a good blend of action, fight scenes, suspense, and explosions to keep you interested for at least two hours. It's definitely worth adding to your "must see" list this holiday season and opens Christmas day! So put on your thinking caps and head to the theater after dinner!

And lastly, for you literary heads who like the movies but love the original works. Add this to your collection or share it with your "youngins" as a reminder of where all this hype originated from: The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels and 56 Short Stories OR download the soundtrack to the new version by Hans Zimmer!

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