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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guy Ritche's Sherlock Holmes Revisited

As a participant in The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate, I felt that I should have another look at Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. I liked it better the second time around, but I am not tempted to jump ship and join the pro-Ritchie side of the debate.

The film has a great plot and some excellent atmospherics. I liked the look inside our hero's head as he anticipated in advance what would happen in the next few seconds. Despite the misplaced slapstick in several places, I would have liked this production very much -- if only it weren't presented as Sherlock Holmes movie!

I just find it irritating to have the names Holmes, Watson, Adler, and Morstan attached to people who aren't them. A Sherlock Holmes with ragged hair and a stubble of beard is to me as unthinkable as Watson who punches Holmes in the face. In addition to the almost-mandatory (in pastiches) misrepresentation of Irene Adler as a love interest for Holmes, she is re-imagined as a criminal.

The use of such familiar Canonical touches as the patriotic VR in bullet marks on the wall and a few snatches of authentic dialogue (perhaps the benign influence of the Sherlockian consultant?) did not redeem the film for me.

Although I'm taking part in The Great Debate, I really don't think that taste can be debated in the sense of coming to a conclusion that one is right or wrong. This was just my reaction to Sherlock Holmes. What was yours?

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