Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come, Watson! The game is afoot!

Before I delve into the smoke-filled Victorian puzzlebox that is Sherlock Holmes, I’d like to take a moment to gloat: I’ve finally figured out what I want to use this blog for. Everything up until now was just messing around. I want to write about movies. Made from books. That’s my calling. I like movies. I like books. It’s a natural choice.

Anyway, let’s move on to the good shit.


Let me explain a little about Sherlock Holmes and me. When I was twelve, Sherlock Holmes was God. There is simply no other way to describe my endless devotion. I wasn’t in love with him or anything (ewww), I was just captivated and amused by a man who was both fantastically intelligent, and completely insane.

Seriously – and this is the part about him that lot of people miss – Sherlock Holmes is the kind of batshit you only get from high-quality cocaine, or maybe Mickey Rooney’s Crazy Pills. He is the world’s greatest detective, but he doesn’t know whether the earth revolves around the sun, or the sun around the earth. He once spent an entire morning throwing a spear through a dead pig. He does indoor target practice. In an apartment.

Robert Downey Jr. is also insane. It’s not just the heroin. There is an old episode of Loveline bouncing around with him and Anthony Kiedis as guests. They’ve both done a lot of drugs, but Anthony Kiedis sounds like a pretty normal guy. Robert Downey Jr. sounds like he about ten years away from becoming Gary Busey.

It seems like a match made in heaven. Downey as Holmes? Yes please! The physical description might not fit, but surely he can capture the borderline insanity of the great detective.

And now we have a trailer.

Okay. Thoughts.

1. Lovin’ those kicky sunglasses. And the complete lack of the god damn deerstalker hat that’s been permanently attached to Holmes’ head since Basil Rathbone decided it would be a good idea to wear it 24/7.

2. If there is actual supernatural shit in this movie, I will be pissed. Putting an actual supernatural element in a Holmes story is like putting an actual supernatural element in an episode of Scooby Doo. It was Old Man Smithers all along, not Old Man Smithers’ vengeful zombified ghost.

3. Having Irene Adler, “the woman,” prancing around in a showgirl outfit is kind of fucking ridiculous. She was in fact a lady, albeit one not averse to putting on a costume. Just…not like this. There was absolutely nothing sexual between the two, just a cat-and-mouse game that ended in mutual respect and envy. I hate to be one of those horrible RAAAAAH HOW DARE YOU CHANGE ANNNNNYTHING IN THE BOOKS THEY ARE GOSPEL YOU BASTARDS people, but uh, come on. Irene Adler is Irene Adler, this character is someone else, and you could have at least not tarnished her good name.

4. Knee in the balls? Really? Is this America’s Funniest Holmes Videos?

5. I am really sorry for that. Truly.

6. At least 30% of the trailer seems to focus on Holmes fighting Irene and being handcuffed to a bed. I get that they’re playing up Downey’s not inconsiderable sex appeal, but god damn. This is not what Sherlock Holmes is about.

I approach this movie with a sense of cautious optimism. Despite my misgivings, I like that we are finally seeing a young, sharp, attractive Watson – if Jude Law really pulls this off, maybe he can recover a little bit of his shattered career. I have absolutely zero misgivings about Downey as Holmes, he can do anything and he will be fantastic. The look of the movie is slick and attractive. Honestly, it’s the script I’m most worried about. If Guy Ritchie wanted to make a sex-drenched steampunk Victorian supernatural mystery, he could have just invented his own damn characters.

But we shall see.