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Sherlock Holmes

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 27-03-2010


  • ISBN13: 0883929086993
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

The hangman did his job, Dr. Watson declared the condemned man dead…yet Lord Blackwood has emerged from the tomb to assert his deadly will over 1890 London. Is he in league with the forces of hell itself? Is the whole Empire in peril? It’s a mystery macabre–and only Sherlock Holmes can master it. 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 peer… More >>

Sherlock Holmes

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Comments (5)

After reading the reviews from some of the critics I was surprised by how many of them talked disdainfully about this movie as a divergence from the source material. I’m assuming many of them were relying on the old Basil Rathbone movies to color their interpretation of Holmes. They seem to overlook the fact that in the actual novels and stories penned by Doyle Holmes was an artistically tempermental, manic depressive, physically powerful individual who annoyed Watson by conducting experiments in their shared flat. He had been a prize fighter under another name, he was a cocaine addict and, according to “the Adventure of the Empty House” he was skilled in one of the earliest “mixed martial arts”, Bartitsu (misspelled by Doyle as “Baritsu”). Watson was a formidable former Army doctor discharged due to complications from a shoulder injury sustained in heavy combat while serving in Afghanistan. In many ways their depiction in this movie is much closer to their depiction by Doyle than what we’ve seen in the past. I am especially gratified that they finally did away with the ludicrously out of place deerstalker cap that became a staple of the Holmes movies due to one of the original Padget illustrations and which made no sense for the character when he was in an urban setting.
Rating: 5 / 5

From the opening when horses seem to be galloping from the back of the theater, through the gray skies and industrial grime of the exteriors and the dinginess of most of the interiors, relieved occasionally by gorgeous jewel toned luxury, this Sherlock Holmes is grittier and much more raw then its predecessors–a Holmes for the millenium.

Robert Downey’s Holmes is a brilliant brat. He borrows Watson’s clothes without permission, insults Watson’s fiance at their first meeting, and drives Mrs. Hudson to her wits’ ends, but he’s also a guy who knows his way around a boxing ring and the one you want on your side when facing doom in the form of Lord Blackwood, an executed murderer who resurfaces at the head of a black magic cult bent on world domination.

Jude Law’s Watson is an understated sidekick to the flamboyant Holmes, but their relationship is more of a partnership than in typical Holmes/Watson duos. It’s fun to watch the verbal sparring and exasperation which underlying affection makes sparkling rather than mean. The supporting cast is excellent, as well. The movie plays fair with the viewer. When Holmes explains how the crimes were carried out, we realize we saw the same clues at the same time he did. No deus ex machina here–it’s all elementary.

This Sherlock Holmes is neither Jeremy Brett nor Basil Rathbone. Viewers who expect to settle into a predictable detective yarn will be disappointed. This Holmes is edgy, action packed and slightly uncomfortable, but more believable because of it. It’s smart and atmospheric, and well worth seeing.
Rating: 5 / 5

First of all, as of this writing, Amazon still states that this item is a three disc set, but this is not the case. The DVD and digital copy are included on the same disc, while a second disc contains the Blu-Ray version. This isn’t an issue, of course, just a small clarification. Speaking of which, I’ve seen a significant number of complaints regarding the inclusion of the DVD/digital copy in the Blu-Ray version, with many complaining that they want neither and it’s needlessly driving the cost up.

A simple comparison of this item against other Blu-Rays on Amazon proves this title costs no more than any other new release, and the DVD/digital copy is actually a very nice bonus for those who buy the film early. I, for instance, plan to loan out the DVD to friends who don’t own Blu-Ray players. The digital copy is nice, I suppose, but I’ve never been bored enough to want to watch a film on my iPod or laptop. Besides which, like all digital copies, it expires a year from now. I’m actually glad it’s included on the same disc as the DVD, because all other digital copies included on a separate disc I’ve ended up tossing out.

Upon loading the Blu-Ray into the player three trailers will run. This is, of course, typical practice. The irritating part is that the disc will not allow the user to access the menu from the trailers, and the user is forced to manually fast-forward through each trailer. A minor complaint, to be sure, but irritating nonetheless. The film runs 02:08:24 and the Blu-Ray includes ten bonus features (the DVD doesn’t contain a single special feature). The included audio tracks and subtitles are in English, French, and Spanish. The first eight features are all collected in the “Focus Points” section and consist of eight 3-5 minute featurettes exploring a specific facet of the film (there is a “Play All” function included). Most of the titles are rather self-explanatory, but here’s a complete rundown of the featurettes:

1) “Drawbridges & Doilies: Designing a Late Victorian London” (5:00) – This feature highlights how the production designers suffused life into their vision of Victorian London with an acute attention to detail.

2) “Not a Deerstalker Cap in Sight” (4:15) – This feature explains how the filmmakers decided to take the Holmes character back to his roots in the original Arthur Conan Doyle tales and compare the Downey interpretation against past cinematic versions of Holmes.

3) “Ba-ritsu: A Tutorial” (3:58) – This feature explores how the filmmakers blended various real-life martial arts into the fictional version featured in the film, along with explaining how Holmes was a former fighter well-versed in martial arts in the original Doyle stories.

4) “Elementary English: Perfecting Sherlock’s Accent” (4:04) – This feature explores how American Downey refined his English accent for the film. Director Guy Ritchie observes that he preferred an American because it gives the Holmes character an “international” flavor.

5) “The One That Got Away” (3:44) – This feature delves a bit into the psyche of Holmes, particularly his stance on love and his relationships with women.

6) “Powers of Observation & Deduction” (4:01) – This features Lionel Wigram (writer & producer of “Sherlock Holmes”) explaining why he was attracted to the project, along with what makes Holmes such an enduringly fascinating character.

7) “The Sherlockians” (3:03) – The feature explores the diehard, borderline obsessive Holmes fans who organize annual meetings to discuss Doyle’s life and works.

8) “Future Past” (3:08) – This feature highlights how, with the aid of both sets and modern technology, the filmmakers were able to recreate the glory and grime of Victorian London.

The ninth feature is included in the “Behind the Movie” section and is called “Sherlock Holmes Reinvented” (14:06) – This is a more involving feature which functions as an extension of the other featurettes. The filmmakers discuss why they felt attracted to the project and how they desired to stay true to the source material, as opposed to the cinematic versions of the past.

The most celebrated special feature here, prominently featured in the television ads, is the “Maximum Movie Mode”. This is a sort of interactive film commentary with director Ritchie (running slightly longer than the film itself) that includes picture-in-picture still images, behind the scenes videos, cast and crew interviews, technical details of the film, and of course Ritchie’s commentary. It’s this sort of feature that truly makes a Blu-Ray special, aside from the enhanced high-definition image, of course. A typical film commentary simply has the director talking over the film, which can be informative but distracting. The “Maximum Movie Mode” is a much more entertaining commentary that even includes the option for user interactivity.

The content of the film itself is highly subjective, particularly with a character as famed and revered as Sherlock Holmes, and I don’t feel particularly compelled to add my thoughts. As a Blu-Ray release, however, this title is every bit as impressive as it should be. I particularly appreciate how the special features didn’t just shed light on the filmmaking process, but spent ample time discussing Doyle’s stories, the various interpretations of the Holmes character, and the lasting legacy of it all. I’m proud to include this film in my collection. Five easy stars.
Rating: 5 / 5

Ok. For all those who are saying. “If you are looking for a faithful version, adaptation, etc look elsewhere…” I ask you: Have you actually read Sherlock Holmes or are you basing that statement on your image of Sherlock Holmes as has been portrayed in the past?

Where in all of the stories does it state that Holmes wears a deerstalker hat and walks around with a Calabash pipe? Sidney Paget, who illustrated the stories for The Strand magazine, interpreted the descriptions in the stories. That was his version of what Holmes might look like.

This new version is Guy Ritchie’s interpretation and it is quite refreshing. In the stories, Holmes is a boxer, bare knuckle fighter, marksman, swordsman and an accomplished martial artist in addition to being brilliant at deduction and a master of disguise. There was only one woman whom Holmes was impressed by in his life -most of these qualities are portrayed in the new film so how is this “not faithful”? If anything, it is one of the most faithful movies to deal with Holmes that I have ever seen.

I will admit that for “classic” Holmes there is no better than Jeremy Brett in my humble opinion. His performance will never be matched. However, that is an entirely different interpretation of the character. I approached this new film with an open mind and was very pleasantly surprised.

Robert Downey Jr. is, in my opinion, a perfect fit for this role. His ability to reflect the intelligence, physical prowess and sardonic wit of Holmes was dead on. Jude law was exceptional as Dr. Watson. Not some bumbling, moronic sidekick of the past but a true companion possessing formidable skills of his own. Just as in the stories.

Downey and Law’s performance was a pleasure to watch and they have great chemistry on screen. I was also very impressed by 19th century London. CGI has come a long way.

The main reason that I do not give this movie 5 stars is due to the plot itself which I will not go into here. (I don’t like SPOILERS) I will just say that though we are most likely being set up for a sequel I felt the story could have had a little more meat on it’s bones. Overall though, I thought it was extremely entertaining.

I still do not understand why there are so many saying that this new film is not faithful. Is it a word for word adaptation of the stories? No. The worst that could be said is that like Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings, Guy Ritchie has maintained the true “spirit” of the Holmes character -though I would say he has done much, much more.

Rating: 4 / 5

There aren’t many movies around that dare to reinvent something both literary and cinematic that is beloved by readers and movie-goers alike, but action director Guy Ritchie has dared in a big way …and succeeded beyond my expectations.

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet, 1887), he made Holmes a roughshod, drug-addled genius with keen deductive powers. This made him a person that lay-readers could identify with. A man with problems, but with unique abilities that were much in demand. Coming off the heels of the Victorian era, too, Holmes was – in a very real way – a person coming out of that stuffy time period and into the more loose and modern one. Again, something readers of the time could identify with.

Although the books live on in perpetuity, most of the population over the age of 40 are probably more familiar with director Roy Neill’s television series starring the estimable Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson (if you’re under 40 you’re probably hooked on the hit TV series House M.D. which has more than just a passing familiarity with Doyle’s character). Basil recreated the character of Holmes and also cleaned him up quite a bit. No drugs. Clean shaven. A real gentleman. In Doyle’s literary works, however, this is far from the case … which brings us to this new manifestation: the 2009 cinematic work starring Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder) as Holmes and Jude Law (REPO MEN) as Watson.

Downey Jr. is one of our great new actors. He is a chameleon in every sense of the word. Which is why I found his Holmes to be extremely well played. From his migraines to drugging Watson’s beloved dog, Downey Jr. truly encompassed everything that Doyle wrote about. He’s both brilliant and prone to folly; seeks a new case that’s semi-interesting but is just as likely to seek out a new drug to make him feel more interested; and only has eyes for one woman, the lovely Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams, The Family Stone) who is just as much trouble as any drug or migraine.

This film is, hopefully, a reawakening of the Sherlock Holmes mystique; but a reawakening with Doyle’s truly flawed character and not some scrubbed clean version. The ending of this movie certainly leaves open the possibility of a sequel. Let’s hope that happens.

One final word of warning in case you didn’t get what I was saying: this isn’t your grandmas Sherlock Holmes. If you want Rathbone, go watch him. If you want Doyle’s Holmes, check out Guy Ritchie’s newest (and more accurate) interpretation.
Rating: 5 / 5

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