On occasion, I write movie reviews. Well last night, I watched “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” on DVD. It was great like the previous one. In fact, I want to go back and watch that previous one again.
You see, it has all the right elements for a good Sherlock Holmes movie.
- awkward disguises that vaguely reminds me of Pink Panther and generate sneering, but you later find out Holmes used them in scenes you totally missed, illustrating they indeed work
- dynamic cinematography showing Holmes observing EVERYTHING, formulating a plan, and then moving into action, in just a few seconds
- finally, KICKING BOOTY! This was a skill he had in the books, but seems to rarely make it into TV shows and movies.
Ever watch the Pink Panther movies? They were hilarious. The one where he has all these ridiculous costumes was a riot. When Holmes is showing Watson his goofy costumes, it seems equally outrageous. But the movie has flashback scenes where you find out that various extras you never noticed were actually Robert Downey Jr. in disguise, gathering intelligence, switching things around, and adjusting things as needed to protect his friends. It makes him believable. This compared to the “Sherlock Holmes in New York” movie, which had a neat plot and crime to solve, but a rather unbelievable Roger Moore never convincing me that his costumes were of any benefit but comic relief.
But costumes aren’t the #1 thing we look for in a Holmes movie. Instead, it’s his amazing powers of deduction. I read a few of Sir Doyle’s stories and enjoyed them. A friend of mine read them all. The books often show him making incredible deductions. Then when Watson questions him on how he could know this, Holmes walks through the avalanche of trace clues all around and his conclusions become obvious. This seemed impossible to translate to screen, except Guy Ritchie somehow knew how to magically do this with incredible brevity, clarity, and coolness on the big screen. In four seconds, I watched Robert Downey Jr.’s eyes glancing in different directions, and finding a secret way out of a scene. Cool!
Last, but not least, is the fact that in the books, Holmes is an avid boxer and fighter. Somehow, this must be distasteful to BBC and Hollywood in general. Guy Ritchie said that when he was 7 years old and in boarding school, he heard all the Sherlock Holmes stories read over the PA system at night. He went to sleep to Holmes. So when he started directing them, he knew exactly what he wanted. Holmes ability to see an entire fight scene in his mind with incredible annotation in a flash, and then to execute it in the span of tossing up an apple, and catching it after the last man falls is amazing.
A really evil villain
But never fear, Professor Moriarty is just as clever, if not more so. He is a true rival to Holmes, and this film never lets you doubt it. There were many points where Holmes gets a set back, and I honestly didn’t know how it would unfold. The books sometimes seem a bit too stacked in Holmes favor, but this movie didn’t let that idea form in my mind. I watched it closely to the end, and love every minute of it. Time to rent the previous one, AGAIN!
Game of Shadows was just as good if not better than the first Sherlock Holmes movie. I wish I could have watched the first one right before seeing the second, but when my supervisor at Dish said GOS just came out on DVD I couldn’t wait. I put it in my Blockbuster at Home queue and bothered the mailman every day until it came. Fortunately for him, it was a lot faster than I was usually waiting for Netflix. The best part about this movie is how they have managed to show viewers what Holmes is thinking without telling them. I thought it would have been impossible but the matrix-like slowdowns and the clever scripting have proved me wrong. Although I am certain this is not what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was thinking, I am positive that he would still be proud.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s why I have put these on my to-buy list. After I get the rest of Stargate:Atlantis.