Friday, May 14, 2010
It was surprisingly entertaining to say the least, but definitely could have been better. Here's why: If Robert Downey Jr. was not Holmes in the movie, and should an inferior actor have been in his place, this movie would have been your typical action packed mediocrity Hollywood is so good at producing and most tasteless movie goers continue to accept as "good".
I'll admit though, that I haven't read a single Sherlock Holmes book growing up. My mystery novel readings were primarily on the Arsene Lupin series, which I first stumbled upon in 3rd grade when my mom confiscated one of them from a student while she was still an English teacher. After watching the movie, and should the depiction of Holmes be accurate to the books, Lupin is very much the French Sherlock Holmes sans a few small yet significant personality traits that ultimately make them entertaining in their unique ways which...I'll leave for another discussion after I go through a few books in the series this movie is based on.
Now back to Holmes. A genius detective with a keen sense of perception and unmatched deductive reasoning nicely rounded off with an eccentric personality. The result is a character that every guy pretty much wants to be and every girl wishes was single. Robert Downey Jr., whom recently played a very similar role in Iron Man, could not have been more suitable for this role. Boy did he pull it off. The kind of intellectual charm was mesmerizing enough for me to stop thinking about the rest of the movie. I almost failed to recognize Watson was played by another actor I enjoyed watching, Jude Law, until about half way into the movie.
So, I did seem a bit harsh on the premise that this movie would've been a disaster if it weren't for Downey's brilliant acting. That's not really true, it's just that the acting was so good when you took it out, the movie was in comparison was just ok.
The plot, from a mystery novel stand point of view is fairly standard. Lay out the mysteries that are seemingly mind boggling and provide bread crumb sized clues to the audience until the brilliant rationalization of the truth at the end. I have no problem with that, practically every mystery story follows this pattern more of less anyway. Still, I remember the thrill of finding out what happened when I read the Lupin series as a child and being in awe at the intellectual complexity of it all. However, I felt none of that at the end of the movie. The explanations to the mysteries were uninteresting, and fairly predictable. It was a bit boring really.
So, at the end the movie had great acting for the most part, nicely done music that brought out the exciting atmosphere, and impressive action sequences, but it missed the most important, essential ingredient all great mystery stories all have in the plot. That's a shame, because if it were me, I would've traded anything for a great plot that brought out the same emotions when I finished a Arsene Lupin novel.