The Games Afoot

Yikes! The games afoot. The title of the movie says it all…Sherlock Holmes. Cast : Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams Direction: Guy Ritchie Genre: Action/ Thriller. Director Guy Ritchie really caught the sights and sounds of London 1891. Polluted, crowded, and populated with women of questionable character, scruffy street venders, and children that look like chimney sweeps. The streets are narrow and crowded. Although Sherlock doesn’t wear the traditional deerstalker cap and inverness cape he does capture the mystique that has caught the imagination of readers for a hundred years. Robert Downey Jr. deduces his way through the film with his trusty Dr. Watson at his side. It’s a fast and exciting ride and you don’t want to blink because there’s a test at the end, no kidding.

There are a series of seemingly unexplainable events that Holmes and Watson battle their way through. It all begins when the evil Lord Blackwood is hung and Dr. Watson is called in to ascertain that he is indeed dead. From the moment that Blackwood rises from the grave event after event occur that seem supernatural. Holmes, of course doesn’t believe in magic. The Trick is for you the viewer to figure out  how these events happened without assist from the supernatural. So, your task is to solve the supernatural puzzle. It’s all revealed at the end. For those of you that like the good fight scene there are a number of well choreographed fights starting with the one in the opening scenes. But these are unique to the times, 1890s, and are set up in Holmes head first. You’ll see what I mean. The way they are done you really get a sense of the fight. Dr. Watson holds his own and uses a sword cane.

Basically, the story line holds up well, and although not all the traditional Holmes effects are present most of them sneak in. If you read much Holmes you’ll know that Doyle went back and forth with Watson’s war wound from the Bore war. In some of his writings he has Watson limping from the gun shot to the leg. Yet in another Doyle might have Watson with an achy shoulder from the gun shot there. Watch close and see if you can determine which wound Jude Law portrays. And what’s that shooting that Holmes is doing in 221b. But, and this is a big but The Chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. is easily as good as that between Doyle’s Holmes and Watson. Plus the wife that Watson wants to marry has the same name as Watson’s second wife in the books.

Sherlock Holmes is 2 hours and fifteen minutes long but unlike some other movies of the same length you get the feeling that it had to be that long to get in the entire plot, and hey, you don’t have to wear any special glasses to take in all the special effects.

Note about Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and their roles; Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. Downey was visiting Joel Silver’s offices with his wife producer Susan Downey, when he learned about the project. Ritchie initially felt Downey was too old for the role because he wanted the film to show a younger Holmes on a learning curve like Batman Begins. Ritchie decided to take a chance on casting him in the role, and Downey told the BBC that “I think me and Guy are well-suited to working together. The more I look into the books, the more fantastic it becomes. Holmes is such a weirdo.” Downey also revealed what his wife had to say: “that when you read the description of the guy — quirky and kind of nuts — it could be a description of me.” Downey intends to focus more on Holmes’s patriotic side and his bohemianism, and felt that his work on Chaplin has prepared him for an English accent. Ritchie feels his accent is “flawless” Both Downey and Ritchie are martial arts enthusiasts, and have been inspired by the Bartitsu mentioned in the 1901 story The Adventure of the Empty House. Downey lost weight for the part, because during a chat he had with Chris Martin, Martin recommended that Holmes look “gaunt” and “skinny”.

Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, Holmes’s ally, a surgeon and a war veteran. Law’s Watson is more like the original character, who was more of a colleague, rather than the bumbling fool that actor Nigel Bruce popularized in the 1930s–40s films. Law previously appeared in the Granada Television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in an episode based on The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place. Being a Holmes fan, Law recognized there was material unexplored in other adaptations and was intrigued by Downey’s casting; Law was cast because he had a positive meeting with Downey and concurred the film would have to explore Holmes and Watson’s friendship. Downey believed by emphasizing Watson’s qualities as a former soldier, a doctor, a womaniser and a gambler, it would make for a more interesting foil for Holmes. Law made a notebook of phrases from the stories to improvise into his dialogue. Ritchie originally envisioned Russell Crowe in the role. And there you have it, I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD and I can watch it over and over for the special details.