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No. 395, December 27, 2009

Sherlock Holmes: A Review
By Don Hobbs

There has been much speculation and hype surrounding Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes among Sherlockians and non-Sherlockians alike. We have a long tradition at our house of going to see a film on Christmas Day and since this film was released on Christmas Day it seemed like a perfect fit and fix.  After opening presents and eating Christmas Stollen, we piled in the family estate wagon and headed to the motion-picture theater. It seems that our hero generated much interest because the film was showing on several screens, all with digital sound. The multitudes were there as the movie was sold out and (gasp) we were all asked to move in closer together, leaving no seat empty. The popcorn was even sold in a Sherlockian bag! (Yes, we bought it, ate it and saved the "official" bag-it is ephemera after all.)

I was pleasantly surprised at the film after reading and hearing so much leading up to its release. I am not sure what I expected but I was pulled into the aura of London in the late 1880's.  The Pool of London was not the best place in town during the construction of the Tower Bridge and Mr. Ritchie certainly portrayed it as such. I felt that I was actually there as I watched the action unfold. And action there was, for this is certainly an action film first and Sherlock Holmes mystery second.

I thought the dynamics between Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, respectively) were flawless. I did not sense any of the homosexual tendencies that had been suggested before the film's release. Maybe there are some homo-phobic movie critics or Sherlockians out there who conjure up such ideas and these are the same people who suggest the same about Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. I found the storyline to be a bit hazy at times but fun all the same. There was plenty of interest in the occult during this time. It was the time of Aleister Crowley and Harry Houdini. True to the Canon, Holmes never believed in it.

Those wanting to bash the film for its non-Canonicalness have a legitimate complaint but there has never been a pure Canonical film. The blog market can have a field day with films like this because Canonical interpretation is an individual thing and I wish more people would relax and enjoy the film for it's own merit and that alone. I enjoyed the movie as a grand romp through London at the time of the construction of Tower Bridge that happened to also feature Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Irene Adler. It was fun to hear the audience as they laughed at appropriate times.  It held my attention and swept me away from reality for 2:14 and also left the door wide open for a sequel.  Leaving the theater it was fun to see the next group of moviegoers lined up as if waiting for an amusement park ride.

I have heard Downey's Holmes described as an ill-kempt midget, which by the way is not too far off of the mark. However, it will be interesting to see if the next person to portray Holmes will be compared to Downey as Brett was to Rathbone and he to Gillette. As Sherlockians, we should be thankful that there is such a grand character to work with. I simply look forward to the next installment and hope you will too.

Happy collecting!!


Archives for
2002 to 2008

Past 2009 Columns

January 4, 2009
Sherlockian Potpourri

January 11, 2009
Sherlocking in NYC

January 18, 2009
UNESCO Translation Index

January 25, 2009
This Week in My Sherlockian History

February 2, 2009
Sherlock's Last Case: A Review

February 8, 2009
More Sherlockian Potpourri

February 15, 2009
I'm A Star

February 22, 2009
Six Degrees of Sherlockian Separation

March 1 , 2009
The Sherlock Files: The 100-Year-Old Secret, A Review

March 8, 2009
The Adventures of a Foreign Book Collector

March 15, 2009
The Reduced Canon

March 22, 2009
The New Norwood Builder

March 29, 2009
Canonical Illustrator Ugo Matania

April 5 , 2009
History Repeats Itself

April 12 , 2009
Chinese Graphic Novels

April 19, 2009
Adventures in Espanola

April 26, 2009
Dust and Shadow:
An Account of the
Ripper Killings
by Dr. John H. Watson:

A Review

May 3, 2009
Sherlockian Potpourri

May 10, 2009
Sherlocking in Boston

May 17, 2009
Fun With Foreign Language

May 24, 2009
Sherlockian License Plates

May 31, 2009
Sherlocking In Arkansas

June 7, 2009
The Language of Bees:
A Review

June 14, 2009
K.K.K. and Sherlock Holmes

June 21, 2009
The Shadow of the Reichenbach Falls: A Review

June 28, 2009
Sherlocking in Japanese

July 5, 2009
International Rape and Pillage

July 12, 2009
Sherlocking in Flower Mound

July 19, 2009
Seventy-eighth Addition

July 26, 2009
The Vicarious Sherlockian

August 2, 2009
Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood: A Review

August 9, 2009
Sherlocking on Long Island and Points Beyond

August 16, 2009
The Crack In The Lens: A Review

August 23, 2009
Sherlockian Potpourri

August 30, 2009
Thank God For Backups!

September 6, 2009
Sherlocking in Bandera, Texas

September 13, 2009
Sherlocking with the C.C.O.B.

September 20, 2009
The Galactic Sherlock Holmes 9.10

September 27, 2009
Sherlocking in Toronto, Part One

October 4, 2009
Sherlocking in Toronto, Part Two, Eh!

October 11, 2009
Sherlocking in Canada, Eh Eh Eh!

October 18, 2009
Sherlocking in th Pacific Northwest

October 25, 2009
Sherlocking in Azerbaijan

November 1 , 2009
Something in the Air

November 8, 2009
Sherlockingn in Hawaii

November 15, 2009
There's Always Another Library Project

November 22, 2009
Sherlock Holmes in Comics

November 29, 2009
It's A Small World Vs. Six Degrees of Sherlockian Separation

December 6, 2009
Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian, Oh My!

December 13, 2009
Sherlocking in Binghamton, New York

December 20, 2009
Sherlocking at Christmas TIme

December 27, 2009
Sherlock Holmes: A Review