They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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The Wild Wild West End Of London

Living In A Snow Globe

Coming back from the movies today, when we hit the Ottawa County line the light snow turned into bigger flakes. By the time we got home it looked, as mentioned above, like the inside of a snow globe. Shaken, not stirred.

They threatened us with icy roads on Christmas, so I'm not sure how many people went out on Christmas Day. But given that today is The Day After Christmas, also known as Boxing Day, as well as a Saturday, no way was I going to Rivertown Crossings Mall or any mall to see a movie. The drive out to East Beltline was a bit slippery -- but that didn't stop some idiot in a 4WD Yukon for deciding that much-faster-than-70mph in the slushy left-hand lane was fine on a day like today.

Huge lines for tickets at this 18-screen-plus-IMAX multiplex, even at 11:15am. Sign up stating that all seats all day were sold out for Avatar in IMAX 3D. That's okay, we've seen that already. Today was...

Sherlock Holmes [PG-13] 130 minutes
Celebration North Theatre #14, 11:15am, 2×$7

This isn't your Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes and it certainly isn't the clean, Victorian nostalgic Sherlock Holmes of the amazing Jeremy Brett from PBS. This is a dark, gritty, dirty London -- very steampunk and possibly a good background of a more real Victorian London. If you think it's depressing, though, Robert Downey, Jr.'s Holmes loves the vitality and progress of this age of iron and steel.

The trailers showed Holmes in a rough boxing match. Very Victorian. In fact, nihilistic_kid Nick Mamatas, who hates this movie, wrote a piece for Clarkesworld about bartitsu, a Victorian era mixed martial arts form which sounds like it was loosely adapted for this movie.

As a character, this Holmes is more of a mess than earlier incarnations. Jeremy Brett was brilliant and fastidious. Downey is genius and calculatingly absentminded. But we expect Holmes to be off the end of the Bell Curve -- it's Jude Law's Dr. Watson who is the biggest change. One that certainly suits this Holmes, mind you, but this is not the somewhat overweight bumbler of the 1930s movies or the honest student of Holmes in the Brett series. They've gone a la carte with which of Holme's affectations to include. So we get the shooting of a VR (Victoria Regina) in the walls of 221-B Baker Street, but not the deerstalker hat or Meerschaum pipe. (We were amused by the credits which stated something along the lines that no one involved in the movie took any money from tobacco companies for the smoking shown in the film.)

Thank God this isn't an origin story. We are in the middle of Holmes' career -- his relationships with Watson and Inspector Lestrade are well established, and Watson is in the process of moving out in order to get married. But of course you can't have Downey without an interest of his own, so we get an Irene Adler -- Mrs. Dr. Phil feels she is closer to the woman shown in the post-Doyle The Beekeeper's Apprentice series by Laurie R. King. And as I recall we never see Dr. Watson's wife in the Doyle canon, but this woman isn't around enough to decide whether she fits this Watson or any Watson. It's the actress who does Adler who gets top billing with Downey, Law and the guy who plays the villain.

No spoilers about the story, except it is not part of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle canon by a long shot. A bit too steampunkish slash 21st century-ish for me, but it was a fun romp. The composited backgrounds are very busy and possibly evocative of Victorian London, but the overall effect is nowhere near the realism of the world of Avatar -- you know you're in a movie and its dark look seems more like bad Harry Potter than good steampunk Victorian. Still, I'll be happy to see more of this, but it won't take one iota of a pinch of the enjoyment out of seeing the Jeremy Brett series or re-reading the originals.

The music score immediately brought The Wild, Wild West to mind yet again and even if you don't normally, do stay for at least the artistic part of the credits. They, too, are reminiscent of some TV show we never saw. (grin)

Recommended, But Not For Holmes Purists

Trailers: Bunch of trailers today, including a humorous Bruce Willis cop flick. Not one but two Nicolas Cage with long shaggy hair movies -- Season of the Witch involves Knights Templar(?) or at least Crusaders and witches(?) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice is coming out of Disney, but isn't the Mickey version. (grin) Strange looking flick, Inception, with Leo DiCaprio as someone who steals ideas, literally. And of course, Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man 2.

Dr. Phil
Tags: movies, reviews, steampunk, weather, west michigan

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