As Christmas fell on a Sunday, I suppose a lot of people had today off. My first thought was that finally we're free of the tyranny of the mad shoppers. Then seconds before we could see the parking lots along US-31 in Holland, I remembered. Returns, sales and gift cards. Yup, the shopping center lots were dead full. Sigh. At least we had one last outing with our Santa hats. (grin)
I concentrated on the clear blue sky, after a mostly gray Christmas.
We saw the first Sherlock Holmes movie exactly two years ago (DW). It was fun enough we knew that a sequel would be coming.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [PG-13] 129 minutes
Holland 7 Theatre #4 3:30pm, 2×$6.75
It's another steampunk Wild, Wild West ersatz version of Sherlock Holmes, but so help us, we like it. Robert Downey, Jr. is totally brilliant as Holmes, Jude Law is strangely competent as Watson -- and Stephen Fry is suitably over-the-top as Mycroft Holmes.
Inspector Lestrade is barely visible in this movie, but that's understandable. This is not a Holmes series, but in all likelihood just a trio or so of movies. So it's no surprise that we skip over the usual Holmes cases and go straight for the Moriarty. And what a Professor Moriarty -- he's a public figure and not hiding from Holmes. And he's ruthless as well as brilliant.
Mrs. Dr. Phil asked where all this World War I ±20 years or so is coming from in films. Steampunk is one thing. And am I forgiven for thinking the big munitions factory battle smacks of Captain America: The First Avenger?
As before, one wonders about the historical accuracy of 1891 technology -- would Dr. Watson know about chest compressions? Is that mountaintop waterfall real? And did British trains not have automatic air brakes, as American trains did, which would apply the brakes if a train uncoupled? (grin) But of course you can't worry about such things, not in a romp like this. The best piece of tech, though, is a tiltable chess clock. Fun chess game, by the way.
I had forgotten two things from the first movie -- one is the main theme, which seemed familiar enough and turns out is from Two Mules for Sister Sara, a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. No wonder I thought of Westerns like Wild, Wild West and not Victorian in the first movie from the music. And then there's Holmes' pre-visualization of how a fight will evolve before it happens. Sort of reminiscent of the BBC's new Sherlock where they hypertext key sets of clues. Both techniques are meant to show us Holmes' superior intellect.
It's fun to see Holmes still interested in Irene Adler, despite her being a criminal. And Watson is about to be married, so we see a bit of the future Mrs. Watson. A teensy bit of Mrs. Hudson, though we see more of Watson's dog than the housekeeper of 221-B Baker Street, whose legendary address is never once mentioned. Were it not for the gypsy fortuneteller, there'd hardly be any women characters of note in the whole movie, though you can blame the Victorians for being un-PC, methinks.
True Holmes fans knew, of course, how the ending would work. Some things never change. I'll keep this just as last time:
Recommended, But Not For Holmes Purists