“Sherlock” – a TV/Movie Review

8 Jun

Sherlock Holmes in "The Man with the Twis...

Image via Wikipedia

I wouldn’t be that surprised if a lot of people are confused with this title, so let me explain:

A while back, BBC did a series (British for ‘season’, as in TV season) for a TV programme which was based off of Sherlock Holmes, but set it the modern day, aptly named “Sherlock“. I say TV/movie because the series is only three episodes long, but they are an hour and a half in length, each.

Anyways, let’s start with the actual review:

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I haven’t read all the books yet, but I rather enjoy it when I do. Not too many kids are into reading them, or at least not too many that I know, but they are very well written. That being said, I also like watching movies and TV shows, but the problem is that there are a lot of Holmes spin-offs, but a lot of them are not very good. I haven’t watched too many, just because Netflix is a bit limited sometimes. You may have heard about crazy Lord of the Rings fans, who get mad when the movies don’t do justice to the books, and get all psycho and complain a lot.

Well…

I’m a bit like that when it comes to Sherlock Holmes.

Now, I’m not all crazy about it staying EXACTLY the same as the books. I don’t mind when they deviate a little, or when they even make up their own story lines. Whatever, I get that it can be hard to stick to something. My problem is the acting and the writing. My biggest beefs:

Sherlock Holmes (2009 film)

Playboy genius superhero? Yes. Amazing detective who has some social problems? No.

  1. Sherlock (actor): Most of the time, you don’t get a very good actor playing Sherlock Holmes.* I’ve watched a few movies and TV stuff, and it seems pretty hit-and-miss. It is the biggest turn off for me when I see a picture of whoever’s supposed to be Holmes looking completely unlike the original character! Prime example: Robert Downey Jr. I liked him (as much as you could like him) in Iron Man, because he really fit the part. When I saw posters for the Sherlock Holmes movie, however, I knew it was not his character. I will admit that I did not see the movie. It just didn’t look like something I would like. I was pretty sure it was going to a butchered, sigh-worthy portrayal of the books.
  2. Sherlock (writing): I watched a movie version of “Hound of the Baskervilles” not too long ago. The actor who played Holmes was cringe-worthy enough, but the writing was pretty horrid as well. It completely ignored how the original Holmes was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! Very annoying factor that you unfortunately cannot foresee, and only realize once you start watching. I especially hate it when they make Holmes a lady-killer. He’s a withdrawn, odd, rather emotion-less man who can’t make friends very well in the first place, let alone a girlfriend.
  3. Overall Writing: Outside of problems with Sherlock, my biggest peeve is when they totally butcher the story. You can waiver a bit off the original, sure. I don’t even care if you totally make up a new story line, but keep it so that it matches the style. I also don’t like it when they rush through the story. The books are generally not very fast-moving books. And when you try to condense something slow-moving while not upping the pace, it just gets weird and hard to follow. If you think you can improve the story so it works better with whatever medium you’re using by either adding in things of your own making or from other Holmes stories, go ahead. I get that you really can’t do all the stories word-for-word, line-for-line. But if you do make changes, make them ones that Sir Doyle himself wouldn’t mind, or might actually enjoy.
  4. Watson: Watson is not a high priority on my list to be frank. Sure, the books are told through him, but I give movies and TV more wiggle room with Watson than I do Holmes. Nigel Bruce was alright at playing him. I thought that he did a good job. Looking back, perhaps if he was a little less over-the-top goofy, I’d have been a little happier, but whatever; it was the 1940s and Basil Rathbone‘s Holmes makes up for my little issues with Watson. However, I look at that movie poster next to me and think that Watson looks more like a villain who’s holding young women in his basement for ransom rather than the former-Afghanistan medic who’s the gluey-friend that keeps Holmes from completely falling apart, while still maintaining a good business and a, for lack of a better word, cute marriage with Mary Watson.

*The two exceptions I have found to this rule are Basil Rathbone and Benedict Cumberbatch. Both of them play a very different Holmes, but they are both excellent actors and very enjoyable to watch.

 

Photograph of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holme...

Original Holmes. One of the best.

 

So,  four things. Seems easy enough, right? Not quite. I found that Basil Rathbone’s Holmes movies all got 3.5/4, just because Watson could be at times a bit too goofy. Basil Rathbone is one of my all time favorite actors and is just an amazing Holmes. For some 1940s black and white films, they really do the books justice. I didn’t think I’d ever find anything like them.

 

Until I watched “Sherlock”!

 

Most of the time Holmes movies and TV adaptations are taken out of their original, late 1800s habitat and dropped into the modern world. This can be at times a bit odd, and even a turn-off. Basil Rathbone’s Holmes was set in the 1930s/40s, which I didn’t mind too much. Seeing Holmes fool some Nazis was fun, I have to admit. But, imagining Holmes in the modern world of the 2000s seemed a bit scary. But, I had heard very good things about it and still wanted to see it.

 

After watching all three episodes and mulling them over, I really have found that I quite enjoyed them. One of the writers for it is Stephen Moffet, who I absolutely adore. He’s written the latest two season of Doctor Who, some of the best writing in the entire series’ history, if you ask me. I was quite excited when I saw his name up on the opening credits.

 

 

 

The Predecessor. Lookin' good.

Benedict Cumberbatch did a great Holmes, but all-together different from Basil Rathbone’s interpretations. This Holmes

is a bit darker and a little less social. Of course, keep in mind, so was the original. I say darker, but I really don’t mean all that much darker. I think it was just something that came along with being moved into the 21st century; I’m sure that in contrast to the upright, polite Britain of the 19th century, Holmes truly was the bohemian he was described as, and was viewed as strange and darker. But as society has moved on and embraced less-polite behavior, the character had to be tweaked a bit to maintain that ratio between Holmes and the rest of us. They’ve replaced him smoking habits (And I think his opium and other drug habits) with Nicotine patches; good move I say. I couldn’t see Holmes smoking a Camel and pondering the Red-Headed league, and I admit a pipe might be out of place in 21st century London. He doesn’t quite look like the way I always imagined Holmes, but he’s over six feet and he has a really cool name like his predecessor Basil Rathbone, so that’s got to count for something. On a personal note, I think he’s kind of cute. Not the character, because Holmes is a bit odd, but Benedict Cumberbatch. Seriously.

 

Anyways.

 

 

On Location 3f

Different, but good.

Martin Freeman, who plays Watson, does a good but all-together totally different Watson than I’ve ever seen. Unlike the usual fat-and-jolly Watsons you see, he plays a thin, good-looking Watson with an interesting past in the Afghan war (Funny how it all works out, huh? War then, war now). He’s thought to have Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder, after being shot i n the field and having a limp, but it’s later shown to be psychosomatic (he doesn’t actually have a limp, his brain just thinks he has one). He strikes me as more scared of Holmes than he was in the books, but then again, Holmes is a bit darker and scarier.  I like the fact that he doesn’t just acquiesce to everything, but points out Sherlock’s short-comings (mainly in the emotion department) and behaves like a quazi-normal human-being, trying to make friends and maintain a good relationship with his girlfriend, in stark contrast to the rather-inhuman Holmes. (Don’t even get me started on Watson’s girlfriend. I have a theory about that. But, moving along.)

 

As a side-note, the scenery is awesome and the music is interesting. They pull a lot of cool stuff off without special effects and the show never looks cheesy. I also adore the fact that the living room in Holmes’ house is set up a lot like the book’s illustrations and the one in the time of Rathbone: the big fireplace in the middle with some windows beside it and chairs and the like surrounding it.

 

The story-lines are often cherry-picked from several Holmes stories; a main idea from one, a few minor bits from several other stories, and a dash of new things, along with the modernization. Watson, instead of publishing his adventures with Holmes like in the books, maintains a blog, as does Sherlock. (I think. I might be wrong but that’s how it seemed.) There’s lots of other stuff that would be too boring to go into, so just watch the show.

 

My complaints with the show are very few. I think Sherlock is made a little too out-there sometimes, and most of the police officers are just kind of mean and spiteful towards him. I understand this, but I think you should have some who are nice to him. The only other thing that gets me is they make so many jokes about Watson and Holmes being a couple. They’re not, and it’s always like “Oh are you two together?” “Oh no no no!” Watson has a girlfriend. Holmes just…fails with girls. So badly it’s funny. (He tried flirting with one girl who works in the morgue so he could look over a body and it was really rather funny.) It’s not canon. I realize that yes, if two guys are walking around and sharing an apartment, that unfortunately in modern society unnecessary eyebrows are raised. I also know, however, that the BBC is prone to doing that. Look at David Tennant’s time on Doctor Who. Russel T. Davies seemed to live off of those jokes. In “Sherlock”, they over-do it so much, that it not only gets repetitive, it gets predictable and dull. It’s like in a Disney movie, when all of the sudden the scene either gets brighter or dimmer, and the music suddenly changes; you can tell a song’s about to start. Except it’s a Holmes x Watson joke.

 

Other than that though, it’s a great show. I really do love it! I hear they are currently filming, and I can’t wait for it to get out onto Netflix in the US.

 

Overall rating: 9.8/10

A well-executed show based off some great, classic books. They are exciting and scary in a good way, like the Sixth Sense was. The shows take interesting turns and will surprise you, especially “The Great Game”. The acting, writing, and almost everything is superb. Cut down on the swishy jokes and you’d get a 10/10.

 

 

Advertisements

3 Responses to ““Sherlock” – a TV/Movie Review”

  1. Blue June 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    You should review “The Great Mouse Detective.”

    • smlaarg June 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      I love that movie! It is so cute!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Deal Grater » Sea Spa Pedicure and Spa Manicure - June 11, 2011

    […] “Sherlock” – a TV/Movie Review […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: