Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sherlock Holmes DVD Review

I have followed this movie for a while and was eager to see this at the cinema but never got round to it... and figured I'd get the DVD anyway, I held out, and only now finally watched it! I have to say that perhaps I had way too high an expectation for this that having seen it, left me slightly (JUST SLIGHTLY) disappointed at certain aspects , but overall, was an exciting and explosive film!

I thought the design was a pretty modern take, and features Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Junior) and Watson (Jude Law). It's all a bit skewed to the left, and I'd have liked to see Adler (Rachel McAdams) on the right hand side, which would not only balance the whole thing out, but she is a main character! Nonetheless, this cover is more classical, simple and really, it's such a big film that people just can't avoid regardless of the cover!

The opening scene saw Holmes intrude upon some dark ritual and intervene the slaughter of a woman, leading to the arrest of Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and his "death". But of course, he didn't die! Claiming to be magical and gaining power everyday, Blackwood aims to control fear in order to rule the world, only to be stopped by Sherlock Holmes and Co.

I thought the story was rather slow to start. Between the arrest of Blackwood and his death, there are way too many scenes that just weren't really necessary in my opinion. It didn't aid the story (much) and didn't provide much excitement. However, the characterisation of Sherlock Holmes in these scenes were very strong, and definitely made the character very enjoyable, witty and personal.

Once everything got going, there was a lot of intrigue throughout the film. Firstly, whilst Sherlock Holmes is picking up clues, we as the audience also tries to piece the puzzle together, and personally, there was just so many questions I had, like "How did Blackwood rise from the dead?", "What is the significance of all the symbolism?" and "Who is the hooded person with Adler?"

I was surprised at the vast and numerous amount of occult themes, the conspiracies and the secret society themes and symbols that were dotted throughout, which I recognised but didn't know the details of each one. They were not explained at all, but served their purpose in creating a set and an atmosphere of mysticality. I'm glad they didn't REALLY end with Blackwood being this holistic magical figure; I knew a film like this would not resolve on terms such as magical abilities and resurrection, and thankfully it was all explained logically by Sherlock Holmes at the end.

Apart from the VERY CLEVER deductive abilities of Sherlock Holmes, I rather enjoyed the action packed movie this is. How a detective could pack a punch like that I have no idea, but it aided to the excitement of the movie; I especially liked the way his moves are predetermined and then carried out.

As an obvious franchise, Sherlock Holmes left us with an open end, which is obviously going to be the next movie. What I liked about how they did this was that it wasn't only at the end where they introduce another case, but rather intertwine a character (the hooded figure with Adler) in this movie which nicely leads us to the next. No doubt, I'd be excited to see the next one!!

*I just also have to add how beautiful the sets were, the authenticity of the look of London, and also the costumes. The lead cast were very stylish in every scene and makes me wonder how they could have no rips on their clothes even after all the running and fighting!

Robert Downey Jnr stars as Sherlock Holmes and initially I didn't think he looked the part but as the film progressed, he definitely eased on the eye. Since there are so many action scenes, Downey Jnr could not have been a better fit, and also perhaps why he is made to go topless so many times! Nonetheless, the role is witty which is similar to his pre-existing Iron-man role, but I wish the script was just that much sharper.

Jude Law as Watson looked much more the part, but Watson's romantic entanglement just didn't seem right for this movie... his passion just didn't seem to be with solving cases... but now that he is married, I'm sure we will see more dedication in the next movie!

The female cast is led by Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook), who plays a cheeky and wise Adler, who is obviously Holmes' love interest. However, what I love about the role is that they never just get into a heat of passion like most movies, but the pair are playful and competitive. They have a mutual "love" for each other that comes through their rivalry.

Other cast members include Mark Strong, Hans Matheson, Kelly Reilly and Eddie Marsan.

This DVD has one special feature called "Sherlock Holmes Re-invented" which is an over 10 minute long commentary on re-inventing the character, cast and story of Sherlock Holmes... it is an interesting commentary, appropriate for a classic remake and rebirth of a franchise... but I'd also like to see deleted scenes at the very least!

Despite the slow start of the movie, it did a great job in intriguing the audience through its themes and clues, making us guess along the way as well. There is no doubt an excitement through the action scenes and the explosive quality of it (I especially like the slaughterhouse contraption!). The script could've been much more snappy but there is indeed subtle humour, and with a strong cast of 'flesh baring' Junior, Jude Law and saucy Rachel McAdams, this film is definitely one to watch, along with the numerous sequels to follow.

NOTE: The sequel is penned to be released late 2011.


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