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Sherlock Holmes

January 7, 2010

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are instrumental in capturing Lord Blackwell, a murderer who has plans to take over the world.  Blackwell is sentenced to death and mysteriously comes back to life after his hanging.  Sherlock Holmes is enticed into the mystery of Lord Blackwell by Irene Adler and Dr. Watson wants to clear his name since he was the attending physician at the hanging.

Using his highly developed sense of observation, his disguises and his fighting skills, Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery that alludes Scotland Yard.

Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr., was just okay for me.  I knew who Sherlock Holmes was before seeing the movie, but I’ve never read any of the books.  (When I told my mother this after seeing the movie, she was horrified and told me how much she loved Sherlock Holmes when she was growing up.)  I’m not sure if that affected my enjoyment of the movie or not, though.

I think my biggest problem with the movie was the way the story was told.  I had a lot of trouble following the story line, especially at the beginning of the movie.  I’ve tried to figure out which Sherlock Holmes book the movie is based on, and as far as I can tell, it’s not based on any.  The movie just used the well-known characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and weaves a story of black magic and the occult and something about those subjects in 19th century England just didn’t work for me.   For my personal taste, there were too many fight/chase scenes in the movie as well.

That’s not to say that the movie was all bad.  This is a movie you can see with older children.  There was no foul language or sexual scenes and the violence and fighting were tame by today’s standards.  Yes, people died, but there wasn’t a lot of blood and guts.  There were some action scenes that would probably be a little intense for younger family members.

Carl, Vance, and I saw this movie together and Carl liked it the most.  We all thought Jude Law, as Dr. Watson, was the best cast character in the movie.

The ending of the movie left things wide open for a sequel.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2010 6:16 am

    My sister saw it and gave a similar review. She told me to wait for Netflix.

  2. January 7, 2010 6:57 am

    I didn’t hear which story it was based on either, if any. I still want to see it though – I love Robert Downey Jr. I have read Sherlock Holmes, but I’ve heard enough to know it’s going to be different from the book. Your review has lowered my expectations but I still hope it’s fun!

  3. January 7, 2010 6:57 am

    My mom really wants to see this, but I don’t think it looks good at all. lol I feel vindicated by your review! 🙂

  4. January 7, 2010 7:11 am

    I’ve heard Jude Law is fantastic. I love Robert Downey jr and want to see the movie for that reason alone. Probably will wait for netflix!

  5. January 7, 2010 7:24 am

    I’ve heard mixed reviews of this movie as well, and I’ve also heard that it’s not based on any of the Sherlock Holmes books. I’ll probably wait for the DVD. I’m surprised that you haven’t read any Holmes though; they were the joy of my teenage years!

  6. January 7, 2010 7:53 am

    A possible sequel….now surprising! Not…lol

    I am torn about seeing this one. Most reviews I have seen are pretty good but the portrayal seems to be just so far from my reading of Holmes. I have read it all, and never saw him as a possible action hero.

  7. January 7, 2010 7:59 am

    My husband wants to see this but we heard it wasn’t that good. Personally, S.H. never appealed to me.

    Thanks for the movie review.

    • January 7, 2010 8:09 am

      I too have heard the plot is pretty complicated. To me, it sounds like one I need to see at home (so I can keep hitting stop and asking my husband, “now what just happened?!!)

  8. January 7, 2010 8:16 am

    It sounds like, based on what you say here, that it isn’t based on any one story. Irene Adler is a character from A Study of Scarlet. She’s the “one who got away” so to speak. You should read it, it’s a great story. I’m not sure who Lord Blackwell is; I can’t remember him. I love Sherlock! I have Vol 1 and 2 of the Barnes & Noble set and have read Vol 1. All the Sherlock Holmes stories I have read where highly enjoyable.

  9. January 7, 2010 8:23 am

    Thanks for your honest review – I think I’ll wait for Netflix. Sounds like it will be a fun movie to watch at home. I’ve heard that Rachel McAdams is pretty great in the movie and so is Jude Law. The story sounds a bit mixed to me, but I’ve only read a bit of Holmes before, so who knows. Cheers!

  10. January 7, 2010 8:34 am

    As much as I like Sherlock Holmes adventures and love watching Robert Downey Jr act , I think I will wait for the DVD 🙂 Nice review

  11. January 7, 2010 8:48 am

    I’m so glad to read your review. I’d been thinking of going to see this, but the previews didn’t pull me into it. I may go see it…or I may wait for the video. I do like Jude Law.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

  12. January 7, 2010 8:51 am

    I agree with all your comments – except I probably enjoyed it a bit more than you. It had too much action/adventure for my taste, but I liked the way it all came together in the end using deductive reasoning skills.

    I agree, there is most definitely going to be sequel – and I thought the chemistry between RDJ and Jude Law was great.

  13. January 7, 2010 9:13 am

    I’ve read all of the Holmes books, and it’s definitely not based on any particular one. I liked the movie, but you do have to take all the action stuff with a grain of salt. I thought they portrayed Holmes’ “crazy” pretty well… he really did have problems. Moriarty is also his arch-nemesis in the books.

  14. January 7, 2010 9:24 am

    Great review! I really want to watch it, since I love Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. I think I’ll wait for the DVD release though!

  15. January 7, 2010 9:58 am

    I am struggling to imagine Sherlock Holmes in fight scenes. He always seemed to be too dapper for that.

  16. January 7, 2010 10:31 am

    I am really looking forward to seeing this!

  17. January 7, 2010 10:47 am

    I got the distinct impression that this movie was geared toward young men. I’ve never read Sherlock Holmes but from what I know, he wasn’t an action hero! Now my son’s friend makes that point that he was able to be a good fighter because of his smarts and powers of observation but I still contend that Doyle did not intend for Holmes to lay anyone out flat!

  18. January 7, 2010 10:50 am

    Hmm…not sure I want to see this one as I’m not a fan of Robert Downey Jr. I’ve only read one Sherlock Holmes book many many years ago, and I don’t even remember if I liked it!

    –Anna

  19. January 7, 2010 10:56 am

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie. I really loved sherlock holmes, but I don’t think the movie is based upon any of the books. I think this is a re-imagining of the characters, etc. I still hope to see it.

  20. January 7, 2010 12:15 pm

    We were actually on the way to see this movie when I was in IN when my daughter got a stomach ache and we had to go back home. I do like Robert Downey Jr. – he was fabulous in Iron Man. I was a little unsure though, as the reviews were so-so.

  21. January 7, 2010 12:19 pm

    I’m hoping to see this one also…thanks for the movie review!

  22. January 7, 2010 12:48 pm

    Great review! I’ve heard similar things from most people. I still want to see it, but it’s not at the top of my list right now.

  23. January 7, 2010 12:59 pm

    Thanks for your honest review, Kathy. I’m not sure if I’ll see this movie.

  24. January 7, 2010 1:02 pm

    I seem to be a minority here but I loved the movie. I felt it captured the total feel of the Sherlock Holmes books and characters. I don’t normally like car chase and super action movies but it didn’t bother me. (No cars.) All of the scenery, both indoor and outdoor, was absolutely amazing. I wanted to put it on pause and look around some more. I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. I’ll watch it again on dvd and then I can hit the pause button to look around.

  25. January 7, 2010 1:11 pm

    My stepdaughter wants to see this, but we may wait until it is out on DVD. It is kind of funny that it wasn’t based on any of the books in the famous series though!

  26. January 7, 2010 1:18 pm

    Oh man I really want to see this but we’ll probably just wait for it to be on dvd!

  27. January 7, 2010 1:48 pm

    Of course they left the ending open for a sequel, those people in Hollywood are so clever!

    We so rarely go to the movies that I may see this on DVD … in 2012!

  28. January 7, 2010 1:59 pm

    I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories and loved them. I enjoyed the movie, too. One of the best things about it is that now all of the friends of my 16-year-old are asking her if they can borrow our Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 and 2!

  29. January 7, 2010 2:30 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing it just because of Robert Downey Jr LOL!!

  30. January 7, 2010 3:40 pm

    My son loved this one but I’m waiting til it comes out on DVD!

  31. stacybuckeye permalink
    January 7, 2010 3:54 pm

    I felt pretty much the same way about this one. I loved Jude Law as Watson too.

  32. January 7, 2010 4:59 pm

    I also liked Jude Law as Watson. I think he was the best character in the movie. I couldn’t wrap my head around a few things about the movie, but I enjoyed it. I think my honey enjoyed it more than I did too.

  33. January 7, 2010 5:25 pm

    I pretty much agree with your take on this one. It was entertaining, but it took a while to come together for me too. But I’m a Robert Downey Jr. fan, and thought he and Jude Law played off each other well.

    Not necessary to see in theaters, though.

  34. January 7, 2010 5:27 pm

    I liked this one more than I expected to. While I’ve read some of the Sherlock Holmes stories over the years, I’ve never been a huge fan. I was still skeptical of the movie turning him into an action hero, though. I was glad the movie folks left him smart and concerned utmost with fact and reason. And I love Downey, Jr.

  35. January 7, 2010 6:18 pm

    Most of the folks I know how really enjoyed it went in with pretty low expectations. An hour of shirtless Robert Downey Jr. is worth the price of admission, as far as I’m concerned!

  36. January 7, 2010 6:51 pm

    My husband and I are big fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and specifically the television series from the 80’s starring Jeremy Brett. What attracts me to Holmes is his stunning intellect and cavalier personality. Robert Downey, Jr. did a really good job portraying most of Holmes’s characteristics, but I just couldn’t make myself care for the story line of the film. I felt it was a little bit dumbed down and, while that seems to be par for the course in many aspects these days, I still had hopes it wouldn’t be the case in this rendition. It was a fun movie overall; it just didn’t light a spark in my mind the way the books and other films have done.

  37. January 7, 2010 7:11 pm

    I’d like to see this movie but it’s not one I’d run out to see. I rarely get to the movies…will probably watch it when it comes out on DVD.

  38. January 7, 2010 7:53 pm

    I think I read one of the Sherlock Holmes books in middle school but I don’t really remember it. I’m still curious about the movie but I’m honestly not sure if I’ll enjoy it or not.

  39. January 7, 2010 8:01 pm

    Over here, I’ve heard lots of good things about the movie. I’ve only read one Sherlock Holmes book and plans to watch this one.

  40. January 7, 2010 8:25 pm

    I get to go see a movie this weekend (a rare event!) and I was considering this one but so many people have said it wasn’t that great. But I do love Robert Downey Jr. Sounds like it might be better for a rental.

  41. January 7, 2010 8:35 pm

    My coworker mentioned this movie to me yesterday and said it was a good movie. I haven’t read Sherlock Holmes book so I look forward to this movie (as well as the rest of the books).

  42. January 7, 2010 8:42 pm

    This was my family’s Christmas Day movie (followed up by chinese food for dinner, of course). My parents loved it, but I was only eh about it. I’ve never read the books, so maybe something was lost there, I dunno. I liked Jude Law and to a lesser extent Robert Downey Jr in it, but was just not engaged in the plot and felt like the movie dragged.

  43. January 7, 2010 11:27 pm

    My husband is a Holmes fan but when he saw the trailer he said he did not want to watch it and spoil the image he had in his mind. As you said he thought there was too much action in it for a Holmes mystery.

  44. Kathleen permalink
    January 8, 2010 1:05 am

    I really wanted to see this movie but when I found out that Guy Ritchie directed it I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. After your review I feel like I can wait for it to be On Demand and/or on DVD.

  45. January 8, 2010 8:47 am

    I too thought Jude Law was magnificent – he did a wonderful job. He WAS Dr. Watson. I did like Downey, Jr. though too – I actually liked the way that he almost re-defined Sherlock Holmes.

    I’m also fairly sure that this movie wasn’t based upon a Holmes story written by Doyle.

  46. January 8, 2010 9:54 am

    Thanks for this review. I’ve been dithering about whether to rush out and see this one or wait for the DVD. I do like Robert Downey Jr., but I’ve read just about all the Sherlock Holmes stories at one time or another, and Downey really doesn’t fit my image of Holmes at all. So I guess I’m another one who’ll be waiting for the DVD.

  47. January 8, 2010 11:12 am

    I thought it was going to be an excellent movie and was so excited to see it. I dont know why but it didnt hold my attention. Maybe I was just too tired for a movie (it was Christmas day) but I kept wondering how much longer. Loved the actors in the movie… but wasnt impressed with the overall story line.

  48. January 8, 2010 11:56 am

    I saw it last night and left halfway through.

  49. January 8, 2010 12:37 pm

    I’d like to see it in the theater because the action stuff always looks better on the big screen. But I think they did just hijack the characters, then made their own story up.

    I love the scene from the previews where Watson pops him right in the nose, lol… there were times when I read the books that I couldn’t help wondering if Watson wouldn’t have wanted to do just that 😉

  50. January 8, 2010 1:24 pm

    Yeah, it wasn’t based on any of the stories, but for me it was just fun. They weren’t exactly the characters from the series, but they weren’t so far of that there was a total disconnect for me. Of course, I tend to like this kind of action movie in the first place.

  51. January 9, 2010 11:20 am

    I really want to see this movie, Robert Downey Jr is the major draw for me. Although I’m really glad to have read your review so that my expectations won’t be so high.

  52. January 9, 2010 11:27 am

    Not sure if I would like this version of Sherlock Holmes. It seemed very action packed to me, and I just never imagined Holmes quite that way.

  53. January 10, 2010 10:10 am

    Great review 🙂

  54. January 10, 2010 3:46 pm

    I just saw this on Friday, and I liked it! I wasn’t thrilled about the magical aspects, that was the dumbing down part for me, because I wanted it to be a real intellectual exercise that we the audience had to guess at too – but otherwise, everything was really good. I enjoyed Downey as Sherlock – you could feel his boredom because he was so smart and everything so banal around him – predictable – except Watson, who as most of your commentators have said, was excellent as Watson. The secondary characters varied from excellent to stock characters, but on the whole, this was a very good mystery, with some excellent acting and dialogue. Holmes and Watson’s relationship especially I enjoyed.

  55. January 10, 2010 3:46 pm

    I meant, Jude Law as Watson….

  56. January 11, 2010 4:59 pm

    We saw this last night, and although it was very different than what I had been expecting, I really liked it. I think the most fun parts of the movie for me were the bits of snarky exchange between the two protagonists. Like you, I was wondering if this movie was based on one of Conan Doyle’s stories, but my husband assured me it was not. I think I will definitely see the sequel when it comes out. Have you seen Avatar yet? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. It was really amazing to see how far the special effects went, and the story was pretty good too.

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