Friday, January 6, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I really don't know why I should be writing a review about this film. They always say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." But if Thomas Paine had lived up to that adage, where would this country be today? I also believe that this is a very popular movie, everybody likes it, it's just not my kind of film. But in my defense, I've been pretty flexible. I enjoyed suspending belief for Cowboys and Aliens. Even the first Sherlock Holmes (2009) was bearable because of its inventiveness. There aren't very many film genres which I wholly dislike. Unless you want to start a genre called the "rotten-Hollywood-film-adaptions-of-good-books" genre.

It seemed like, for most of this movie, we were watching a lot of movement, but little action. There was a lot of dialogue, but very little was said. Everything was so fast-paced and flashy that the audience was too lost to even realized it was confused. There would be some fast exchange between Holmes and Watson, and we're so impressed by the style of their banter that we never stop to ask, "Okay, so what's the plan again?" The film takes us places when we don't even know where or why we're going. There are fight scenes when we don't know who we're fighting or why, or even why we care!

The Sherlock Holmes I know is not as out-going as Robert Downing , Jr.'s portrayal. I think even the last Sherlock Holmes captured him a bit more accurately. And, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure Watson doesn't get married until much later. And when did Sherlock Holmes ever have anything to do with keeping world order? And who was that chick who was running around with them, and why was she there? And since when are Holmes and Moriarty on speaking terms? And I know Holmes was a boxing champ, but how often did he get into street brawls? Certainly not every other scene. He had so much more class than that. And he was certainly had a lot higher standards of personal hygiene. Why was he unshaven for the whole film? And what time period are we supposed to be in, remind me? They repeated the year a number of times, but I don't remember Holmes and Watson ever driving around in an automobile. They most definitely never had automatic repeater weapons!  And they keep talking about a huge European conflict, but WWI is ages away. Are they talking about the Franco-Prussian War? Nobody knows anything about what happened then, except the French.

Sometimes, the film would take its sweet time explaining things in the story. They'd explain something and I would think, "Thanks for telling me now why I was supposed to care about ten minutes ago!" The whole first half of the movie, Holmes was being peculiar just for the sake of it, not because any of his peculiarities had anything to do with the thrust of the plot.

Stephen Fry as Mycroft
So, can I think of anything positive to say about this film? Hm. It looked pretty good for the most part, though the sets, scenery, background, etc. seemed really busy and dirty all the time - but not in an effective way. The scene when they're running through the woods getting shot at in slow motion was kind of cool, but I don't know what the point of it was, nor why it was so drawn out.

I did love love LOVE seeing Stephen Fry as Mycroft! He was soooo funny! But I don't think anybody in the theatre I was in knew that they were supposed to laugh basically every time he came on the screen. I did - nearly gave myself a hernia.

In summation, I think most everybody will go to this movie and love it and think it's the best thing ever and quote it forever. But I think they're stupid. This film lacks substance. It is void of any ingenuity, cleverness, innovation beyond what we already saw in the first one. Frankly, I think audiences are getting wise to the muck that Hollywood is turning out. But too many people are willing to pay for that muck, and what I'm learning is that box office numbers literally govern the decision-making process in Hollywood, and that is very discouraging.

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