I’m certain I’ll talk about Sherlock Holmes on New Soundwave 012 this coming week but I wanted to briefly hit on the movie.
When I heard that Robert Downey Jr. was to play Sherlock Holmes I was immediately excited. The prospect of Downey (who brought a mercurial energy to Iron Man—imagine how dead-eyed Tony Stark would’ve been had Tom Cruise landed the role as long rumored) really brought interest to the new movie. With Guy Ritchie directing, I figured the movie was guaranteed to be great.
I guess I was wrong.
Don’t get me wrong. It was okay but it fell short of the fine interpretation of Holmes that we’ve had on television for the last six years. House M.D.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I realized that the Bryan Singer-Hugh Laurie TV series was based on Sherlock Holmes (thanks, Dusty) but it certainly is. While the cast and basic premise is different the characters of Holmes and Watson are portrayed in a medical setting by House and Wilson. House is gifted with Holmes’s brilliance and cursed with his faults.
Trying to compare a two hour movie to a TV series in its sixth season seems unfair but Laurie’s portrayal of a self-tortured genius is what drives the show each week. Sharp writing doesn’t hurt either but the show is a vehicle for Laurie and we watch it already knowing the outcome of the episode. House will solve the mystery, piss off his co-workers and shuffle ever closer to discovering his own humanity.
It seems that House has co-opted the conversation but that’s because there isn’t a lot to say about the movie itself. Downey and Law are fairly strong in their interpretations of Holmes and the good Doctor Watson but there is lacking a drive in the film. Any well-paced, interesting movie carries the viewer from start to finish as a ferry carries its passenger from shore to shore. I felt that I had to drudge alongside the movie as it made its paces from start to finish. The plot was standard-fare, the cinematography fine and the general backdrop acceptable but given the movie’s pedigree, I expected more.
Hopefully the movie will earn enough money to warrant a sequel as the Moriarty bits added in after the primary filming all but mandate a sequel be made. I’m fairly confident that a second stab at the Conan Doyle-inspired world will be more fully realized than this one.