Sherlock Holmes is a frustrating character for fans of the original works, and mainly because most everything about the character is lost in translation. What usually remains is only a smug genius who looks people over and instantly knows that their mother was immigrant from Indonesia because of the way they manicure their nails. This is probably because reworking the story for film or television means we’re focusing on the case, and little else. Gone are the truly intriguing bits of the character… like the days and weeks of drugged stupor between cases.
Guy Ritchie‘s Holmes still leans heavily on the case at hand, opting for perhaps one or two more twists than necessary, but the character comes through, even if it isn’t the Holmes we know.
We enter the story with Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) wrapping up a case which has involved the murder of several young women, and they show up just in time to save another from meeting the same fate. Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is behind the deeds, and after he’s sentenced to hang, Holmes and Watson put the case behind them. That there were strange occult goings-on involved is interesting, but it’s all over now.
Meanwhile, Holmes and Watson are having something of a relationship crisis, because Watson is engaged and moving out of Baker Street. The pair obviously lock horns frequently, largely a result of Holmes’ self-centered nature (or at least, appearance), and his lack of general social skills.
Before long, Holmes receives an odd visit from his past by way of one Ms. Adler (Rachel McAdams), a criminal with a very close connection to Holmes. She attempts to hire Holmes to find a missing person, and when that investigation seems tied together with Lord Blackwood’s claim that he is going to return from the grave… well, the game’s afoot.
There is something to annoy every form of purist with this admitted “Holmes for a new generation,” but the update takes, and the banter and action make for an entertaining mix. Something about the overall development of the case is a little off-putting, and while the conclusion brings things together in a way that makes up for it, it doesn’t change the fact that you spent much of the film with a certain chip on your shoulder. Still, it’s a small point really, and the fun, action, and character interplay overcome whatever nagging little detriment it may be.
What’s truly interesting about this reinvention of Sherlock Holmes is that the character has more or less come full circle. Here, we have to hip the character up with fights, explosions, and off-beat scenarios, because the Holmes of the public eye is a stuffy, snooty guy in show’s for old people. Wide swaths of the target audience are apparently unaware that he was unhipped to a great degree to get there. Not so many explosions, perhaps, but nonetheless.
Like other worthy Holmesian efforts of recent times (The Zero Effect and From Hell, though neither make any claims on the name), the film is a good deal more about Holmes than the case he happens to be working on, though this one naturally has a lot more Ritchie-esque Zing and Pow about it.
The standard edition DVD unfortunately has only the featurette Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented to help sell you. It’s actually quite a nice bonus, and gives you a fairly in-depth account of how Ritchie and Downey Jr. went about recreating the character into something for a new time and audience, while trying to hold onto long-time fans. There’s some great stuff here, including a good bit on Downey Jr.’s preparation for the role.
What makes this unfortunate is that the Blu-Ray edition is pretty loaded, and includes a lot of very interesting features.
The Blu-Ray includes –
– “Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented”
– Maximum Movie Mode
– Director Walk-Ons
– 8 Focus Points
– 60 mins of PIP
– Still Galleries
– Storyboard Comparisons
– SD Feature Film
– Digital Copy on Disc
A super special bonus that is also only available if you run out and grab the Blu-Ray quick is a Live Community Screening (LCS) with Robert Downey Jr.
Watch the mystery unfold live with Robert Downey, Jr. during a Live Community Screening of Sherlock Holmes on April 1st at 9pm EST exclusively on the Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray disc. For event details and to sign up, go to www.SherlockHolmesBlurayEvent.com/
Check out this cool rundown of the Blu-Ray, which includes info on the LCS below –
Watch and listen as Robert Downey, Jr. answers questions about the reinvention of the classic master sleuth during an audio-enabled Live Community Screening (LCS) exclusive to owners of the Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray Combo Pack. Star Robert Downey, Jr. will answer questions during the Sherlock Holmes LCS on April 1, 2010, the third Warner Bros. LCS to feature real-time audio to enhance the interactive experience.
The LCS, which showcases the expansive capabilities and interactivity offered with Blu-ray and Warner Bros. BD-Live, will take place on April 1st at 9:00PM EST (6:00PM PST) live from Los Angeles. The LCS will allow users of BD-Live capable Blu-ray players to simultaneously watch the movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and hear an interactive Q&A where fans can submit questions about the blockbuster film, directly from their homes. The LCS will also post questions and answers in text form.
Warner Bros. BD-Live community members who have registered and signed up at the Sherlock Holmes LCS registration page – www.SherlockHolmesBlurayEvent.com – will receive an emailed invitation to participate in the event. WB BD-Live registered users who own the Blu-ray Disc and have signed up for the BD-Live LCS event will be able to insert the disc, connect to WB BD-Live and logon to the LCS at this designated time to participate in this exciting event.
BD-Live is only accessible through a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray Disc™ played on an Internet-connected Blu-ray player (including PlayStation®3) with BD-Live capabilities and sufficient data storage. Please consult your Player Manual or Player Support Website for more information.