I have been avoiding Guy Ritchie’s newest film for weeks, stewing over the fact that Ritchie took one of the greatest, most sophisticated literary detectives and turned him into a brawling, drinking and (concerning Watson) strangely jealous jackass. Then an idea occurred to me that gave me the freedom to enjoy the film along with everyone else. I simply removed the words Sherlock Homes from the title, and whenever anyone said the names of any character in the film, I replaced them with other names that wouldn’t cause me to become unfairly annoyed. So, plot time: British super detective Sher- Sheldon Hamish parties like a rock star, and solves crime like one, too. Aiding Hamish in his endeavors is BFF and fellow ass kicker, Dr. Winston. Together, the duo crack skulls and exercise mad deduction skills, but when a Lord Blackwood (his name doesn’t need to change, and Mark Strong was better than he needed to be, frankly) claims that he will get the better of Hamish, then cheats death, the team hop on the trail to track down the truth. Oh, yeah, Rachel McAdams is in it playing some sort of love interest to Hamish (what a shame. She’s so great) and, apparently, the only one who can match wits avec the detective. This is the biggest plot hole in this film, mainly due to the fact that Hamish is clearly so in love with Winston that it precludes the chance of him ever loving poor, wasted talent McAdams. Robert Downey Jr. has a ball playing the great detective, as does Jude Law, and for Ritchie, it’s business as usual (which means Lock Stock meets Snatch meets Rocknrolla and they all jump in a time machine). I cannot comment on how the British received Guy Ritchie’s latest opus, but I can speak for myself as a lover of literature and film: what was everyone thinking? I hope they packed you tightly in that coffin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, because after this movie premieres in heaven, I have a feeling you’ll be wanting to get your turn on. Perhaps I’m being too harsh, because there were elements of the film that were definitely in keeping with the classic exploits of detective Holmes. The plot structure, for instance, was very true to the original works of Sir Doyle, as was the deduction prowess of said detective (though in Doyle’s stories, he didn’t use them to Van Damme bad guys). Is it entertaining? Yes, definitely, but watch it with a grain of salt, and if you are a book geek like me, try my name trick, or think of it as homage cinema.
Note: Call it a premonition, but while I was waiting for the film to start, I happened to see the trailer for the Iron Man sequel. Somehow, as I watched Downey Jr. having a blast and Mickey Rourke having a blast (another example of a film not taking itself too seriously, which makes it far more fun to watch than a serious, pseudo-heavy buzzkill of a film like Avatar), I knew, deep down, that this was to be the high point of my movie-going experience today.