Elementary, my dear Watson

20 01 2010

Nowadays, it would seem that everybody’s a critic, and although I do not want to be hasty in my judgement, I must admit that I am unsure whether I ‘approve’ of the new Sherlock Holmes film. Perhaps ‘approve’ isn’t the right word; I think it might be more a case of not being able to decide whether I should see it or not, as I already have mixed emotions about the film (casting wise).

Not that I want to jump onto any bandwagon. As the tales of great Mr Holmes and his dear companion Dr Watson has attracted many readers/ ‘followers’ over the years, creating a sort of mass appeal, I feel like I might be disappointed by the film. From the little one can glean from film trailers, it would seem that all that it’s really about is violence, explosions, and all the other stuff that the fast-paced modern world yearns for. It’s a little too typical for me. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy a good action or suspense film, but in my mind, is this truly how readers the world over envision the private detective they have grown up with?

Things can never be quite as elementary as Holmes would inform Watson. Few things ever are.

Now, the word ‘elementary’ has synonyms such as ‘simple’, ‘straightforward’, ‘uncomplicated’ and ‘plain’. Yet readers know that this is hardly ever the case… which is probably why, for the Modern Moviegoer, elements such as the plot, special effects, and an obscenely abundant amount of explosives (or things of the like) need to be present. What fun would it be if things were uncomplicated? Things that are simple and plain are boring, and too close to Real Life (which is supposedly mundane, monotonous, humdrum…) Still, mayhap it is fitting, since what Holmes finds to be so elementary, so clear as day, is often missed by his associates, and quite often the readers, as well.

I was quite delighted when I got wind of the fact that Robert Downey Jr. was to adopt the role of the great master Holmes in the film version. In the snippets I have seen from the film, he is absolutely brilliant (yes, I know that statement is extremely biased/ prejudiced, but hey, reviewers or critics are actually very personal when it comes to what they do or don’t like, even if they try to deny it, so why should I be any different in my personal blog?) Something that does upset me, however, and which might cause me to delay my visit to the cinema, can be summed up in two words:

Jude Law.

I am not a great Jude Law ‘fan’. I’m not going to say that he isn’t a good actor – I enjoyed his performance in THE HOLIDAY, and I also remember that he wasn’t bad in ROAD TO PERDITION. There’s just something about his face that annoys the blooming daylights out of me. Sincerely.

That, and the fact that Dr John Watson is a respectable gentleman of a more advanced age. In other words, Jude law isn’t old enough. He’s too ‘feisty’ in the film – even if the director is trying to spice things up by having Watson be more active and gung ho, it isn’t working for me. And, I sincerely hope, it won’t for other true fans of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Nevertheless, I shall give the film the benefit of the doubt and spend my money on a ticket to the cinema. After all, as Doyle wrote in THE SIGN OF FOUR (a Sherlock Holmes book): “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” So let me not fall prey to my presuppositions – or suspicions, even – and give Mr J. Law a shot before making any further judgements.




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