Sunday, August 1, 2010

Robert Downey, Jr. Ouevre #10 - Sherlock Holmes

It took five months but I finally watched another Robert Downey, Jr. movie. Sherlock Holmes was the movie that sort of inspired me to want and do this whole project. When it came out in theatres last winter, it held appeal to me. I started to have some doubts as I heard reviews that there was little resemblance between the movie and the short stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that I have enjoyed so greatly (and yes, I appreciate the hypocrisy of me liking Sherlock Holmes stories but bashing formulaic novelists. I counter with three things. One, a short story takes far less time to read than a 450 page "novel". Two, there are not a lot of decent short story writers around nowadays. At least not like in days of yore. Three, Doyle was writing for syndication. His stories were published in magazines and were designed to be short and formulaic. I don't know the reason for cranking out novel after novel of the same thing outside of making a buck), I began to be a bit concerned.

One of the things we tried to do this summer for the internship was to have a baseball movie night every Tuesday. It had mixed success and near the end (I write this during week 9 of 10), few people were attending. We were to watch Bull Durham but for some reason, the movie was a no-show. The guy coordinating the movies had some non-baseball flicks and since I was the only one who had shown up, I got to pick and I went with Sherlock Holmes.

In theory, I should have enjoyed this movie. Robert Downey, Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie directing and Hans Zimmer doing the soundtrack. Somehow the sum of the parts equaled something far less. The movie really had little to do with Sherlock Holmes. If you called it Myron Stoltzfus, it wouldn't change the story at all. Downey was solidly average. He could have done so much more with the part but it wasn't there. There were obvious Guy Ritchie traits to the flick. The bare-knuckled fighting with the whooshes and the zooms. The weaving of the different storylines. It all felt hamohocked and poorly done, though. And the Zimmer soundtrack, good googly moogly. If this isn't the worst soundtrack he's done, I don't know what is. The instrumentation had nothing to do with the tone of the movie, the style of the flick, or the era in which it took place. I could almost hear Christopher Walken yelling "More banjo!". Just awful.

The story was largely illogical. There were a bunch of things that weren't explained and some of the things that Holmes "figures out" are pretty darn outlandish.

I've certainly seen worse Robert Downey, Jr. movies but I've certainly seen better.



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