Friday, February 05, 2010

Visit to London

…at least on the big screen. I’ve been to the movies yesterday, watching the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie. And I do not regret a single cent I spent for it, seriously.

The new movie isn’t based on any of the original stories (but there’s a long tradition of that when it comes to Sherlock Holmes), but it nevertheless has a very interesting story that is told in marvellous pictures. From the very beginning, the story has a drive and lots of action.

But, unlike some other movies with a lot of action and marvellous pictures, the new Sherlock Holmes actually has a very interesting story to fill it all out. There’s fighting (a lot of it and usually close quarter combat), there are explosions, there are people risking their lives (and others suddenly ‘coming back’…), but there’s also a great mystery behind it all.

There are mysterious, maybe even supernatural things happening in London – and simply arresting the guy behind it all (or even hanging him) doesn’t stop it. (The catching and hanging happens, I would guess, within the first thirty minutes or so of the movie. The movie actually starts with the catching of the dangerous and mysterious Lord Blackwood.)

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Holmes does have quite different problems, as Watson has found a nice woman he wants to marry. (That part is, almost, completely within the traditional lore when it comes to Sherlock Holmes. Watson marries Mary Morstan whom he meets – unlike in the new movie – when she comes to consult Sherlock Holmes.) And Holmes doesn’t like the idea of it one bit (which will probably fire up the good old “Sherlock Holmes”-slash section on any fanfiction page) and does everything within his powers to prevent it from happening.

At the same time, though, an old flame appears again in his own life – Irene Adler, the only woman whose mind and resourcefulness is equal to his. In Doyle’s work, Irene Adler only appears once, in “A Scandal in Bohemia”, one of the earliest stories ever published. In movies, though, the only woman Holmes could fall for has played an important role before. She makes a wonderful opponent (together with Professor Moriarty who – surprise! – also appears) and in this movie quite a good cure for his problems with Watson (or rather his fiancé), too. Miss Adler surely isn’t one of your usual helpless females, either…

But she’s not the real adversary here, that’s Lord Blackwood, a man with powers beyond human knowledge (or so he claims). A dangerous man with great resources and a very clear vision of the future – in which the good old Empire comes back to life (including the United States, of course).

I was really caught in the story and love to think about the details again while I write this. A good sign for a movie. There’s quite a bit of humour there, too, a great balance to the action and the murders (oh, come on, a “Sherlock Holmes” movie without any corpses?). A lot of it stems from interactions between Holmes and Watson and Holmes and Adler. Let’s say some of it leads to a very bad awakening and a maid getting hysterics. (But the cushion has been placed very well, indeed.)

As someone who has read almost all “Sherlock Holmes” stories throughout her life (starting at the age of ten or so), I could recognize a lot of small details that had been taken from this or that story. This shows me the screenplay writer actually did a good job and quite some research before writing the script. Story itself, however, is original and not just put together from a lot of other stories.

So, would I recommend the movie to anyone else? Definitely. And you don’t even have to know anything about Mr. Holmes beforehand. Isn’t that nice?

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