On Christmas Day, my sister, her husband, Jeff and I managed to flee the house to see Sherlock Holmes. I recall some brief discussion about seeing Avatar, but that ended when I basically said:
"NO. NO PLANET OF THE BLUE CAT PEOPLE. WANT HOLMES. HOOOOOLLLLMMMEEESSS."
How can you argue with a rational, thoughtful and reasonable argument like that?
Now a little bit on my background: I love mysteries. The Westing House, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and other similar books always interested me. I remember reading Sherlock early as a kid and loving it (as well as the mouse version, Basil of Baker Street). I always liked how Sherlock could figure out things just by observing the small details.
Quick aside: Post-college, when I interviewed for a job selling some ad space (I WAS HUNGRY ALRIGHT?), the man interviewing me said that it was clear that I couldn't see the big picture. I argued that "the small details make up the big picture" -- a line similarly used in the movie.
But I've never been a Sherlock obsessed fan like some other people. I stopped reading Doyle's mysteries awhile ago, after I discovered more hardboiled action like Robert Parker's Spenser, Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski and others. Loving mysteries is in my blood, as far as I can tell -- my father's father translated Mickey Spillane novels into Chinese. But no matter what, in my mind, Sherlock Holmes is like one of the fathers of mysteries. He taught you that the smallest clues help make the big picture more clear.
Anyways, the movie. I really enjoyed it. As a casual Sherlock fan, I liked how Sherlock's mind worked and you saw it (that's always been one frustrating thing for me about Doyle's stories -- it seems like Sherlock was doing the COOLEST stuff with Watson not around, so we would always hear about it second hand). And yes, Sherlock is a badass mofo when it comes to fighting. I remember hearing about him boxing and other ninja detective-fu. It's just that Doyle never dwelled on it, as opposed to the scientific reasoning and observations, so it never lingers in our mind.
Cleolinda put it best with this line (go check it out -- it's a very thoughtful analysis. This blog will still be here):
I liked how Robert Downey Jr. made Sherlock like a mad genius (or as I put it, RDJ was using his drug years as inspiration for some of Sherlock's antics). I liked that Watson wasn't the doddering old uncle that you often see in the movies -- like other details from Doyle, I suspect people forget that Watson was a soldier for awhile and a badass in his own right. I will also confess, I like that Watson was a bit crankier with Holmes. I sometimes wondered why Watson didn't snap at his roomie/bestest buddy for talking down to him sometimes.
Usually what would happen is that some ruffian would be all like ARRGHH I HAVE A PISTOL OR MAYBE A WALKING STICK, HOW DARE YOU INTERRUPT MY CRIMES and then prim, gentlemanly Holmes would be all WAPOW! with one blow in some arcane but impressive manner, and there you were.
And Irene Adler is a real character from canon too. Maybe not as much of as Action Girl in the books as in the movie, but she does exist (see "A Scandal in Bohemia" -- I love that she actually pulls one over the greatest detective ever. I saw it as a flaw of his -- because Sherlock doesn't see a woman as a potential equal, he missed Irene pulling one over him) and is awesome. Rachel McAdams is pretty good in the movie, but admittedly her makeup I found distracting. For some reason, she reminded me of Joan Collins in Dynasty. But that's just me.
But I understand why some people are critical of the movie. It had more action and explosions than maybe what we're used reading about or seeing on the PBS specials. But it's obvious that even with the explosions and running, fighting and shootings, there's a certain knowledge and love of Doyle's work behind it. I mean, it fits into the Sherlock universe and there are touches that show a respect for Doyle's work. Fans have pointed out Watson's limp (which I didn't remember), as well as the long, crazy-logical explanations at the end as to how everything happened (which I remember of a lot of Sherlock mysteries).
I don't want to spoil too much of the movie, but seriously, when they named the villains, the only thing missing was a dude named, "Bob Stabsyaintheback."
Also, welcome back Guy Ritchie. Did you get your spine back after your divorce from Madge? This is up there with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as Snatch. From the whole gritty look of London, to the end credits and the twangy, yet also rollicking soundtrack (I've been listening to the soundtrack for awhile now, thanks to YouTube), Sherlock Holmes was just plain, rollicking good action fun with proof of love for the source material.