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December 26, 2009


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We're going to see it sometime this week, looking forward to it :) Sounds like the good mainly outweighs the bad.

I think this version of Holmes was based on a recent graphic novel. The 'problems' may have originated there. That being said, I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm not a purist, so I expect I'll have similar reactions. I've seen so many film versions of Holmes & Watson that one more won't bother me, but I do have a certain fondness for Nichol Williamson's interpretation.

I agree, Rachel McAdams wasn't strong enough to carry a believable Irene Adler. I was also well pleased by the rational resolution of the major plot element, although I pretty much expected it; such things are NEVER genuine in the Holmesverse.

I would have liked not to have been distracted by minor anachronisms/poorly handled nuances, though. A "daily woman" might have been married, but NEVER a chambermaid! And so on.

I saw the movie last night and felt pretty much the same way as both of you, except that I found some of the anachronisms to be anything but minor. For example, did the people of 1894 really refer to someone as 'psychologically' deranged?

I saw the movie yesterday as well and you put into words most of my same opinions about the characters and the over-done fist fights. I actually liked a lot about Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler, though she is more of an alternate-world version then the canon Irene. Holmes/Downey was great and brought out aspects of Holmes that have been under-played in prior renditions (though I still think Jeromy Brett's versions where the most like the books). With Irene Adler wearing bustle dresses, this placed the film earlier in Holmes' career

I was worried that Guy Richie would modernize things too much, but I was impressed with the rendering of Victorian London in all its grit. I would see this again and get the DVD too. Loved the drapping on Irene's dresses too!

PS The above is from SusanT (another Susan)

SusanT... With Irene Adler wearing bustle dresses, this placed the film earlier

My understanding is that bustles were out of fashion by 1885. Does this then mean that Irene was wearing a bustle circa 1894 because she liked them and fashion be damned? Or was the story set circa 1885 and it took 9 years to finish building the Tower Bridge?

I think that any bustle-based anachronisms can be forgiven. I am of course completely biased because I was drooling over the bustled dresses and the adorable coats slit in the back to accommodate said bustles.

Rachel McAdams did seem a bit young and almost too vapid to be an accomplished lady criminal. I never really felt that she was anywhere near Holmes' equal in intelligence or ingenuity throughout the film.

AJ... We're supposed to assume all that on the basis of her character being called Irene Adler, but McAdams never successfully conveys that. A betetr casting choice would have been Gabrielle Anwar.

What's this I hear about your being biased, re bustles?
I am shocked. Shocked!

Slioghtly off topic, but not that much... Before Sherlock, we saw the coming attraction for RDJ's Iron Man 2. It bugs me, in that Stark seems to have reverted to his immature self. It's not as if he has to pretend he's an immature jerk since he told the whole world about his alter ego.

I don't think it's a pretense. I think he is an immature jerk, not to mention an alcoholic. Even being successful and a hero doesn't prevent him from being an immature jerk.

True, Susan, but it feels like what growth he went thru is gone. Mind you, I am basing that on a coming attraction, and we know how misleading those can be. Well, we shall see in a few months.

I know, my bustle bias just came out of nowhere...

As for Iron Man 2, I really think that's supposed to be Stark's personality. There's some improvement from where he started at in the first movie, but he's still wealthy, brilliant, and now he's a super hero, too. All that feeds his ego. Besides, I don't think the movie would be nearly as much fun if he was straight-laced and serious. That's Batman's territory.

AJ... I guess what bugged me about the coming attraction is the depiction of women, aside from Pepper. But, heck, if neither you nor Susan were offended by that, then I won't be.

AJ... if he was straight-laced and serious. That's Batman's territory

Do you know what Green Arrow's nickname for Batman is?

Serge, you mean the dancing bimbos in the Iron Man bikinis?

AJ... Yes, them. Say, did the ad show the Black Widow?

I think it might have... I seem to recall seeing some woman who was neither Pepper nor a bikini-clad Iron Girl dancer.

AJ... I just looked it up on YouTube, and yes, the Widow does appear.

Dragging it back to Sherlock Holmes:
We are considering theming our 1880s Bustle Ball (scheduled for 3/27) as a Sherlock Holmes event. I don't want to turn it totally fantasy-land, but attaching ourselves to the movie's success could potentially draw in more people. So now I'm pondering how to add Holmesian touches without tipping to too far away from it being a historical event.

By the way, on the dating: Tower Bridge was started in 1886 and completed in 1894. Did the movie give an explicit date at any point? The bridge clearly wasn't completed then, so it's not a huge fudge to have it slightly more complete in 1888 or so than it in fact was. And bustles were quite prominent in 1886-1888. I think it was 1889 when they shrank abruptly.

Susan... I don't think the movie ever pinned its date down, aside from that weird reference to America's Civil War. The Bridge looks fairly advanced, in the movie, which is why I thought it might be set closer to 1894 than to the days of the Bustle. Of course, I don't know how quickly those engineering projects went up in those days, even without our modern safety mesures.

I was amused by this article in the NYTimes, by the way. It acknowledges that the stereotypical Holmes is as much a creation of movies as of the original stories, though it feels the movie went too far the other way.

I rather liked Basil Rathbone as Holmes, but what drove me nuts was their setting the stories during the Second World War, and having Holmes fight Nazi spies and the likes.

I think it's a mark of what a classic character Holmes is that he can be played around with that way. Shakespeare and Jane Austen works have the same elasticity.

True, Susan, but part of Holmes's attraction is the setting - for me anyway. I mean, his methods come across as ahead of their time, when in the Victorian Era. By the 1940s, not as much.

As for works that are strong enough to make it into other settings... True also, I rather liked 2002's TV miniseries "King of Texas", with Patrick Stewart as rancher Lear, and Marcia Gay Harden as the one daughter who truly loves him.

I enjoyed Ran which was Akira Kurosawa's feudal Japanese version of King Lear. He did another one -- I want to say it was MacBeth, but it was not very good at all, IMO.

Holmes is best in the Victorian era because of the bustle skirts. WWII-era fashions just aren't as enjoyable.

AJ... I think that Castle of Blood was Kurosawa's take on MacBeth. By the way, Yojimbo was his version of Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest and eventually became A Fistful of Dollars.

Castle of Blood is in fact the one I'm thinking of! Thanks, Serge. I didn't know that Yojimbo was based on Red Harvest. It also eventually became Last Man Standing which takes place in the Southwest (AZ, I think) in the hmmm... 30s? and stars Bruce Willis. Chris and I enjoyed that one.

The last time Chris ran a samurai-themed roleplaying game, he assigned some Kurosawa films and other Japanese films as homework, and you got extra experience points if you watched them. Still didn't stop people from playing their characters like they were from the more over-the-top samurai anime, but at least he tried.

AJ... you got extra experience points if you watched them

That reminds me of an interview with James Coburn, who was in The Magnificent Seven. When he heard that Seven Samurai was being remade as a western, he was one of the few people who wound in the cast who had already seen the original, and he had made it clear that he wanted to play the part of the World's Greatest Swordsman.

Speakign of MacBeth... It was the very conscious basis for the Outer Limits episode The Bellero Shield. And The Tempest was made into a fantasy movie set in the Mississippi Delta during the Civil War, and of course as Forbidden Planet.

Red Harvest also inspired the Coen Brothers Miller's Crossing (I thought it was inspired by A Fistful of Dollars when i first saw it)

I went to see 'Sherlock Holmes' this evening. I enjoyed it a lot.

It helped that, at least to my eye, the writers clearly knew their stuff, so that when there were differences from Arthur Conan Doyle's version, it wasn't just because they didn't know any better. (In that vein, I liked the running joke about Holmes testing things on the dog. That could only have come from somebody familiar with the novels.)

Turner Classic Movies showed 1959's Hound of the Baskervilles. I rather liked Peter Cushing as Holmes. I wonder why Hammer never made more of those movies.

I just read that the director of Sherlock Holmes has been told by the studio that his top priority from now on is a sequel.

Not exactly a surprise; they were obviously setting up for one and hoping to make it another franchise series.

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