Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

(maybe A-)

Wow! I was very impressed. I loved this re-imagining of the Sherlock Holmes character. Holmes purists (if there are any) may be upset at some of the big changes made to the character, but I think the changes breathed new life into this previously boring (though brilliant) character.

When a string of brutal murders terrorize London, it doesn't take long for the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey) and his crim-solving partner Dr. Watson (Jude Law), to find the killer: Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). But Blackwood, a devotee of the occult dark arts, has a bigger scheme in mind, and his execution plays right into his plans. The game is afoot when Blackwood seems to rise from the grave, plunging Holmes and Watson into a world of the occult and strange technologies.

Some of the big changes made from the original character. This new Holmes is a brilliant thinker and problem solver, of course, but he is also a master street fighter, sporting a combination of Chinese Kung Fu, Filipino stick fighting, and a little Japanese Judo. Even with his superhuman skill, Holmes is still a reasoned analyzer and the film effectively portrays his logical breakdown of his fights. Instead of Holmes' being a cocaine addict, they made him an alcoholic (great move, I think). This Holmes is beset with hygiene issues, bad manners, and ADHD. Instead of playing the violin, he merely plucks at it. Downey turns in another homerun performance. The soundtrack is also great, featuring very unorthodox violin tracks that add to the quirky tone. The grimy underworld of 19th century London is also vividly portrayed. And finally, it was funny. What a combination. I loved it. It is rated PG-13 for violence, some suggestive humor, and profanity.



I had a lot of fun watching this movie. the story was compelling enough to work, even if it wasn't spectacular. But the visuals WERE spectacular. It was a Thanksgiving feast of stunningly real visual effects. Even though the movie is almost three hours long, it didn't feel like it.

On a lush planet called Pandora live the Na'vi--humanoid beings who appear primitive, but are actually highly evolved. Because Pandora's environment is poisonous, human-Na'vi hybrids, called avatars, are linked to human minds, allowing for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed ex-Marine, is made whole again through one such avatar, and falls in love with a Na'vi woman (Zoe Saldana). As his bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.

This film is available in 3D and standard. I watched it in 3D. I honestly found that the visuals were so spectacular anyway, I don't know if the 3D made it any better. All the other critics say that "you gotta see it in 3D." You can choose for yourself. As I said, the story was good enough. it has been described as "Dances with Ferngully," if that gives you a handle on the basic plot. Some of the twists were predictable. The action sequences were awesome. But the real star of the show has got to be the breathtaking visuals. Definitely worth and probably buying (on BluRay, of course). It is rated PG-13 for intense action scenes, some violence, peril, and language, and some brief sexuality.