Thursday, December 22, 2011

Elementary, My Dear Watson…

Sherlock Holmes: Uh, hmm...Right. Where are the wagons?
Madam Simza Heron: The wagon is too slow. Can't you ride?
Dr James Watson: It's not that he can't ride...How is it you put it, hon?
Sherlock Holmes: They're dangerous at both ends and...crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?
I caught ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ at Golden Village new cinema in Katong last evening. This is a screenplay based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Final Problem’; this is NOT a screen adaptation.

Robert Downey, Jr. returns as the annoyingly, intelligent and maverick private detective Sherlock Holmes. Jude Law reprises his role as Dr Watson the unflappable sidekick who complements his manic-depressive partner. In this installment, Watson gets married and his honeymoon prematurely terminated when Dr Moriarty – Holmes’ arch-enemy and nemesis – plots to upset the balance of peace in the world pre-dating the 1900’s.

Madonna’s ex- Guy Ritchie directs this sequel and does a fabulous job with the pacing and sequencing. Most memorable was the escape-cum-gunfight sequence shot in a combination of real-time and slow motion. Loyal friends to the series may be perturbed by the well-stocked action sequences that portray Holmes as an Indian Jones-type character. However, in today’s micro-wave-ready, paint-by-numbers, convenience-food society, film audiences may expect more physical action as well as cerebral competition. There is the perfunctory speed chess-game that evolves into a hands-off, mental bout which chess connoisseurs can pick holes on. Yet, this build-up is important to the climax of the film where we wonder: Is this The End?

Overall, this is a fun film that pays mild tribute to the uniquely vivid characters created by Doyle. Ritchie amplifies and assiduously adheres to the film genre of action, crime, adventure and comedy for 129 minutes.
If you enjoyed the stories of Sherlock Holmes, you may also consider the latest BBC television version that is more contemporary and gritty. Make your own comparisons and enjoy playing along with the clues, deductions, and analytical journey.

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