Mighty Red Pen

December 28, 2009

The game is afoot

Filed under: Lit review — mighty red pen @ 7:20 pm
Tags: , ,

What you have here is one contented MRP. Yes, indeed.

MRP doesn’t usually review films (and I’m not really going to start now), but I just got back from watching the latest film interpretation of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I have to say, I was much more than pleasantly surprised.

As a Mighty Red Crayon, I loved the exploits of Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew, and as a teenager, I thrilled to the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read every shred I could get my hands on, and watched the Granada Television adaptations and the Basil Rathbone films. I sat through the somewhat silly “Young Sherlock Holmes.” I was fascinated by the curmudgeonly detective.

Years later, the stories have faded into memories for me, but I was prepared to possibly hate this version. The plot is pretty ridiculous, to be sure, and Rachel McAdams isn’t really my idea of any sort of Irene Adler. And Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law are somewhat studlier than Jeremy Brett and David Burke, the actors I adored as Holmes and Watson. But from the moment that Watson bursts in on Holmes shooting the letters “V.R.” (for Victoria Regina) into the wall, I felt pretty sure that we were in the hands of a loving reinterpretation by director Guy Ritchie.

Beloved details such as Holmes’s pipe, Mrs. Hudson, and 221B Baker Street are judiciously employed without obvious cheese or overkill. The action sequences are decidedly more rigorous but than in the stories, but capture the same “game is afoot” spirit of Doyle’s originals. Holmes and Watson spar in a friendly, humorous way that invigorates their relationship as comrades. And Holmes’ deductive reasoning is as magical—and dead on—as ever.

And I don’t want to spoil the ending, but when the words “Professor Moriarty” are finally uttered, I said to Mister MRP, “I can’t wait for the sequel.”

Any other Sherlock Holmes aficionados seen this yet? Is it up to snuff for you?



  1. I LOVE Sherlock! I went in expecting a movie that was entertaining but completely untrue to “the canon”. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. While it wasn’t completely true to ACD’s works (can you imagine how Holmes would’ve reacted to being punched in the face by Watson? Since when is Irene Adler a thief and a divorcee/widow?), I think Holmes was appropriately bizarre and Lestrade was spot-on (if a bit uptight). The prospect of a sequel featuring Moriarty was an added bonus. I can’t wait!

    Comment by SgtGrayMatter — February 5, 2010 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  2. MRP line 12 you have an extra but between rigorous and than.

    love the page needs updating with more foo pahs

    Comment by Mrs Letch — July 7, 2012 @ 4:54 am | Reply

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