Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

This is a great movie. The action, acting, dialogue, and plotting are all great. The film looks good and the story holds.

Robert Downey Jr. kills as the great detective, and Jude Law is great in the supporting (but super important) role of Dr. Watson. These two actors together have some of the best on-screen chemistry I've seen in years. [Downey caught some flak from studio execs for kinda saying that the two could be lovers. I, for one, have always thought the friendship between the two partners/roommates should be presented as more than just that.]

Guy Ritchie has been accused of making things move too fast, but I think he's a master of pacing and knows exactly what he's doing. This movie just keeps moving and moving but never feels overly tense or strained. Everything serves the story and characters.

I'm a fan of the character in books, but I've never really enjoyed the movies or TV shows. Even though he's eccentric, Holmes has always been portrayed as a bit too stuffy for my taste. And Watson is always kind of the bumbling, ignorant sidekick. I have to admit that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories have been pretty accurately adapted in the past, but I'm one of many, it seems, who have always thought that Holmes should be portrayed as an action hero. And he should be. I love seeing Holmes jump out of windows, beat people up, and get in gunfights.
But Holmes is no two-dimensional character. While the cocaine addiction is really shown in this movie, the audience does see that Holmes's amazing talents and eccentric ways do often distance him from other people.

In short, go see it. (I say it's a much better film than "Avatar", but it may be unfair to compare the two since they are meant to serve somewhat different entertainment purposes.)

[I was hoping that the hints at Moriarty would be left at just hints, but I guess you have to spell things out for some audience members. I'm definitely looking forward to a sequel.]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Over the last month or so, as the TV and all other media have been overrun by adverts for James Cameron's "Avatar", the internet buzz and word-of-mouth anticipation just kept building and building (and building and building and building). People everywhere were talking about the flick. My fellow film students, who I normally hear decrying most mainstream films, were always speaking of their anticipation for what has long been declared and promised as Cameron's opus -- a film to change film, a film to transcend all technological limitations.

After the first trailers and TV spots hit, people just couldn't shut up about how the Na'vi and their world Pandora looked. Everyone I knew would ask me if I was excited about the film. All I could say was, "Not really."

To the surprise of many, I had pretty much no interest in seeing this film. "Oh! But it looks so good!"

Not really. It looks COOL, but not REAL.

The story never seemed original. Many early reviews I read said that it isn't a film for people looking for original story or characters. So, even the big fans were admitting that it was all about the super cool CGI.

I kept telling people that I wouldn't pay to go see it, but if my dad or someone wanted to see it, I'd go. Why would I turn down a movie with family or friends (especially if its free)?

So, today I saw it. It was alright. The plot, characters, and dialogue are all very flawed in terms of logic, realism, cheesiness, and general originality. The film is mostly a series of pretty pictures. And that's fine. I don't deride anyone for wanting to see a movie mostly for its visual quality. That's a perfectly viable reason for movie-going. However, I'm a bigger fan of plot, characterization, and dialogue.

Now, while I didn't enjoy the plot, characters, or dialogue, I have to say that I was fascinated by all of the science-type stuff in the flick. I found myself thinking mostly about the anthropology, biology, botany, and etcetera regarding the Na'vi and Pandora. Those aspects were super interesting and I'll enjoy discussing these things with people in the future.

I recommend this movie if for no other reason than that everyone will be seeing it (although I still haven't seen "Transformers 2" or the latest Harry Potter movie, and I have no plans to). Also, it is pretty. And the science stuff is fascinating.