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« Profession 2009: Fishing | Main | A Protestant Converted to Catholicity by Her Bible and Prayer-Book »

December 25, 2009


Russell Potter

I agree with your review on every point. The chronological confusion was particularly acute; the United States is said to have been weakened by the Civil War, and yet the biggest set-piece is at the construction site of Tower Bridge, which wasn't begun until 1886! How Irene Adler reaches this site in the film's climactic scene is another mystery, given that she starts at the House of Commons, and seems to travel mostly by sewer -- three miles were never so quickly covered! The main character, in any case, seems to me only "named after" -- not even "loosely inspired by" -- Conan Doyle's creation.


Criticising the movie for bad chronology is hypocritical, given the way that Conan Doyle regularly screwed up dates in the canon, such as HOUN occuring in 1889, when Watson should have been married, and Moriarty appearing in VALL, years before FINA, with Watson knowing all about Moriarty. Not to mention Conan Doyle's adaptations of his own works, such as the Angels of Darkness play and the Speckled Band play which both seriously altered the chronology and events of the original stories. There have been many pastiches involving Irene Adler which assume that the lady is not dead, nor married to Godfrey Norton anymore. This movie is not to your taste, fine, but its chronology problems are not that bad.


I don't mind the idea of Holmes as an action hero, but the one thing in the film that really jarred me is the idea of Holmes engaging in bare-knuckle boxing simply for the money, not as part of the investigation of a case.

As to that engagement ring: I'm pretty sure the large diamond is from the necklace that Holmes took from Irene Adler. So why Holmes no doubt paid a jeweler to set the stone in a ring, he didn't really buy it. It's more in the nature of some booty he acquired.


Yes, my father reminded me where the ring came from after he read this post.

I think we were supposed to have a Fight Club flashback during the boxing scene...

Mr Punch

A send-up for sure. Agree about Law as Watson; but Downey is playing Hugh Laurie, and at some points their dialogue is straight House/Wilson.

Since the eagle had been America's symbol "for well over a century" (I think Holmes says), ca. 1886 seems about right.


I think one gets the feel of the movie fairly well if one thinks of it not as a Sherlock Holmes movie, but as a comic book movie with Sherlock Holmes. Bits and pieces of the original Holmes, some of which have been occasionally neglected, are reordered and stretcheda bit so that Holmes's intelligence can stand in for superpowers, with the shout-outs (like the patriortic VR, which I imagine will go over the heads of any of the audience not very familiar with the stories) serving as anchors keeping it connected to the original; Lord Blackwood is an obvious supervillain; and the plot, while corny, hammy, and ludicrous as a mystery story, is actually not so very odd as a comic book plot, which by its very nature allows a good deal of room for Rube Goldberg craziness and dropping anvils. I think that it's fairly successful in those terms, although there are still weak points like Irene Adler.

Ms Baroque

Hi, thanks for this! Wowie. I've linked to your very thoughtful and interesting review on my own, rather flippant and exasperated one. I just thought it wold be a nice thing to do with my kid...


Great work. Every point. Making a Warner Bros Sherlock Holmes action movie was a good idea, and Downey and Law are good, but Guy Ritchie makes it a joke. Too bad.

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