Took Chris and LawMom out to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie today; and we all three loved it.
Is this movie an accurate depiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous literary invention? That depends.
If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes of the books, then yes. If you are a fan of the Hollywood version of the detective -- then no.
This is going to come as a shock to some folks, but Basil Rathbone was a lousy Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur penned a Sherlock Holmes who was a young man -- probably in his late twenties, but no older than mid-30's -- who was a genius, yes, but also manic-depressive.
In "A Study In Scarlet", Sir Arthur -- through Dr. Watson -- described how Holmes would be seized by melancholia and would lie upon his sofa, in the dark, for days without speaking or moving; in other stories, Holmes would be "seized by an intensity" and go for days without eating or sleeping, until he fainted.
He is -- as written by Doyle -- an eccentric, who kept his unanswered mail nailed to the mantel with a pen-knife; his tobacco stored in the toe of a shoe; and his cigars in a coal-bin.
He is an addict, who self-medicates his depression with a 7% solution of IV cocaine, with occasional forays into morphia use.
He is also a prize-fighter. In "The Sign of the Four" McMurdo, a retired prize-fighter of some renown is acting as a servant to a house. He refuses to allow Holmes and company into the house because he doesn't know them, until Holmes announces that he is shocked that McMurdo doesn't recognize Holmes as the amateur who went three rounds with him at a fighting club in London. McMurdo responds that if Holmes had stepped up and hit him with his right cross to the jaw, McMurdo would have immediately recognized him; and goes further to announce that Holmes had wasted his fighting skills by not becoming a professional.
And I think my earlier post regarding "Baritsu" covers stick-fighting and such.
As for Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Dr. John H. Watson as a survivor of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, where he was injured by a jezzail bullet during the Battle of Maiwand. While not a genius (as is Holmes), Watson is not only intelligent enough to solve mysteries himself (The Hound of The Baskervilles), but astute enough to easily follow Holmes' reasoning.
Capable and courageous, Watson was a ladies man, a combat veteran of a particularly nasty war, a respected medical professional, a gentleman of the Victorian Age and a crack shot whom Holmes regarded as his best friend and trusted as his back-up for 56 published adventures and uncounted others from 1887 to 1914.
He was neither a bumbler nor a fool, and he was definitely not an incompetent as Hollywood has tended to portray him.
If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books, then go see this movie.
If you are a fan of the Hollywood Sherlock Holmes, go see Avatar.
If you are a Hollywood movie critic who claims that a pugilistic Sherlock Holmes isn't "faithful to Doyles vision" then I'd like to make one little comment:
You're supposed to read books, not eat them.