If you enjoy the story of Sherlock Holmes…then younwill be happy to know the next installment of movies is here again with actor Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. So get ready for some action and another mystery to solve…it should prove to be very entertaining…
Pass it on,
The Christmas Franchise Frenzy gets under way this week, a steady, unceasing carpet-bombardment of the world’s multiplexes starting with an epic face-off – at the box-office, at least – between the oddly archaic figure of Sherlock Holmes, and Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt, now only slightly less retro, give or take eight decades, than Holmes himself. One retooled franchise from yesteryear versus another, with the similarly aged Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked nibbling up the crumbs, perhaps hoping in vain to avenge the box-office spanking that Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakwel suffered at the hands of the first Sherlock Holmes movie over Christmas 2009.
Funny to notice it’s all non-superhero action movies for Christmas this year; I guess superheroes, given all their testosterone, are a spring and summer phenomenon, what with Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern all rolling out early on to their diverse fates under bursting buds and bright sunlight. Holmes and Tintin, evidently more wintry figures, seem destined, or doomed, to be reconfigured as superheroes by default, or perhaps just as Ethan Hunt-style action-hero exaggerations of themselves.
For better or worse, Holmes and Watson, as embodied in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game Of Shadows by Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, are the Holmes and Watson we have to live with now; there’s no going back to Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. That ship has sailed, and sunk.
Now, I’m no Conan Doyle purist (or, to be honest, even a fan), and I’ve always preferred the movies that made fun of Holmes, like Herbert Ross’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and Gene Wilder’s The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, or Benedict Cumberbatch’s fantastic TV reimagining of Holmes as a straight-up weirdo. The more Jeremy Brett they make it, the less I like it (though I do firmly believe you can never have too much of Nigel Bruce slapping his ample stomach and saying, “Bit of a bay window, what, Holmes, old man?”).
You’d think that might better dispose me to enjoy Ritchie’s irreverent tweaking of the character, but there’s your problem: he lets Downey wear more disguises and drag outfits than Marlon Brando in The Missouri Breaks, and brings home half the movie Arthur Penn did.
Next year we’ll see that the next ancient franchise figure due to rejoin us is the lately moribund James Bond, himself created some 68 years ago. There’s obviously something in the air. Who could be next for a retro action franchise of his own? Bulldog Drummond? Fu Manchu? Richard Hannay? Biggles? Churchill? The mind reels.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010