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Sherlock Holmes – sequel to begin filming

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes. So I was quite happy with the last 5 to 10 minutes of the film, when they openned things up for a sequel – with the unveiling of Professor Moriarty, Holmes’ archrival in the books. Moriarty is, perhaps, the first example of a supervillian, and is described by Holmes’ as the ‘Napoleon of crime’. For more on the character click here.

Now, with the film approaching $300 million at the international box office, it looks like the sequel could start filming as early as June this year.

Warner Bros haven’t yet given the film an official green light, but Robert Downey recently pulled out of other commitments in June using the Holmes sequel as his reason. Exciting times.

Sherlock Holmes – A Review

January 2, 2010 2 comments

Guy Ritchie has been a hero of mine for almost a decade now. The first movie of his that I watched was Snatch. I was still at school at the time, and Snatch was an instant hit with us school boys. It’s still in my top ten films of all time… maybe even the top 3. Admittedly his last few films have been a bit disappointing – Swept Away was rubbish, Revolver was critically panned and Rock ‘n Rolla was okay, but still not quite there. So it was quite a surprise when Ritchie was selected to direct Sherlock Holmes, his most high profile directing gig to date. In fact the producer, Joel Silver, goes so far as to say that this film sprung Ritchie from directing purgatory. But the bottom line is that when Guy Ritchie makes a film I go see it.

So was it a wise move to pick Ritchie? I have to say that the answer is a resounding yes. For those who aren’t in the know, Sherlock Holmes is a film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character of the same name. And while some Sherlockians (the Holmes equivalent of Star Trek’s ‘Trekkies’) will be disappointed at the films portrayal of Holmes, the rest of the world will be overjoyed that Sherlock has once again become relevant. He is no longer a stuffy English gentleman with a razor intellect. Rather he has become a sharpshooting, bare-knuckle-boxing bohemian with sharp reasoning, a somewhat questionable lifestyle and a dark, manic depressive streak. And did I mention he’s pretty ripped, with a decent six pack?

The project’s original writer, Lionel Wigram, has lobbied hard to get the new Holmes franchise off the ground. In the end he had to become an independent producer and only finally managed to sell his idea for Holmes by commissioning an “Indiana Jones” style graphic novel about the sleuth which focuses on Holmes grittier qualities… such as his martial arts skills (which were never explicit in the novels but were there in Holmes background).

I have to say that the new angle is a stroke of genius, and having Ritchie as director is a match made in heaven. He brings his usual take to the film – fast, punchy dialogue, a distinctive musical score, some bare-knuckle boxing and an engrossing picture of 19th century London that is dark, depressing and completely intriguing.

The story itself is actually an original, taken directly from one of Doyle’s novels. The premise is that Holmes and his right hand man Dr. Watson, are sucked into a dark web of intrigue after foiling a series of ritualistic sacrifices masterminded by Lord Blackwood (played by Mark Strong). Blackwood is sentenced to death by hanging, but after his sentence is carried out he refuses to stay in the grave and rises from the dead to wreak a plague of havoc. As the fabric of society unravels around them, and the government and police begin to turn them, Holmes and Watson rush to uncover the dark forces that are at play. What ensues is distinctly un-Holmesian, with street chases, shootouts, some spirited fisticuffs and an electrified cattle prod.

When it comes to the acting side of things Downey is excellent. His accent is flawless, and the character seems to fit him like a glove. Apparently he was visiting Joel Silver’s offices with his wife (Susan Downey, who eventually became one of the films other producers) when he learned about the project.  Initially Ritchie was reluctant to cast Downey as he wanted a younger actor, the idea being to focus on Holmes in his youth as he learns and grows into a legend. However, he eventually took a chance on Downey, and that chance has paid off. In Downey’s own words ‘when you read the description of the guy – quirky and kind of nuts – it could be a description of me.”

Jude Law is also excellent, his portrayal of Watson as former soldier, doctor, womaniser and gambler is a huge departure from original Watson – a bumbling fool who provides more comic relief than anything else. But the new “hot Watson” is an excellent partner for Holmes as they feed of one another’s energy and wit.

All in all Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic journey, and just writing about it makes me want to watch it again. No doubt the special edition DVD will be added to my collection in the near future. Go watch it.