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Sherlock Holmes - The verdict

I saw the film on the 26th but it has taken a little time for me to marshal my thoughts on it. The problem is that there are two positions from which this film can be reviewed. On the one hand you can look at it as a film in its own right. On the other, you can view it as a piece of faithful Sherlockiana. I shall look at it from both.


As a film it is good fun. The plot is a total cliché (covert Masonic-style group, with an Aleister Crowley-style leader, attempts to take over the country) but the action keeps the pace at such a level that you simply don't have the time to dwell on its shortcomings until after you've left the cinema. The casting (with the exception of RDJ) is reasonable, at no stage was I bored and I certainly hope for a sequel. The recreation of Victorian London is first-class and the attempt to look at Holmes's more physical side is to be commended. From this perspective I give the film 7/10.

From a Sherlockian perspective it is far from a success. Like many Sherlock Holmes films, not based on a Conan Doyle story, the scriptwriters have attempted to give the film a canonical feel by peppering it with lines/scenes from the original stories. The result is something of a patchwork which, for me, was rather disjointed.

The occasionally comical "Captain Jack Sparrow" Holmes that RDJ gives us is out of place as is his apparent infatuation with Irene Adler. As was to be expected, whenever the filmmakers had to make the choice between fidelity and commercial success they chose the latter. Hence Holmes's drugs were dispensed with (which I consider to be rather cowardly) and replaced with something akin to a drink problem.

Moving on to the rest of the cast, Law’s Watson is excellent. He is entirely convincing as a former soldier but is less convincing as a doctor. His wife-to-be is a rather pointless character. It is clear that she exists purely to act as a wedge between Holmes and Watson and this is reflected in her relative lack of screen time. Irene Adler, as portrayed, is somewhat removed from the Adler in A Scandal in Bohemia but it would have been impossible to have her in the film and not alter her character.

Blackwood made a good melodramatic villain but did not really come across as someone who was an intellectual equal of Holmes. I was left feeling that the Holmes of the books would have dealt with Blackwood in half the time that it took RDJ's

The character I enjoyed the most was the one with the least screen time. I refer to Professor Moriarty. The two scenes in which the character both features and speaks are full of menace. The fact that he is also kept in shadow (clearly to permit freedom of casting in the sequel) adds to the menace.

In view of all the above, from a Sherlockian perspective, I give the film 5/10.

So my overall mark, combining both scores, would be 6/10.

Sherlock Holmes film

As a film in its own right 7/10. As a faithful Holmes film 5/10. More detailed opinion to follow later..

A.

Xmas blog break.

Season's greetings to all my readers.

The next post you'll see will be my review of the Sherlock Holmes film.

Merry Xmas.

The day draws near...

Yesterday I booked my tickets to see Sherlock Holmes at my local cinema. A whole selection of new clips have made it to Youtube as well which has obviously been done to tempt people. However I do start to worry that these clips contain all the good bits.

I know I am going to come away with mixed feelings about this film but I am very glad it has been made as it may just tempt some to check out the original books.

I have decided also that once I have seen it I shall produce a free addendum on it which will neatly fit at the back of my first book Eliminate the Impossible.

A wrinkle or two

Some minor pagination issues cropped up with my manuscript file and I spent a little time last night sorting it out. The book has now finally gone. Everything now lies in the publisher's hands. I feel a great weight off my shoulders now.

This means that I am free to focus on Xmas and my first novel. More details as I see fit to release them :-)

Review of new film in The Times.

The review of the new Sherlock Holmes film in The Times today seems to be fairly neutral. There are good points and bad points. Describing the script as being similar to Scooby Do was certainly a low blow (and I hope an inaccurate one). However the praise for RDJ and Jude Law was pretty high. The reviewer even went so far as to describe it a career best performance from Law.


3/5 Stars awarded.

Well that's it!

The final draft of 'The Norwood Author' has gone. Nothing to do now but sit and wait. I may give some attention to my first fiction attempt but part of me wants some time off.

A.

2009 - What a year

I have to say that 2009 has been one of the most eventful years of my life. Most of the interesting events have happened because of my literary output. The reputation my first book earned me, combined with the release of my second, led to me being sought out on occasion.

Feb - Book two released, German Radio interview re Hound of the Baskervilles (in Dartmoor).
Mar - Waterstones book signing & SHSL Douglas Wilmer event at National Liberal Club.
May - German TV interview at Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street.
Nov - Literary lunch/talk for Living Literature at Sherlock Holmes Hotel, Baker Street.

During all of this I was beavering away at book three which shall be heading towards the publisher shortly.

I hope that 2010 is as interesting.

Winner

I won a competiton yesterday run by @vintagebooks My prize was a Campion omnibus. I just hope it arrives before Xmas.

A.

I know it's not Sherlockian but...

...my Twitter obsession continues. I wasn't entirely convinced of it as a medium before but I am now a total convert. However I have become rather fixated on reaching 100 followers. I know that doesn't seem like many but it's harder than it looks. For a start I haven't used any 'services' designed to add followers. That would be cheating. I like to acquire them in a more honest manner.

Earlier release

I have been having discussions with my publisher about bringing forward the release date for The Norwood Author. Its release date was (and currently still is) the 22nd March 2010. I have explained that I feel sufficiently confident in the final draft, and the editing I have received, that I am happy to bring it forward to the 1st of March.

The cover has also just been re-jigged to include a new quote from one of my proof-readers. This gentleman (who shall for the moment remain nameless and is a senior member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London) gave me such a pleasing assessment of my work that I felt it needed to be included on the back cover. The publisher agreed and the external designers lept into action.

Presently I am indulging myself with one more read-through (which has been worthwhile as I've spotted a couple of silly, but minor, errors). The final document will be sent away within a fortnight.