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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


Oh my goodness. I think we always knew Sherlock Holmes was familiar with handcuffs, but did we suspect he was this, ahem, intimately familiar? Tee hee!

This is Guy Ritchie’s reboot of the world’s first consulting detective — the script is by Harry Potter producer Lionel Wigram, Simon Kinberg (who wrote the excellent Mr. & Mrs. Smith), and relative newcomers Michael Robert Johnson and Anthony Peckham — and, wow, I am really psyched for it now. It looks sure to have sports, fighting, murder, revenge… all it needs is giants and pirates and it would be perfect. I’m content to settle for funny sexy stuff in place of true love.

Now we wait for all the Conan Doyle purists to start complaining about how Holmes would never do this and Watson would never say that. Look, I love Conan Doyle’s Holmes, too, and he’s still there, on the bookshelf. And we’ll always have Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, too. But I can’t wait to see more of what other fun Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law — and Ritchie, too — are gonna have with Holmes and Watson.

Sherlock Holmes opens in the U.S. on December 25, and in the U.K. on December 26.



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  • misterb

    Well, as the local Conan Doyle purist, let me say … Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

    There, that said, have at it, boys – frak ’em if they can’t take a joke.

  • Oh dear. As a longtime fan of Holmes I was prepared to approach this with an open mind – but this looks as bad as it could possibly be. The recent computer games look better than this…

    “He hates women and is completely consumed by his job? Let’s make him James Bond!”

    I’ll hope that the trailer misrepresents the film and that there’s actually some detective-ing involved somewhere…

  • Martin

    I see three outcomes; it’s either a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously (and has Robert Downey Jr on top form), it’s Wild Wild West set in In-Grr-Land or it’s (and this is just a feeling) A sort of Tropic Thunder riff on films like Wild Wild West.

  • Oh, I dunno. Looks like it could be fun… casting Robert Downey Jr always seems to signal “We’re going to have fun with this and not take it overly seriously.”

  • I have too many fond memories of The Seven Percent Solution and The Strange Case of the End of Civilization As We Know It to pretend I’m that much of a purist where Holmes is concerned.

    However, this does seem like the type of film project The Critic used to make fun of.

  • Jackie

    I saw them filming one of these scenes in Manchester Town Hall. Saw Robert Downey Jr being led down the corridor in handcuffs. As the Town Hall Security Guard on duty drily commented “not that you’d ever see that in real life…”

  • Gia

    I’ve never read a single one of the books, so I’m purely unbiased in my belief that this looks like a really, really fun movie.

  • Victor Plenty

    The boiling nerd rage of purist fans is a bottomless well of the kind of free viral publicity that money just can’t buy.

    I suspect the big studios have figured this out, and are counting on it to help promote movies like this one. So, I’m opting out of the nerd rage. Anybody likely to care already knows this movie has taken little more than the names from Arthur Conan Doyle’s work.

    As a matter of fact, if it’s successful enough to generate a sequel, I hope they’ll take still more liberties with the source material, and fully transmogrify Mr. Holmes and Mr. Watson into the sort of utterly unabashed steampunk fantasy heroes so many expected to see in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

  • RogerBW

    I suppose I’m as much a Holmes purist as anyone, though even I have quite enjoyed the Mary Russell stories.

    This looks like an enjoyable steampunk action-adventure flick. Why bother to call it “Sherlock Holmes” since that clearly has nothing to do with the story?

    Mind you, if you want real steampunk heroes: http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/

  • Victor Plenty

    RogerBW, I humbly suggest that I have already answered your question. They call it “Sherlock Holmes” because it has nothing to do with the story. That way, people like ourselves will complain about it and help them build more buzz around their movie.

    No such thing as bad publicity, and all that.

  • Saladinho

    This reminds me of Van Helsing. :(

  • SaintAndy

    I have such bad feelings about this one, in spite of all the good names attached to it (Downey, and Jude Law, and who-can’t-adore-her-right away Amy Adams, and Ritchie, who seems to have regained his creativity after his split from Madonna). It just brings back bad memories about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the already mentioned Wild West and Van Helsing.

    Anyway, I am by no means a purist, but the character of Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be a great detective, who uses his cognitive resources … so it is definitely annoying to see that Hollywood dumbed him down and transformed him into a 19th century action hero.

    So, yeah, why even bother to call him Sherlock Holmes? (and yes, I know it’s free publicity, but this is everything BUT Sherlock Holmes).

    Ok, end of rant. Still have bad feelings about it.

  • Victor Plenty

    Hey! The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was “already mentioned” here as well! I even went to the trouble of supplying a link to MaryAnn’s hilariously brilliant review of that one.

  • I have such bad feelings about this one, in spite of all the good names attached to it (Downey, and Jude Law, and who-can’t-adore-her-right away Amy Adams, and Ritchie, who seems to have regained his creativity after his split from Madonna).

    I don’t think Amy’s in this film. The actress I remember seeing listed in the credits of that trailer was Rachel McAdams. But she’s just as easy on the eyes as Ms. Adams so I don’t blame you for getting confused.

    I just hope the movie has more going for it than numerous scenes in which Ms. McAdams wears Victorian lingerie and bends over a lot…

  • SaintAndy

    Hey! The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was “already mentioned” here as well! I even went to the trouble of supplying a link to MaryAnn’s hilariously brilliant review of that one.

    Whatever ..it’s not like we should build you a statue for your efforts ..it was a simple omission.

    Hey! The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was “already mentioned” here as well! I even went to the trouble of supplying a link to MaryAnn’s hilariously brilliant review of that one.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right .. I had a feeling it wasn’t Adams, but I was too lazy to check the cast. We sure could use an edit function for the comments on this forum.

  • Victor Plenty

    Yes! I’m absolutely right! Ha!

    (Also, SaintAndy, if you couldn’t tell I was kidding around in the comment you’ve quoted from twice, your teenage “Whatever” is invalidated.)

  • Okay, so I’m a Doyle purist, and I’m really excited about this. Here’s why:

    Doyle’s Holmes is a fighter! In “The Red-Headed League”, Watson describes Holmes using his cane as a weapon and describes him as an expert stick fighter. In “Study in Scarlet”, it’s mentioned that Holmes is an expert swordsman. In “The Adventure of the Empty House”, it’s revealed that Holmes is a master of Bartitsu. In “The Sign of Four”, Holmes introduces himself to a professional fighter as “the amateur who went three rounds with him” (indicating that Holmes, did, in fact fight bouts as depticted in this trailer.) Now, I’ll grant you–Doyle’s Holmes did most of his fighting “off-screen” with little bon mots like “if it weren’t for my knowledge of stick fighting, I’d be a dead man…” but I don’t mind seeing it on-screen.

    Doyle’s Holmes is a self-described “Bohemian” and rampant drug abuser. Watson, on more than one occasion, describes his utter horror at Holmes’ housekeeping, describing him as “the worst tenant in London.”

    What is NOT true to Holmes is the popular TV and movie portrayals of him. Holmes was not a “gentleman.” He wasn’t passive. He didn’t wear a deerstalker cap. He was more like an artist–a messy, drug addicted, self-absorbed, dirty fighting genius. I, for one, am looking forward to watching a screen adaptation that actually comes close to the Holmes that I’ve read about.

  • Larry Strand

    Nitpicking I know, but the “world’s first consulting detective” was C. Auguste Dupin, created by Edgar Allan Poe 46 years before Holmes came into existence.

    That being said and though a big fan of the Conan Doyle stories, I’m looking forward to seeing Robert Downey Jr. in this role.

    Hmmm. I’m wondering what the Cohen brothers would do with “Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

  • SaintAndy

    Yes! I’m absolutely right! Ha!

    (Also, SaintAndy, if you couldn’t tell I was kidding around in the comment you’ve quoted from twice, your teenage “Whatever” is invalidated.)

    Enjoy your triumph in the kingdom of the Internet forums! May your reign be long, and may you live long and prosper! And let me invalidate that statement with another ..whatever.

    Seriously, MaryAnn, we need an edit function on this board, for tired people like myself, who don’t check their posts thoroughly …didn’t you say you were adding some new functions?

  • Victor Plenty

    O grumpy SaintAndy, you are powerless to invalidate that which never relied on any claim of validity in the first place.

    Pretzel logic ftw!

  • PaulW

    I saw the trailer with my friends this past weekend. And even with them as the type who enjoy mindless naked violence and mayhem… they were groaning and wincing throughout. When we saw “Guy Ritchie” with the director credits Tony groaned to me “no wonder!” And we weren’t the only ones in the theater doing that. This is not gonna end well.

  • y

    “However, this does seem like the type of film project The Critic used to make fun of”

    That made me laugh and sums up my feelings on the trailer. I would prefer less explosions in a Sherlock flick, seems odd, but it might only have what is in the trailer. Either way, I will not touch this with a 10 foot pole till I read MaryAnn’s review. It could really go either way.

  • LaSargenta

    Not a caption, so I looked for your trailer posting. — Weirdly, unlike what seems like nearly every other person born since 1930, I actually read the complete Holmes works (even the non-Conan Doyle stuff like 7% Solution) before seeing any films. (Lived in a very rural area, no tv reception, no cinema unless you drove for a long time until the mid-1970’s) Guy Richie-standard-issue-aesthetics aside, you know, in the books Holmes was very athletic and was seen fighting plenty of times. The Reichenbach Falls fight is, obviously, the best known, but there were several others IIRC. And he certainly seemed fairly peverse: The first time Watson meets Holmes (basically to enquire about being a housemate) in A Study in Scarlet, Holmes is in a morgue beating a corpse. Even though he later explains to Watson that he is seeing how bruises form after death, our initial mental picture of the man is really pretty jarring. I never saw this kind of thing in the Rathbone movies and I thought they were pretty damn tame.

    The guy was an opium addict who filed his current mail by stabbing it to the mantlepiece with a dagger, fer cryin’ out loud. I’m not complaining about filming the violence. There actually was quite a bit in the books.

    The trailer has a little too much arch humor, though.

  • LaSargenta

    Whoops! Just saw Alex Knapp’s post. Well, that makes two of us.

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