OK, let’s take a brief sidestep into the world of popular culture, something that doesn’t happen to often round here. 😉
The works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle seem to be very popular at the moment with 2 re-imaginings of the classic ‘Sherlock Holmes’ tales – the BBC TV series and the movie franchise.
The TV series is more faithful to the spirit of the novels despite being a 21st Century update, whilst the second film in the movie franchise ‘Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows’ retains the period setting but only uses what it likes from the original books and dumps the rest.
Yet there are similarities between the two. Both feature Irene Adler (who apparently snuffs it early on in both the TV show and the movie), both feature a Sherlock who can more than look after himself in a scrap and both have slightly preposterous endings. Are they really that different?
TV first – the first episode of the second series of ‘Sherlock’ aired on Sunday to almost universal acclaim. Given that it’s written by Steven Moffat, it’s as fast paced and witty as you would expect, and Sunday’s story was a hugely enjoyable 90 minutes.
Trouble is, if you stop to think about the plotting, it really doesn’t make much sense at all. Holmes, who can identify all sorts of things from casual glances, fails to identify the corpse of someone he’s had a more than good look at, which seems so out of character it can only be a plot device. Which is borne out by the fact that the action throughout seems designed to move the story from one beat to the next, whether action or emotional, regardless of the logic of the actions from the characters’ perspectives.
Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it and will watch the rest of the series but sadly it seems typical of the flimsy plotting employed by both Moffat and Russell T Davies in Doctor Who.
The movie probably doesn’t get such a good crit. But whereas the first one was a bit of a mess, ‘A Game of Shadows’ pretty much makes sense, which is not bad going for a Hollywood blockbuster.
It IS as formulaic in structure as any blockbuster these days but its reliance on the old ‘bad person wants to make money by inciting then supplying a war’ formula lends it a coherence that many of its contemporaries lack.
The dialogue’s certainly not on a par with the TV ‘Sherlock’ but it’s more than serviceable and the leads, Downey Jr and Law, are certainly as good as Cumberbatch and Freeman.
The movie’s not going to win an Oscar or be anything like the best film of the year, but you could see many worse blockbusters over the course of the next 12 months.
Music again next!