Well i already had a feeling i might be the lone voice in the wilderness dissenting from all the Sherlock Holmes worship. In my newspaper the Independent there is a whole 2nd page devoted to just how wonderful it was. (TV reviews usually being at the back) It even entitles the review’ First Night’ in bold like it was a new play. i will check out other reviews however have a feeling it’s just me..Oh well…am not going to persuade myself that i am wrong since everybody else must be right. Guess they just see it differently.
i have a BBC1 rule usually that works pretty well:that is any Dramas on it are rubbish:the only exception to this rule so far being the wonderful Luther. (sigh,..gorgeous, clever Luther, we miss you) BBC1 Dramas take themselves way too seriously. They think they are all dark and Gothic and kind of camp and gloomy and are chock full of daft and overblown effects.
Luther had some of these things however still made it out without any claims of pretentiousness. It was Luther and the day to day London scenes and the realistic Police building possibly that escaped the BBC1 Drama rule of look at me i’m so very dark and deep and meaningful. Plus Luther had a real live London accent however i digress
ok this is the sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch (as everybody keeps telling us) and Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson. There will be a few minor spoilers in this review but not important ones eg. i won’t give away the answers to the mysterious cases.
i’ll convey my first few jotted down thoughts which i then gave up writing thinking i’ll just go with the flow and enjoy it as i may be being too harsh. These were:It is very silly. Moriarty isn’t even scary:he says things like “If you don’t, I’ll make you into shoes”! into his mobile which has just rung with the ring tone of the Bee Gees Stayin Alive. This kind of ruined the atmosphere of some kind of showdown with Moriarty in a lit up indoor swimming pool at night where Sherlock & Dr. Watson were lit up with multiple laser light sniper dots all over their bodies. Yet there was nobody else there.
Sherlock is too bored with a case to visit it and speaks to Dr. Watson on skype whilst Watson carries a laptop around a field talking to it and pointing it at things. Dr. Watson warns the Policemen that Sherlock may come and when he does to “listen to everything he says and try to to punch him”! exactly..Sherlock yells through the laptop”Go to the stream”!
When Sherlock looks at a mysterious man sent to get him helpful written words appear on the man’s clothes, forehead and fingernails, signalling clues for us: manicured, 4 small dogs. This effect is presumably instead of Sherlock Holme’s once original magnifying glass.
Sherlock Holmes was crap, self-important, & pretentious. It could have been really really good. Instead it was a bit good whilst half destroyed by it’s attempts (i think) at humour and surreal and sinister all in one.
Then there is the tiresome Sexy Female, involved in the Dominatrix game who has to beat up and whip Sherlock to the floor simultaneously stabbing him with a knock-out injection. Like any one of these wouldn’t have floored him-not all 3! The tiresome supposedly erotic dwelling of her blood red lipstick being laboriously painted on her lips.
n.b Why do film makers think slow motion lipstick painting or slo-mo dragging any umber of things over a woman’s lips is sexy? It isn’t. Is it a man thing? They have even done it with guns that i’ve seen. i think that we can guess what it is about ladies. Yeah. Great..
In spite of all this supposed sexiness she, or rather ‘That woman’ as she is called (ha ha) isn’t sexy and her hideous red lipstick and 40’s overdone hair isn’t either. Ok, i hate red lipstick, i admit it. Yet some women can look fabulous 40’s tyle:40’s film stars certainly did. Here she just looks daft and frumpy. It didn’t work. Her obvious intelligence was far more sexy i thought.
Why they had to have a scene where she decides, after a redundant shot of her wearing a shift slashed to her navel and therefore letting us glimpse uncomfortably voyeuristically half her chest, whilst she considers a giant double row of dresses in her closet but decides to wear her “battle dress” which is completely naked (ha ha) to meet Sherlock i don’t know.. (She has already had a deep discussions with her assistant over choosing the colour of her lipstick)
But voila! this non-attire is actually a clue! (go figure) At some ridiculous point, when she sends her assistant to bring Dr. Watson to meet her in Battersea Power Station (a tortuous warehouse/industrial building is cool corridor walk along which Dr. Watson doesn’t seem bothered at all) she admits that she is gay. Like D’oh.
Dr. Watson never mentions this to Holmes who we see supposedly mooning over her death/not death whilst playing his violin by the window having been recipient to “60 odd texts” from her, each preceded by an “erotic moan” text alert. Gee. How sexy.The joke is that Dr. WAtson doesn’t know what this sound is..
At one more ridiculous point we are helpfully shown all the text messages “That Woman” has ever written Sherlock scrolled up in floating white print in the air above him. Just like all the other random electronic messages and e-mails and indeed camera phone pictures are flashed up before our eyes, floating in the ether of the screen. Gee-thanks.
Doctor Watson writes a Blog about their adventures (the stories) we are told, with updated photos (wow) at some point the Blog counter (didn’t know anyone had those any more?) gets stuck at 1895. This is never explained. Although Sherlock Holmes does try it as a pass code to get into the tiresomely mysterious locked camera phone belonging to That woman. It does not work.
Much time is spent on trying to unlock this phone:which holds “secrets”. i don’t think i’m giving too much away to reveal that the mysterious entry code is finally divined by Sherlock Holmes as..wait for it:Sher! Yes, Sher! Funny huh, she didn’t seem like a Sher fan!
However, no, this, i think, is supposed to represent Sherlock figuring out that she is gay on his own:”You said that everyone wears a mask of themselves when you met me” he says. Gee:so Sher =she and he & her:is that it? deeeep..
Then right at the end as it becomes ever more improbable and implausible and the penultimate scen in a plane whose contents i won’t give away which was meant to be really shocking and scary yet wasn’t at all just oddly dull and left you wondering why the lights didn’t work inside the plane when they were all on outside it.
On top of all this we are meant to believe that she then turns up in Karachi, fully black hijab’ed and held by a “terrorist cell” who for reasons unknown are hell bent on beheading her..
Yep ’cause that just happens all the time doesn’t it, to rich, beautiful fearless and clever Dominatrices with giant plush London homes, they take it into their heads to wander alone, along the streets of Karchi and just fall in with the wrong people eg.”a terrorist cell”, ’cause you can just bump into them all the time, down at the shops..
Oh yes, and intertwined in the story which admittedly may not have been taking itself seriously as i am criticising it for (but i think it was) or maybe this is meant to be wry Sherlock Holmes humour however i don’t remember that from the books or previous films:the humour, wry or otherwise?
Yes, intertwined in the story is a rather nasty and sinister scene involving the capture and torture of Holmes Housekeeper. Holme’s super-duper magnifying vision homes (!) in on her injuries, her nail dragging bloody claw marks along the wall and so on. A bit icky and unnecessary this felt if things were all or nearly humourous. So perhaps they weren’t.
The show was taking itself seriously with a starey eyed vacant, pretty vacant, pretentious, supercilious Sherlock. An unconvincing, by which i mean completely unconvincing Doctor Watson:who looked like he was wandering around Top Man and had become trapped whilst looking for a sensible shirt, because he didn’t know the exit was different from the up-escalator entrance.
The so called love story was unconvincing. The chemistry was zilch. The modern update was more Myspace than now. The opening murder puzzle in the field was ridiculous as was it’s eventual explanation. An explanation that might have rung true or made it in the original time of Sherlock but was anachronistic and archaic in this Century.
As was the ridiculous superimposed appearance of That Woman onto this murder mystery scene (when she wasn’t really there at all) when she explained it..
Yes, i get it, he’s a genius., he’s odd, but would he really be so cold and cruel as to refer to his dressed up woman friend visitor’s outfit as “showing her breasts” as part and proof of his supposed severe non-empathy and detective prowess when he deduces she is dressed up to impress a crush? (him) The original Sheerlock, i propose whilst cold and genius in his intelligence would never have been so ungentlemanly and outright and unforgivably sexist. And he had the excuse of being in a whole different Century!
nb. i have thought of a good reason to have included Luther in this review:Luther, of course, based his character on Sherlock! and in my opinion, wins this one hands down..
footnotes to Sherlock:it has come to my attention from reading a forum discussion on the Guardian website entitled ‘Is Sherlock Holmes Sexist?’ by Jane Moffat on which there are a lot of comments i have ploughed through that the answer to the phone code (Sher) was not as i imagined (see above) but simply Sher for Sherlock and a pun on locked-Oh dear. My bad as the American saying goes..
Note on the Programme:
Endeavour ITV1 Jan 2nd UK 2012
Really, really, really, good. Just saw it tonight. Much, in fact far and away like over the hill and finding the sea at the bottom better than Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch an all..Plus it has my favourite name yet for a Detective in it:
Detective Inspector Thursday! ok i might take away one really as it dragged a bit towards the end however it gave us that wonderful pay off of letting us guess about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through who dunnit and it was set in the late 60’s which surprisingly for me didn’t bug me since i usually avoid historical things on the basis that very few ever really work. Yet this one did.
Plus it was a blessed relief and appreciated sea change that crept in after a while not to have any technology in it. It seemed so much quieter and peaceful somehow. People wrote notes! had business cards and angrily dialled (laboriously) old fashioned telephones with their finger in the holes.
Thank goodness for no stereotypical computer whizz back at the office or drawing on the eponymous see through screens all knowing the chemical composition of chemicals by cell shape..You found yourself wondering how on earth people managed without mobiles? Well, perfectly well and is almost seemed like they could concentrate better..
It was a prequel of Inspector Morse-his early life and a lot was down to the fabulous playing of the young actor as early Morse and of course Inspector Thursday who even-shock horror-had a pipe! yes people smoked OMG..
loved every minute-and especially the nice reveal at the end when young Morse looks in the rear view mirror as Inspector Thursday asks him:
“where do you want to be in 20 years time?”
just guess what young Morse, briefly and fleetingly sees?…