Finally watched it! And I feel like being a bit of a critic today, so…
Review (or rather, analysis) time!
Story-wise, not too bad. At one point I thought it was a bit too wrapped up in the mystical/cult aspect but then I remembered that a few of the Sherlock Holmes stories had that sort of initially mystical appearance too, so I can’t really argue. (I think Sign of Four was one…? They tend to get mixed up in my mind.) In general it was fairly in keeping with the Sherlock Holmes stories where you’re shown most of the necessary little clues, only you’ve no idea how they really fit into the mystery and at the end Holmes reveals it all.
Casting and characterisation… Not much argument there. Watson was rather more active than in the books, but it’s not a bad change. I wouldn’t have recognised Jude Law if I didn’t know beforehand that it was him. Downey… Hm. Well, it was a different Holmes. I must admit that I do prefer the impression presented by the original Sidney Paget illustrations of Holmes, but there was nothing really wrong with Downey’s version. He did come off as being quite bizarre though. I did feel he was rather too hung-up on Watson’s engagement, but it’s not illogical. What was illogical (to me) were his deliberate attempts to destroy poor Watson’s relationship with Mary. (I was kinda glad that Watson socked him one in the carriage. 8D ) Overall Holmes seemed more hands-on and bizarre than I’m used to. But I’ll concede that it’s one way to read the character, since in the books Holmes does trade blows and act quite strangely at times too. It’s just not as played-up on paper as it is on the screen. I did find it amusing how Holmes “played” the violin. Plucking the strings like it’s some sort of guitar. LOL. That was certainly a humorous little twist.
In terms of visuals, it was good enough. Nothing spectacular. Costume design, production design, etc, all okay. Typical blue/green/grey palette expected in this sort of mystery movie. Special and visual effects were, as is usual these days, top-notch. I didn’t find anything looking peculiar so that’s a Pass.
(Come on, everything‘s top-notch these days. I think Gollum in LOTR and the Transformers – in the first movie – were the last mind-blowing pieces of CGI that I’ve seen on screen. Otherwise it’s utterly normal to have great visual effects in films already. It just becomes noticeable if there’s a bad piece in the film. E.g. Grawp in Harry Potter & the Half-blood Prince and the sequence where Bumblebee talks to Sam in the garage in Transformers 2. Grawp the giant was just painfully fake in a world that was otherwise quite realistic and that Bumblebee scene before Sam goes off to college was just awkward. I suspect some shoddy matchmoving work there. On that note, I’m curious as to why everyone’s flipping out over Avatar. I’ll make my own judgement after I’ve seen it tomorrow. But I heard that Weta and ILM were involved, so I’m expecting visual excellence already.)
The music gave off an Irish vibe somehow… especially the theme connected to Holmes. And I have no idea how else to comment on music, having rather limited expertise in this area, so let’s leave this subject. hahah!
Oh! I almost forgot Irene Adler. Uhm. Well… She seemed to serve no purpose except to introduce Moriarty and thus set the stage for a sequel. I’m never keen on these “sequel preparation” devices. They usually result in pointless characters or side arcs. I think I’d have preferred it if it was a story introducing Irene Adler. Not bringing her in like this just to add Moriarty into the mix. Otherwise, leaving her out completely here wouldn’t have made a huge difference. They could’ve introduced Moriarty in that final scene with some dialogue changes. There was really no need for Irene to appear at all in this film. The way Rachel MacAdams was styled reminded me of Helena Bonham Carter though, with that curly hair and the dark-rimmed eyes.
Irene Adler aside, it was a decent movie. At least I don’t feel like I wasted money on it.