After seeing the trailer, I thought the latest take on SHERLOCK HOLMES looked like a blown up bunch of baloney, and after seeing it, I know it's a blown up bunch up baloney, but this is how I like my baloney; bursting at the seams and busting its case-ing wide open! Guy Ritchie (Madonna's ex) has directed a SHERLOCK HOLMES that is approximately 162 degrees from your mother's Basil Rathbone rendition. Whereas Rathbone played a cerebral pipe-smoking upper class twit, Robert Downey Jr. plays a cerebral pipe-smoking pugilist of the first order, cracking heads and cases with equal zeal. (Apparently the original stories reference Holmes's boxing prowess, and Ritchie has exploited this skill to the max). The result is a movie that explodes on screen: observe the combustible "odd couple" chemistry between Downey Jr.'s Holmes and Jude Law's fiery Watson, the daring double-crossing damsel in distress (Rachel McAdams), dialogue loaded with double-barreled entendres and shot through a dizzying plot that is proto-CSI: Holmes makes mountains out of forensic mole hills and always arrives at exactly the right conclusion--it's CSI VICTORIAN LONDON!!
And just to make sure you don't miss a thing at this eruptive pace, the film does something really cool. Right in the middle of any one of the scores of action set pieces, the camera slows down (thanks again, CSI) so we can see what Holmes has mentally mapped out before he acts: "Let's see, I kick the chair, which hits the villain in the nose, which flies off his face and is picked up by that passing gull who drops it in the Thames, where it immediately explodes-- thus proving my theory about hidden nasicular explosives and foiling the plot to blow up the queen! It's elementary,"(a phrase that's never used here) my dear movie-goer. Actually it's a very clever technique which allows us to catch our collective breath, and really see what's going on. What's going on, of course, is preposterissimus!! But everyone is in on it, especially Mr. Downey Jr. who seems as "up" for this much fun as I am.
Which brings me to a favorite joke.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
Watson replies, "I see millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?"
Watson ponders the question for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it is evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"
Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks.
"Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent!"
--and stay tuned!