New Sherlock Holmes: explain to me the appeal

I keep seeing these promos for this new Sherlock Holmes movie with Downey, but appears to be an action flick. At least it’s being marketed as such. I watch it and palm my forehead. WTF? Holmes as an action hero? Give me a break. I’ve read some of the books and the character as it is in the books is more than sufficiently admirable. I don’t see the point of making him bare chested and kicking ass.

Can anyone who is looking forward to this movie explain why? I just don’t get it. It’s like, um, reimagining Helen Keller as a UFC fighter. Seems completely against the grain.

Sure, why not. I’m looking forward to the movie for a couple of reasons. First, I really enjoy Downey as a character actor and he’s made a string of really good movies lately (I really liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man). Second, I’ve probably read all of Doyle’s Holmes stories and while I enjoy them immensely, I think it’s time for a new take on things. I didn’t particularly enjoy Spielberg’s ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ or whatever it was called, but I appreciated its different point of view on the characters. This new movie may turn out to be junk but I’ll give it a fair shake.

A true fan would know the following:

Sherlock Holmes’s Skills and Abilities:

  1. Knowledge of Literature — Nothing.
  2. Knowledge of Philosophy — Nothing.
  3. Knowledge of Astronomy — Nothing.
  4. Knowledge of Politics — Feeble.
  5. Knowledge of Botany — Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.
  6. Knowledge of Geology — Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks, has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them.
  7. Knowledge of Chemistry — Profound.
  8. Knowledge of Anatomy — Accurate, but unsystematic.
  9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature — Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.
  10. Plays the violin well.
    11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer and swordsman.
  11. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.

As I understand it, making Holmes into an action hero isn’t really deviating from the canon that far. There are numerous references in the books to Holmes being a master of boxing and a martial art called “baritsu,” though Holmes’ supposed skills aren’t really demonstrated in the books.

But really it boils down to the fact that Downey and Law are awesome and the movie looks like a lot of fun. I’m pretty skeptical of Ritchie these days, but I’m hoping he can pull a few good tricks out of his hat.

I’m assuming they’re just taking the brand name and the setting/characters and running with it. Sherlock Holmes belongs to a school of mysteries based around cheating* to the reveal, and it deserves every bit of revisionism directed at it.

*that is, the sort of thing Clue was making fun of: the art of magical inference.

I remember that, and exactly in that manner.

I guess that was my point. Yea, Holmes is sort of made out as something of a renaissance man’s man, but it’s hardly a focus of the books. It’d be akin to pointing out he had perfect hair or something, just another facet of his superior nature. But the books certainly don’t have him going off and kicking ass.

Very true and I might rent it if it gets good reviews. If it were almost any other actors, I probably wouldn’t even rent it regardless of reviews just because it feels like such a bastardization of the source material.

If you want the more physically subdued Sherlock you should take the time to watch Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in a tv series that ran through the 80’s, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Last time I checked they are streaming all of it on Netflix Instant Watch.

Most of the series is very faithful (almost to a fault) to the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Plus the scenery is riddled with bite marks from Brett’s highly entertaining interpretation of the great sleuth.

What would be a good Brett episode to watch, since Netflix does not seem to have them organized as one giant series? I don’t really have a preference between options for the source material, since I tend to like aspects of the stories that probably won’t make it to film in any case.

He and the original Dr. Watson from season 1 of that show had a great relationship. The actor playing Watson was the perfect straight-man to Holmes’s constant insults.

So, you’re upset that the 200th adaptation of Sherlock Holmes we’ve had over the years in tv shows, cartoons, movies, and spoofs features skills Conan Doyle canonically stated Holmes had? Yeesh.

I have no idea if this link will work for you, but this is a link to the instant watch screen that has an episode list for season 1, and they are in order. A Scandal in Bohemia being the pilot episode.

Good luck

Steampunkery, ass-kickery, comedy, RDJ and Rachel McAdams. What’s not to love?

Would you be less skeptical about it if it weren’t a Holmes movie but instead featured a newly created late nineteenth-century sleuth? IOW, is it the perceived lack of faith to the source material that bothers you?

Thanks, for some reason all I was getting was “tv movies” separately.

That Jeremy Brett series is absolutely fantastic. I’m not into Victorian type dramas, which is what I categorize Holmes as, but when I saw this series I was blown away.

It’s so fresh it could have been made yesterday. Sure it has that old time setting, but the performances just give it a life that I don’t think will ever be dated. I did watch the dvd boxset though, so I don’t know if they gave it a restoration job or that’s just how well done it was.

My favorite episode was The Adventure of the Six Napoleons. I liked the episodes with Lestade, and I think this one was particularly fun to watch.

Watching them in order is great, but sad. You’ll see Jeremy Brett deteriorate before your eyes.

Upset? No. I just have absolutely no grasp of the appeal of casting him as an action hero. Holmes is the epitome of the cerebral crime fighter, deducing that which others couldn’t. Sherlock Holmes is a well known literary figure for that mental prowess.

I just don’t get why anyone would want to see a Sherlock Holmes recast as an action hero. Like I said in the OP, it simply doesn’t fit what’s appealing about Sherlock Holmes. Hence, the reason I asked if anyone who wanted to see him recast as such could explain the attraction.

Because there are so many billions of adaptions of Sherlock Holmes it is a pain in the ass to locate on Netflix. Once you find it you pretty much have to bookmark it to ever find it again.

Jeremy Brett is the reason there is no need to remake those stories ever again. And yes, it is depressing to see his health failing as the series goes on.

Yes, a new IP I’d be fine with. You pick an existing IP to bring some of the connotations and expectations with it. To pick that and then disregard it seems silly. Why not create a new IP? It’s not even a lack of faith to the source material particularly, it’s just the disconnect between the historical character and the reimagined one.

Penny Arcade has this a while back, the “reimagining” of Teddy Ruxpin. The absurdness of that strikes a bell with me and the new Holmes movie.