The N.Y. Times‘ Sarah Lyall is reporting about the making of producer Joel Silver and director Guy Ritchie ‘s Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros., 11.13), a big-budget effort aimed at the knuckle-dragging popcorn-munchers who don’t know from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Basil Rathbone or Billy Wilder‘s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes or Herbert Ross‘s The Seven Per Cent Solution or any of those other 20th Century, pre-iPhone elements.
We’re basically talking about a digitized Indiana Holmes and the Temple of Doom times ten with brilliant powers of deduction and totally hot washboard abs. A kick-boxing, James Bondian Holmes played by Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law — Jude Law! — as Dr. Watson. And, I guess, no cocaine addiction.
This is surely evidence of a degraded culture — the animalization of rarified values and dashing cerebral derring-do, which were once admired or at least found intriguing by average moviegoers. You know that if everyone had my taste in films Silver, Ritchie and Warner Bros. wouldn’t dare make something like this. Will their Holmes be successful? Probably. What would this say about the state of under-30 sophistication? Don’t ask.
23 years ago Steven Spielberg and Barry Levinson ‘s Young Sherlock Holmes pulled the same horseshit — i.e., use the sellable Holmes name to make an action thriller with an extremely limited interest in the legend of the pipe-smoking Holmes (as well the genuine 19th Century London milieu in which the original character operated) but which would nonetheless sell tickets to the mid ’80s mongrel youth market.
Why even call the character Sherlock Holmes? Because doing so will make it easier to market with those who knows the Holmes name. But you know this movie began as a big-dick dice roll in which all the major participants figured out their fat salaries and profit participations, and that the “creativity” followed from there.
I think Silver and Warner Bros. let Lyall write this article in order to get the shock out of the way early. By the time Sherlock Holmes opens 10 months from now, everyone will be saying, “Yeah, yeah…it’s heretical, we know that. But is it any good?”
The Sherlock Holmes of Sherlock Holmes, Lyall writes, “will not be wearing a deerstalker hat. Nor will he be wearing an Inverness overcoat, the kind with the dashing cloak that hangs over the shoulders as extra protection against the English rain.”
No, no…mistake! Because if Downey is wearing an Inverness overcoat, he can leap from the top of of a seven-story London apartment building and soar over the city like Batman, using the cloak as a kind of aeronautical flotation device.