Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jason goes to Alaska and watches SHERLOCK HOLMES

Okay, I was actually in Anchorage, AK for a vacation with my family, but while I was there, we did see Guy Ritchies's new take on the classic detective.

I am by no means a Holmes scholar, but I did read a collection (I think the complete tales, Volume 1) some years ago. By my faulty memory, here are some things they got right:

Holmes is an athlete--many film versions show Holmes as the brain and Watson as the brawn, but in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, Holmes outclassed nearly everyone in intelligence and strength.
Irene Adler is a real character, and did outfox Holmes (I believe twice)

Things they got wrong:
Holmes and Moriarty (minor, unimportant spoiler) do tangle several times before Watson's engagement.
Although Holmes did use coccaine, and Watson did express concern, Holmes was far from an inveterate drunk during his down time, and his drug use never became a problem.

Things they got...different:
This is an action movie, while the books are far more cerebral.
I don't recall the books ever getting into the supernatural as much as this movie did.

Anyway, as for the quality of the movie itself--I liked it. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Holmes, Jude Law plays off him very well as Watson, and the action is engaging and fun. The caper is about Lord Blackwood, a very evil man who is put to death at the conclusion of Holmes and Watson's final case together
If you think about Guy Ritchie's ouvre (minus SWEPT AWAY), you'll see that with LOCK, STOCK, AND THREE SMOKING BARRELS, SNATCH, and ROCK 'N ROLLA he's really been making Sherlock Holmes action flicks for a long time, just with different names and more criminals. (And if you think about SWEPT AWAY, you should punch youself in the brain until you stop*) So he's a perfect fit here, and I'm looking forward to the inevitable sequel (latest rumors--Brad Pitt as Prof. Moriarty)

Oh yeah, and while I was there I also re-watched WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at the Bear Tooth Theatre Pub. I have nothing to add to my previous review other than my adorable five year old neice liked it, too, and didn't find it scary. Oh, and I liked watching it while drinking beer and eating nachos.

*I've never actually seen SWEPT AWAY, I just heard it sucked. But I couldn't resist a snarky dig.


Dan said...

What about the graphs and charts like you did at year end 2008?

baceman007 said...

I believe you meant Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels :). At any rate I actually really liked this movie. I have only read a few Holmes adventures myself, but I think that Watson's depiction here was fine since many of the things Watson does in the books, like be there for Holmes to talk out loud to so the reader gets what's going on, can simply be shown in a movie. I thought the casting was good, and I think that they showed that the case (spoiler alert!!!!) was not really supernatural in the end when they explained how Blackwood accomplished his deeds. I was annoyed by 2 things: 1. There were about 30 minutes of previews and commercials before the movie. The theaters have become so abusive with this that I don't know if I'll go to anything but 2nd run theaters like the Bear's Tooth in the future. Yeah people are watching fewer commercials because of TIVO, etc. but when someone pays that much to see a movie it should cover the cost of the movie, and commercials should not be shown. The truth is that it does, but the movie houses know that we'll sit through a ton of commercials, etc. to see the feature so they just put them in anyway. Assholes. Sure it's not the fault of the movie houses, but it's not like the distributors are going to stop as long as we keep putting up with it. 2. The other thing was some spacial relationship stuff in the movie. (Spoiler Alert!!!) For example, in the ship building scene Holmes is almost crushed by a ship that is chopped away from it's supports and smashes into the sea after running down it's dry dock platform. From the wake of the boat, and some visual clues, we can assume that it was probably at least a 30 foot wooden vessel. From the size of the room it looked like it was the biggest ship that the room could build so it would have filled the frame built to hold it and work on it almost entirely except for some room for workers to actually be able to stand around it and build it. Holmes avoids being crushed by being knocked out in the slit cut to accommodate the hull of the ship and possibly the dagger board. I'm not a ship expert, but there would have been very little room between the ship, the inside of the slit, and the floor. Yet somehow Homles, who is then covered by Watson who jumps on top of him, simply allows the many ton ship to pass over them, and have at least 3 feet of room with some to spare, between them and the ship which allows them to not be crushed. I just can't see how that's possible. Still overall the effects were very accurate, and the sets were very accurate to the time. I'm sure most of the ship movement, or parts of the scene, were CGI'd and they just didn't take all of this into consideration. I agree that the drunkard, druggie stuff was a bit over done as well. Overall I gave it a 4 out of 5 and will probably actually purchase the Blueray.

puppymeat said...

Ah, yes, Baceman. I did, in fact, mean Lock, Stock, and TWO Smoking Barrels. You know I sometimes have difficulty counting that high.

I agree that commercials before the film are annoying as hell. A few previews, sure, but we don't need a freakin' car commercial, or Coke, or whatever they're pushing this week. However, I don't know if your statement about the ticket price covering the price of the film is true.

I don't know the full economics of owning a theatre, but I've always heard stories about how they really make a profit on concessions, etc. and not ticket prices. It's my understanding that this is because the rental deals they have with the studios/distributors specifies how much of the ticket sales they have to pay the distributor, and it's usually pretty high.

I've heard a rule of thumb (a decade old, at least) that the studio usually gets 1/2 of the total box-office over a movie's run. That's usually higher on the opening weekend or two (the studio gets almost all the box office from the first weekend), and generally the longer it's in theaters the more the theater itself gets to keep.

We saw SHERLOCK HOLMES on opening week. The theater probably got almost nothing from our ticket price. I don't like that they play commercials, but theaters are in much worse shape than studios, financially. Of all the segments of the movie industry, theaters will probably be the first to disappear. Movies will be around for centuries, theaters might not outlive me.

With that said, I'd certainly patronize a theater that charged a premium for no commercials.

baceman007 said...

Please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not holding the theaters totally responsible. I figure that the commercials, and prices, have a lot more to do with what the big 7 do to the theaters than anything else. I will say that the theaters have made 2 mistakes. 1. The theater experience is becoming easier to produce at home because theaters are not getting better themselves. Sure there are some examples that prove me wrong, but overall theaters need to move to Odyssey, IMAX, or some other standard that I just can't even come close to producing at home to make me want to go, especially if they're going to show me commercials and serve crap food. 2. Sure they make their money off of concessions, but their concessions usually suck. If I'm being overcharged I want good food. This is again where all theaters can learn from the Bear's Tooth. Plus times change. I'm sure that commercials cost the theaters customers so my guess is that they must "have" to run them for some reason like it's part of the contract with the big distributors.

baceman007 said...

Here's another blog with a decent post on the commercial issue. His point about TV is a bit off since most viewers get their TV from a paid for service like cable or satellite, and shouldn't be subjected to commercials either, but if he's referring to broadcast TV (which I think he is) then it's right on.