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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Sherlock
Like everyone else in the world, I instantly went cross-eyed at the idea of Guy Ritchie making a Sherlock Holmes movie.

Sure enough, this is not your dad's Sherlock. Or your grandpa's either. "Sherlock Holmes" is a thoroughly eccentric take on the legendary detective -- energetic, action-packed and clever, with more than a hint of steampunk and black...
Published 16 months ago by E. A Solinas

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great Holmes film, but an enjoyable Victorian adventure
One of those really bad ideas that surprisingly turned out rather well, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes doesn't entirely work but offers enough fun along the way for that not to matter that much. Feeling at times like one of producer Joe Silver's projects for his Dark Castle horror label before the budget escalated, it pits a two-fisted Holmes against a supernatural...
Published on 14 Sept. 2010 by Trevor Willsmer


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Sherlock, 24 Feb. 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Like everyone else in the world, I instantly went cross-eyed at the idea of Guy Ritchie making a Sherlock Holmes movie.

Sure enough, this is not your dad's Sherlock. Or your grandpa's either. "Sherlock Holmes" is a thoroughly eccentric take on the legendary detective -- energetic, action-packed and clever, with more than a hint of steampunk and black magic. It gets kind of silly at times, but Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law keep the story going strong.

As the story opens, a young woman is about to be sacrificed in a black magic ritual by the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). However, Sherlock Holmes (Downey) and Watson (Law) thwart him just in time for the police to arrive. Three months later, Blackwood is executed -- but not before he tells Holmes that three more people will die, and the world will change.

But then his tomb is broken open... from the inside. And at the same time, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) tries to hire Holmes to track down a man who is then found dead in Blackwood's tomb. As Holmes tries to unravel this case, he discovers the existence of a strange upper-crust magical cult, who are slowly being killed off by Blackwood's mysterious powers. Has Sherlock Holmes run up against supernatural forces he cannot explain or fight?

This is not an adaptation of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories -- this is more a movie that takes the IDEA of Sherlock Holmes and applies it to a big, bombastic, quirky action movie. Ritchie directs the movie with a sharp, kinetic style, and he keeps things from getting too stuffy with lots of fight scenes (including Holmes mapping out every fight in his head before throwing a punch).

His steampunky vision of London has a lot of dark, dripping corners, and Ritchie happily trots Sherlock and Watson down into them -- river boats, Parliament's basement, and grimy rituals down in some catacombs. The movie's biggest problem is that the action sometimes gets silly, such as the massive fight at the shipyard in which Holmes and Watson almost get run over by a ship.

But he balances out all the action with plenty of funny moments (Holmes repeatedly paralyzing poor Gladstone) and witty dialogue ("No girl wants to marry a doctor who can't tell if a man's dead or not!"). This is definitely a movie that loves Holmes at his most eccentric.

The main reason this works so well is because of Downey. He is probably one of the best actors of our age, and he gives Sherlock a bright-eyed, quirky, almost manic energy, as well as a touch of Asperger's (he literally CANNOT understand why Watson would want to get married and retire from crimefighting). You can truly believe that this guy has a brain like a supercomputer.

Law also gives an excellent performance as a young, vital Watson who seems to have a love-hate relationship with Holmes -- they're best friends, but Holmes' eccentricities are driving him nuts. Rachel McAdams gives a solid performance as Holmes' lady thief ex-girlfriend, and Mark Strong is wonderfully, sonorously sinister as the villain, who may or may not be a sorcerer.

"Sherlock Holmes" isn't actually based on any Sherlock Holmes stories, but Guy Ritchie's sharp-edged direction and Downey's quirky performance make it a fun experience. Just try to swallow the sillier action scenes.
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201 of 220 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your Dad's Sherlock ..., 12 April 2010
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is really a review for the die-hard Sherlock Holmes fans amongst you: I'm afraid I'm a rampaging Sherlock Holmes purist and a devout worshipper of Jeremy Brett's (definitive?) Holmes. So when I heard Guy Ritchie was tackling Holmes, I wasn't too optimistic at first. However, my fears were misplaced and I ended up enjoying this very stylised, rather cheeky take on Holmes and Watson very much indeed. While it sags a little bit around the middle, Ritchie's film plays for most of its running-time like a Conan Doyle story delivered at very high speed, and it really works. Robert Downey Jr. is maybe not the Holmes you expect but almost everything he does and says comes straight from the original stories, and he does a terrific job of inhabiting the mannerisms and foibles of the greatest fictional detective there has ever been. We get a deeply eccentric and moody but nonetheless commanding and heroic Holmes. As other reviewers note, Jude Law does an excellent job. Too many Holmes adaptations go for laughs and make Watson a stooge, but Jude Law gives us a capable and resourceful Watson who's much more than a sidekick or a buffoon. References to a shadowy criminal mastermind hint at a sequel and I for one can't wait. More like this, please.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holmes reinvented, Ritchie re-established, 8 July 2010
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Can we hear it for the under-rated Guy Ritchie? Rather like ABBA in the 1970's, it's been embarrassing and pretty 'uncool' for 'serious' film fans to admit that Ritchie is a hugely skilled and witty movie maker. Ritchie, London, Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr + a big Hollywood budget - what's not to like? Cheer yourself up and see this film. Modern, sharp, witty, fast moving - Victorian London meets James Bond. Superb set design; incredible photography, great script and fab central performances; unpretentious too. Everyone obviously had a complete gas making it and it shows. Good old fashioned movie entertainment. Ritchie is re-established and Holmes reinvented as a terrific modern anti-hero.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock Holmes -Slick and fun take on the legend, 29 Nov. 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Over the years the character of Sherlock Holmes has been translated onto screen in a variety of ways - true to Conan Doyle's original (Jeremy Brett), as a comic figure (Michael Caine), as a propaganda instrument (Basil Rathbone) and by a host of others in ways too numerous to mention here. But of all of them, this has to be the most fun.

Guy Ritchie's vision of the Holmes legend manages to get a few names, the odd line and occasional detail from the books, but most of the character of Holmes has been reinvented into Robert Downey Jr's very knowing hero. Watson is transformed into much more of a man of action in one of Jude Law's better performances, and it is good to see the Doctor portrayed as a dependable intelligent man capable of his own thought and action, rather than the blind bumbling fool he is often seen as. Ritchie's directorial vision of a Victorian London just starting to enter the modern age, especially with the pictures of the construction of great monuments and buildings we all take for granted today, is definitely refreshing.

With an almost steam punk atmosphere to his version of London, Ritchie weaves a tale around the struggle of Holmes' logic against what appears to be black magic and the resurrection of the dead. Utilising his revinvention of the characters to its utmost he gives us a well paced action film full of twists, turns, surprised and comedy. It's slick, it's fun, and it's damnably entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would guess that serious Holmsians will hate it, but taken on its own terms as a fun film it's admirable and gets a whole hearted five stars from me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the future, 28 Jun. 2010
By 
John Ward (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Was Holmes really a violent action hero as Robert Downey Jr portrays him? Go back to the books and you will find he was! Fights, chases, improbable deductions, a horribly convoluted plot that nevertheless makes perfect sense ... everything Conan Doyle gave us is here in spades.

Just a few niggles that stop it getting 5 stars:
* Downey, like all Yanks, mumbles like hell and it is impossible to understand what he is saying. You will need to turn the subtitles on.
* Conspicuous absence of DRUGS! True, Watson says that the liquid that Holmes had been drinking was meant for eye surgery, and cocaine was used for that purpose in the 1890's, but c'mon ... Holmes injected the stuff! Let's see him do it!
* I don't believe that they read out the prisoner's crimes before they hanged him. Surely this is a Yankee barbarity? After all, the fellow knew why they were doing it! Albert Pierrepoint got the job done in 7 seconds. True, this was 50 years later, but I still don't believe it. And as a peer of the realm, Lord Blackwood would have been hanged with a silk rope, not scratchy hemp.
* I don't believe the word "radio" was used in 1891.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My mind rebels at stagnation, 11 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
After watching the trailer for Sherlock Holmes I expected to hate this film. The trailer does not do this film justice at all - it just makes the film come across as trashy and a bit stupid. However, I saw this at the cinema and was completely bowled over! In short it was brilliant. I agree with another reviewer who states that this film suffers when viewed on DVD as you really needed to see it on the big screen to fully appreciate the SFX and the soundtrack doesn't have the same impact when listened to through TV speakers.

I think I was put off the film because the trailer showed a Sherlock Holmes that seemed intolerable. Thanks to all the TV adaptations of Doyle I thought that Holmes (Downey Jr) should be portrayed as a dry, conservative, refined individual, the perfect gentleman. The trailer makes it seem as though the film is pandering to immature teenagers who want to see lots of fight scenes and bravado. Then I realised that I haven't read any Doyle so how did I know how the character is depicted in the books? Anyway Guy Ritchie is more than entitled to play around with the character of Holmes (Watson too) in the name of artistic licence. It seems to me that Ritchie has really provoked and surprised many people with what appears to be an unconventional interpretation of Sherlock Holmes which is good as it might encourage people to read some of the novels and it has shown that he can think outside of the gangster genre.

This film reminds me a bit of the Young Sherlock Holmes because they are both jolly good fun! That's what I love about this adaptation, it just grabs hold of you as soon as it starts and continues to thrill until the closing scene. The opening scene is first class in my opinion. The film just launches straight into the story, no time wasted. I suppose Ritchie's job was half done as soon as he began work on the film as everyone loves mysteries and he had one of the greatest characters in literature at his disposal.

The plot is of course a very clever one. Dastardly Lord Blackwood (Strong) is striking terror into the hearts of Londoners until he is brought to justice but even then he continues to haunt the city's imagination and gets up to all sorts even though he is sentenced to date with the rope. The intrigue revolves around Lord Blackwood but also around 3 seemingly unexplainable deaths that Holmes must get to the bottom of using his skills as a detective and his fists. There are also plenty of spooky things going on in the background that all ultimately link together. The story also deals with the Holmes/Watson (Law) relationship, the Watson/Mary Morstan (Reilly) relationship and the Holmes/Irene Adler (McAdams) relationship. It's all suitably complicated and engaging and magical.

I can't say I paid too much attention to Robert Downey Jr before seeing this but in this movie he really impresses and his English accent is good. He like the rest of the cast seemed to be having a whale of a time making this film, it really shows. He is funny and tough. His portrayal is very appealing. He brings sensitivity to Holmes and importantly he is convincing as a shockingly clever dick. The other cast members also do excellent jobs playing their respective roles. Jude Law seems like an odd choice for Watson and he is not shown to be bumbling or hapless. He is almost though not quite Holmes' equal. He is shown to be street smart, patriotic and a bit of gambler. I think he is outclassed by Robert Downey Jr all along but he is more than capable of being the straight man to Holmes with his wonderfully weird idiosyncrasies. Strong is masterful as a man devoted to evil, a right nasty piece of work with a lovely gravelly voice. McAdams and Reilly aren't really given enough screen time which is a shame as McAdams has a real spark about her and Reilly is a fine intense actress.

One of the biggest stars of this success is the soundtrack. It really gets your heart beating and the tunes stick in your mind. The music is inventive and fits the mood of the film well.

The effects/the sets/costumes are also great, none of it seems lame. It all looks, well, real!

The dialogue is a delight. I believe from a Ritchie interview I saw that every scene contains a line from the novels.

With this movie Ritchie has done much to restore his reputation as a filmmaker to be taken seriously. Sherlock Holmes is fresh and exciting. Oh and the denouement doesn't disappoint either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 3 Aug. 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I hate Jude Law...the man is usually an arrogant self obsessed wooden prat in films, and Robert Downey Jr well the man can have flashes of pure genius and also some blips of bilge...add into the mix Hit and Miss Guy Ritchie and this film could have been a massive expensive turkey.
Only it wasn't...it was a true action adventure landmark of genius, the interplay between Robert Downey Jr and a Jude Law who could suddenly act and act well ...or was it that his wooden posturing just suited the role (im undecided) it just worked brilliantly.
The whole film took on epic action status and became one of my films of the year, and having just sat through it again my opinion has not changed, and watching the trailer for the sequel just makes me want to rush out and bang on the cinema door.

i highly recommend the film and this DVD will not be ending up in the bargain bin, this stays on the shelf for many repeat watches.

(Parm)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great Holmes film, but an enjoyable Victorian adventure, 14 Sept. 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
One of those really bad ideas that surprisingly turned out rather well, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes doesn't entirely work but offers enough fun along the way for that not to matter that much. Feeling at times like one of producer Joe Silver's projects for his Dark Castle horror label before the budget escalated, it pits a two-fisted Holmes against a supernatural adversary who has risen from the grave (not the first project to have the idea: Holmes was due to take on Dracula in a rival project at Columbia, and it's perhaps not accidental that Mark Strong's Satanic villain is played as a cross between Dracula and Himmler). The emphasis is on action and comedy rather than sleuthing and intellect, but when a film includes a spectacular setpiece where a giant henchman destroys a shipyard and knocks down a ship (not a boat, a full-sized ship!) in an attempt to crush the world's greatest consulting detective it's hard to complain that you're not getting your money's worth. It's certainly no surprise that while the slew of Homes films over the past century have usually been reliable but modestly financially successful earners, this is the first to do real blockbuster business: it's a crowd-please and no mistake.

While it's good to see the trend of giving Watson his due as a man of action and intelligence continuing here, Holmes doesn't come over quite so well despite Robert Downey Jr's best efforts, the script generally limiting his deductive reasoning to evaluating the most effective way to beat an opponent (not entirely out of keeping with Doyle's stories) with too many of his other conclusions rather too elementary to convince us of his genius. Even a scene where he improvises one of his disguises from items he finds on the street doesn't work as well on screen as it probably did on paper. Instead the emphasis seems more on a Withnail and Watson approach to the mismatched flatmates that offers some amusement but never really takes hold as well as the BBC's engagingly ingenious modern-day updating in Sherlock. Nor does Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler really work here, never given a real chance to demonstrate the genius that made her the only adversary to beat Holmes in favor of a bit on Unresolved Sexual Tension bickering rivalry.

The real star of the film is the city of London itself in the age of Empire, which assumes centre stage as setpieces are set around shipyards, a half-built Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and London's Docklands when they still were docks, and very vividly realised it is too on a scale previously undreamt of. The CGI may not always be 100% convincing and its flaws are magnified on the small screen, but if it had been attempted in an earlier age it would have required model shots and matte paintings that would have required a similar suspension of disbelief. Best of all is the was the film manages to weave the director's love of London lore into the fabric of the action, setting in the most vividly realised depiction of the disparity between the Empire's corridors of power and it's barely working class underbelly since Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade.

A great Holmes film? Certainly not. But for the couple of hours it's on it's far more entertaining one than we probably had any right to expect.

As usual DVD buyers are left with shortv shrift on extras - just a single featurette, with the bulk of the extras - additional 'focus point' featurettes and picture-in-picture mode - reserved for the Blu-ray release only.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars impressive, but not really Holmes, 3 July 2010
By 
Chris (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This was an impressive film, and if it had not been Sherlock Holmes I would have enjoyed it more. Yes you can portray Holmes as an action figure who shoots VR in bullets, and that is entirely consistent with the character created by Conan Doyle. Yet I felt that Holmes was completely miscast. I could not believe that this was the logical thinking machine of the stories. Indeed I think given the cast Mark Strong would have made a much more convincing Holmes, with an element of the Brett Holmes.

So for me this was one of the weakest Holmes films since the propoganda versions of the Rathbone series, yet still remained an enjoyable action film.

added on 04/07/2010 - I meant to ask if anyone not familiar with the original stories could make perfect sense of the Irene Adler part of the movie - my wife is unfamiliar and I think found that section confused.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great family viewing with older children, 17 May 2010
By 
Tracey X (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I watched this film with my two sons aged 10 and 11 and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the plot might be a bit difficult for them to follow, but they didn't seem to mind as the action kept them engrossed. My ten year old said he liked the way they showed what Sherlock Holmes was thinking, the eleven year old thought Dr. Watson was 'cool' (not something that I, as an avid reader of the books, would have previously considered the character to be!). One criticism, though, we found some of the dialogue rather mumbly which made it a bit of a strain at times. Hoping that this will get my boys reading the books, and would happily recommend it to families with older children.
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Sherlock Holmes (1 Disc) [Blu-ray] [2009] [Region Free]
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