Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Sherlock Holmes

(2009)

TAKE TWO. I was sure I’d never see this movie, but I didn’t count on it being on a double bill at the drive-in with Invictus, which we did want to see. Well, what the hell? We could pay less at the drive-in for two films than we’d pay elsewhere for one. Sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.
Roger Ebert had this to say about the movie North: “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it.” So, with thanks to Roger: I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it.
You get the idea?
I have read all the Sherlock Holmes stories. I am by no means a Baker Street Irregular, but I admire the stories, and feel that Sherlock is one of the great creations of English genre fiction. Arthur Conan Doyle practically invented the detective story, and his tales have endured for a century. But if anything could kill them, this movie would.
I do not necessarily object to new Holmes stories. Many have been done over the years, movies such as Nicholas Meyer’s The Seven Percent Solution and Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, novels such as Rick Boyer’s The Giant Rat of Sumatra and Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution, with Holmes as an old man. There was They Might be Giants, where George C. Scott thought he was Holmes. There was Young Sherlock Holmes, his adventures as a student. All these books and movies had one thing in common: they respected the character. Few characters in literature have been described in such exacting detail as Holmes. If you’ve read the stories, you will know him when you see him, and you will know when you are not seeing him. There is no Holmes in this movie. It’s as simple as that. Yes, Sherlock was good with his fists, and he knew some Eastern martial art. But this witless, dark, violent, quick-cutting abomination lingers on the violence and not much else. Goddam it, if you want to make a Jackie fucking Chan movie, get Jackie fucking Chan.
This movie made something like $50 million in its first weekend, which guarantees there will be a sequel. In fact, it’s already listed at the IMDb. I look forward to it with the same enthusiasm I would bring to contemplating a third Chipmunk movie, a seventh Saw movie, Sidewiki postings, a Sarah Palin presidency, or a dose of the clap.