Sunday, June 16, 2013

Movie Review- Double Edition: Sherlock Holmes

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Greetings, my readers!  I know it's been a while since I've blogged- but I've come with a movie review as promised.  And lo!  Not just one review, but two have I brought thee!  Thus may I make up for the time we have lost.  Worry thyselves not, for I have many blog posts planned, and shall publish them ere the month is out.  

Sorry, I've been reading Lord of the Rings again, and I tend to slip into that speech style... ;)

Today's movie reviews will focus on Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, staring Robert Downey Jr.  :)  Enjoy!

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Sherlock Holmes
I first saw Robert Downey Jr. in his roll as Tony Stark/Iron Man in The Avengers.  While his performance was brilliant there, he also managed to do a fantastic job as the great Sherlock Holmes.  
I must admit that when I first saw the trailer for this movie back in 2009, I had my doubts about it.  It seemed to me that they had taken the name of Holmes and slapped it on a womanizing James Bond-type character and placed him in the middle of Victorian London.  (Yeah, and those were a twelve-year-old's thoughts. ;)
However, now that I have finally seen both movies, I see that I misjudged them.  Contrary to my assumptions, Sherlock is not a womanizer, though he is slightly more romance-prone than the original Holmes.  Instead, he is the brilliant, observant, and highly eccentric detective we all know and love.

In this first movie, Holmes and Watson are pitted against the fiendish Lord Blackwood, a nefarious villain who is allied with Satan himself.  Of course, Blackwood is soon caught, condemned, and hung for his crimes.  Simple as that.  Until he seemingly rises from the dead, true to his own prediction.  Now Sherlock must put a stop to his crimes before Blackwood brings havoc and destruction to all of London.  Is Blackwood a fraud, or imposter?  Or has he really returned from the depths of Hell?
With an introduciton like that, you can tell this movie is going to be dark.  And yes, it is.  While the movie, plot, and characters, are all very enjoyable, one thing that bothered me was the witchcraft and Satanism that was laced throughout.
Fortunately, all such practices are treated as evil (which they are) and sinful (which they also are).  All the same, it was rather disturbing at times, and I found myself wondering if perhaps Lord Blackwood may indeed have been in alliance with the Devil.  
However, in the end, *SPOILER* it is all proved to be a hoax.  A very cleverly orchestrated one at that. *END SPOILER*
Still, these particular elements bothered me.  Especially when the Book of Spells, as they called it, was written in Hebrew.  This feeds into the myth that Jews are Devil worshipers, and did nothing to save their reputation.  :(
As far as violence, goes, there were several fight scenes, men were shot, and one particular man burst into flames.  A two hangings are shown, and one scene takes place in a meat processing warehouse, where the headless bodies of pigs are shown being sawn in half.
There are one or two scenes involving suggested sexual involvment.

On the positive side, the film offers a smart, mysterious plot that makes you think.  YOu can't afford to fall asleep during this movie- every line has some kind of importance.  Filled with suspence, action, and just pure brilliance, the movie is very entertaining.  And, I'd even go so far as to say it's worth a second watch.  :)

While the movie is definitely not for children, I'd say that anyone twelve and up could handle it.  

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Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

The real jewel of the two movies.  This is one case where I will definitely say that the sequel was better than the first.  It even works as a stand-alone.  :)
In this movie, Sherlock faces his greatest enemy of all time- Professor Moriarty.  As his intellectual equal, Moriarty has the greatest respect for Holmes... except that Moriarty is ten times more lethal than Sherlock would ever be.  He has turned his great mind to dark purposes, orchestrating a world of crime while at the same time keeping up the appearance of a publicly loved professor and author.
Once again this movie is filled with smart, engaging problems, daring fights and escapes, and riveting mystery. Everything leads up to the stunning finale, which was by far the best part of the movie.  There are little nods to the original Sherlock Holmes tales all over the place.  
Nothing indecent as far as romance/sexuality goes.  As for violence, it is a little tamer than the first.  Men are shown being shot, explosions throw people into the air right and left, and at one point, a hook is driven through a man's shoulder and used to lift him into the air.  Again, not for children, but alright for twelve and up.

Game of Shadows was an excellent movie, and even leaves room for a sequel.  I definitely suggest looking for this one in stores, or the library.  :)

-Rayne Speryll

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