Ah Warner Brothers! As the marketing geniuses they are, how could they pas up the opportunity to capitalize on Hollywood’s current everything-old-is-new-again phase of turning books, comic books and old legends into updated technologically stunning movies. Combining the popularity of the Sherlock Holmes character with the re-newed fad of “secret society” “revelations”, this 2008 movie version staring Robert Downey Jr. as the master detective himself with Jude Law as his ever-faithful side-kick Watson, is a must see.
It is not that the story-line is particularly riveting, even when liberally laced with Masonic and “Illuminate” references. Barely concealed parallels to the infamous Jack the Ripper case, does nothing to enhance the plot, but does entertain those who are familiar with the legends and the truths of the case. Exciting new characters interspersed with some familiar favorites (Dr. Moriarty? Really?!) keep even the jaded viewer entertained.
But entertainment alone is not enough to cause the most discerning viewers to sit through yet another film capitalizing on current social propaganda, and though most individuals belonging to “secret societies” may find cause for offense, the psychologically unsound can rejoice at the renewed interest in a favored character. Hidden within the layers of this film is an interesting investigation into the psyche of a “known Bi-Polar” character.
This revelation is presented through not only Holmes’ interactions with others, but the visual direction of the film. Guy Ritchie (better known as the former Mr. Madonna) allows the viewer a peak inside his character’s mind, not only through hesitation of action in which thought processes are broken down, but in the contrasting lights and shadows of the settings. Just as within Holmes there is darkness punctuated by the light of a new case, so are the visual effects full of darkened scenes punctuated by shocks of unexpected bright colors and lightened moments, that draw the attention of the viewer, each time making the mind separate just as Holmes has shown us, with the wanderings of how that one thing will become part of the story.
Although entertaining, this film is not really anything new, though it begins to venture into the direction of possibilities. Perhaps it is with intent that this movie only feels like the begging of some new adventure in character perspective. With the adventurous feel of Indiana Jones (and just as believable) I look forward to what new and exciting journey Sherlock and I will embark upon next.