Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Overlooked Movies: Young Sherlock Holmes

Memory, or at least my memory, works in mysterious ways.  For whatever reason, I remember just about everything about the evening Judy and I saw this movie, and in fact the memory of the evening is clearer than the memory of the movie itself.  That might not seem so odd if the evening had been extraordinary in any way, but it wasn't.  Weird.

But let's get to the movie.  It's an origin story of sorts, in which Holmes and Watson meet in public school instead of later in life (and the ending, which I won't give away, makes it even more of an origin story).  Holmes is, of course, already brilliant, and when he and Watson meet, Holmes shows off a bit by using a few clues to reveal a lot about Watson.  There's also a lovely young woman, Elizabeth, who's clearly the love of Holmes' life. [SPOILER ALERT.  This does not bode well for Elizabeth. END OF SPOILER ALERT]  

The plot involves a mysterious hooded figure who's shooting people with thorns that cause hallucinations, and the people then die mysteriously.  Holmes figures out the connection these people have to one another, but he's brushed off by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard.  Things get complicated when Holmes learns that all the murders seem to have to do with an Egyptian death cult, and Holmes, Watson, and Elizabeth get shot by thorns.  There's a bit of derring-do that involves the use of a flying machine, making this movie an early steampunk film.  

Since this is a Spielberg movie, there are plenty of special effects, foreshadowing the Robert Downey, Jr., Holmes movies of more recent years.  The young actors are all appealing, and the movie looks great, but somehow it doesn't really work very well, or at least not for me.  It's okay, but not great.  Holmes purists probably won't care for it, but it's worth a look, considering all the current interest in all things Holmesian.


11 comments:

George said...

Good, but not great really sums up this film. You're right about purists hating it. But I like the story and the characters.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I have to agree with your final paragraph. The "Spielberg touches" are what ruined it for me, though I enjoyed much of it.

So what do you remember about the day you saw it? I can barely remember that I saw it!

Jeff

pattinase (abbott) said...

I saw it but have literally no memory of it either. Something was afoot.

Greg Daniel said...

"Okay not great" is apt. I remember it as being better than it is until I watch it again and then it reverts to okay for about a week before being falsely elevated again. I assume it is because I have a certain nostalgia for the "Spielberg touches" of the 70s/80s. Despite being directed by Barry Levinson (really?!?), this is much more of a Spielberg film (at least of that era) just as Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper), Gremlims (Joe Dante), etc. are.

Don Coffin said...

I have it (DVD) but have not yet watched it...this does not inspire me to move it up ont he list.

Vince said...

One of my favorite things about this year's MR. HOLMES is when Ian McKellen's aged Sherlock goes to see a movie about himself, based on Watson's stories. In the film within the film, Holmes is played by Nicholas Rowe, who had the title role in YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES.

Bill Crider said...

That's very cool. Now I need to see MR. HOLMES.

Todd Mason said...

Wonder if a film of Chabon's THE FINAL SOLUTION is likely.

Richard R. said...

I like this one a lot, the location shots (in studio or out) were nicely done, I liked the actor who portrayed Holmes, I thought the plot fun, and the adventure aspects and pacing kept me happy. I've seen it a half dozen times and enjoyed each one. The Spielberg touches you and Jeff mention added to the fun. To your "good but not great" I reply Very Good and quite watchable.

Richard R. said...

It's a film I wish had a sequel.

Thomas Miller said...

I'm curious as to whether anyone has a theory about the significance of the extra scene after the end credits. It looks like it's supposed to be a reference to something, but I don't know what that might be.