Day 16: Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Sometimes I think watching a movie is like going on a blind date. In both, you know very little about what is in store– and what you are told is limited and to point of view from someone who really wants it to work out between the two of you. For a blind date, you usually dress up to put your best face forward. Similarly, people have invested time to make the film posters look appealing (their “Sunday best” or “club attire,” if you will). And, in both cases, you never really know what you are in for. Sure, both experiences will likely be over in a few hours, but its anybody’s guess as to what will happen. Your blind date could be a boring, self-important real estate developer (a movie equivalent of Crash), or a bit too perky insurance salesperson (think House Bunny—or perhaps you shouldn’t). The date could go remarkably well, or just look good on paper. Such is the case with Sherlock Holmes.


Sherlock Holmes looked like it would be a perfect match for me. I was excited to finally watch it and popped it in the DVD player the same day it arrived. I like Robert Downey, Jr, period pieces, stylish camera moves, and rich set design. would have set us up based on our compatible attributes.


I pushed play, straining to hear the unbalanced audio– why were the actors whispering so much? What secret were they keeping from me, the audience? Before the obvious advice to “turn up the TV,” I have to say it was turned up. The music was extremely loud compared to the voice track. “That’s OK,” I thought, “I will deal with it for this film. It has to be worth it.”


Soon, Holmes was solving a mystery seeped in the occult with the help of his moustachioed sidekick, Dr. Watson. While the story was adequate, it felt like something was missing. That “spark” just wasn’t there. I know the spark was there for a bunch of other people, but somehow we just didn’t click. The movie couldn’t decide whether it was a funny action movie or a stylish mystery with elements of comedy. The whole time I watched it (why was it over two hours anyway?), I kept having flashbacks to Shanghai Knights. Were they trying to pay homage to the classic sequel to Shanghai Noon? I don’t know. I do know that I kept expecting Jackie Chan to fight the villain with an umbrella to the tune of “Singin’ in the Rain.” Sadly, this did not happen.


Sherlock Holmes is probably an appealing movie, but just didn’t resonate with me. As I put it in the mailbox, all I could think about was what movie would I get next (that should tell me something about my reaction to the film). Sorry, Sherlock Holmes. Don’t call me. I will call you…. but probably not.


Score: C-

Netflix Queue: 474

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