So, I couldn’t just leave you with that riveting tale about Studio Movie Grill without giving you a review on what I saw, or what I tried to see. As I said in the last post, dine-in cinemas are fun if you’re not really into the cinema part. Unfortunately for me, that’s never the case.
As you’ve probably deduced from the blog title (or from my clever emphasis on the word “deduced”), I saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was one of the December titles I was looking forward to, waiting for the crowds to die down so I could actually enjoy the film. I should have probably chosen my theater more wisely as well, but I digress. So, forgive me dear reader if this review seems half-cocked. It’s based on a less than ideal movie viewing situation.
Synopsis: With Dr. John Watson about to marry and end their partnership, a disconsolate Sherlock Holmes occupies his time investigating the schemes of his archenemy, Professor James Moriarty. However, when Moriarty warns that he considers the Watsons a legitimate target for his retaliation against the detective, Holmes must save them and get John involved in one last case. To do so, they join the Roma lady Madam Simza Heron’s quest to find her missing brother, Renee, who may be the key to defeating Moriarty. Together, the trio find themselves involved in a dangerous international conspiracy led by the Napoleon of Crime in which the fate of all of Europe hangs in the balance. (Ripped from IMDB.)
Story: Based on what I was able to glean between servers, clinking glasses and silverware, the story was very well done, filled with lot of twists and turns that were totally unexpected. I especially loved the way the family Mulroney (writers Michele and Kieran) weaved the inner machinations of Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes together in a deadly game of cat and mouse. And, the dialogue between them was written flawlessly with plenty of dry humor and intelligent barbs flying back and forth.
Cinematography: Guy Ritchie definitely overindulged his fondness for slow motion cinematography. In the first movie, I didn’t mind because it was new and was confined to Holmes’s deduction of a conflict situation. In this movie it seem overused and therefore sloppy on Ritchie’s part. Case in point, the scene where Holmes, Watson, Simza and her gypsy friends are being chase through the woods by German soldiers and Moriarty’s henchman, Moran. In my opinion it was a great action scene made dull by the slow motion shots of trees and earth exploding from artillery shells. For a scene that should have had me on the edge of my seat, it just kept me hoping it would be over soon.
Also, didn’t like Moriarty’s use of slow-motion deduction at the end with Holmes. It felt out of place, especially when it’s been beaten into our heads that this is a character quirk specific to Holmes.
Acting: So many good actors in this movie! Once again, I am in awe of Robert Downey Jr. The man is just a genius and this role was made for him. The fact that I’ve said that about Iron Man proves how dynamite an actor he really is. Some may say it’s the same role (a self-serving prick who has little regard for the well-being of others until it really counts). I’d agree to a certain extent, but you got to admit the man pulls it off so well!
And who better to stand toe-to-toe with Downey Jr. than Jared Harris. Talk about a villain? His Professor Moriarty was downright diabolical! That cool, unfeeling demeanor he was able to channel while doing despicable things made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It also made it more believable that his henchman would either died by his hand or kill themselves in order to avoid facing him.
Last but not least, I was ecstatic that both Jude Law (Watson) and Stephen Fry (Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brother) were on the big screen together again. The last movie I saw them both in was Wilde and they both were phenomenal. While they weren’t the main attraction in this movie, I felt they both delivered roles that help ground the story and give it that extra dose of humor, while not overshadowing Holmes and/or Moriarty.
Most disappointing performances have to go to Paul Anderson (Colonel Sebastian Moran) and Noomi Rapace (Madame Simza Heron). While I would give Noomi a pass because her character was essentially a pawn to keep the story moving, Paul gets not love from me. Yes, I know you’re a henchmen and typically henchmen are one-sided, but they gave you a backstory, Paul. You were in a lot of the key pivotal scenes in the movie, Paul. The least you could do is give me more expression and passion, Paul! I get it. Henchmen. Aloof and unfeeling, but come on! Even the basest henchmen takes pride when he successfully executes someone. And pride sir, is an emotion you failed to deliver.
One final note on the acting, I thought all the main characters did a bang-up job handling the comedic aspect of the script. I think what makes the Sherlock Holmes stories so amazing is not only the twists and turns of the mystery, but the laughs enjoyed along the way.
So, can I say with confidence that I enjoyed the film? Of course! It’s elementary, my dear Watson!