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Canon, what canon?
owleye
lil_shepherd
For various reasons we have not got out for pleasure very much in the last month. (Christmas, visiting relative, visiting friends, dentist and hospital appointments, but most of all, living on a hill with lots of dependent animals when it snows and freezes.) However, last night we finally got out to the cinema to see Sherlock Holmes a movie that has pleased two such different critics as slash fandom and Mark Kermode.

It's an odd sort of beast, which appears to have been written by said slash fandom, and would have been better if the numbers had actually been filed off, instead of just rasped with an emery board. So here we have Holmes and Watson as buddies addicted to adrenaline, in an exasperated friendship with slashy overtones, plus a dog, plus two women with canonical names (Mary and Irene - the latter pronounced "Ireen" which bothered me) but not canonical background or character, both of whom have designs on them. I did hope, when we had the "inscribing VR in bullet holes on the wall of 221B" bit that it might be a bit closer to canon than it turned out to be.

The pacing was frenetic. Someone ought to tell Ritchie that "not pausing to draw breath at all until the over-long exposition at the end" is not actually very clever. I did look at my watch a couple of times, which is not a good sign. It is very fast, very violent, and full of trademark camera and storytelling tricks that get boring after a while. On the other hand, some of the set-dressing and photography is ravishing, while some of the matte/CGI work is truly awful.

The plot involves apparent black magic, a secret society which rules the world from behind the scenes, an apparent resurrection, and lots of explosions, fighting and running about London. This concludes, hilariously, when Holmes, Irene and the villain run through London sewers from the Palace of Westminster to the top of an in-construction Tower Bridge (that's 3 miles along and 130 feet or so upwards, all without getting out of breath!) But then this is set in a generic London in a generic Victorian period and, though the building of the bridge should put it between 1886 and 1894, it feels much earlier.

Despite all this, and a great deal of gratuitous violence, it is rather fun. I love Jude Law's Watson with a deep abiding love, and Downey may not be Holmes but he is engaging. There are some good jokes, and I like the fact that there is no magic actually involved, despite the villain's protestations.


All in all, a fun romp that may actually be better suited to DVD, where the occasional moments of CGI fail may not be so noticeable. Three stars.
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I thought it was a huge hoot, and though Brett will always be Holmes to me, I liked Watson as an adrenaline junkie. I thought I'd dig out the books once I'd got unpacked - some time in the next millenium, and read them again to see what I thought about that aspect of Watson.


There is good canon evidence for Watson as both man of action and as adrenaline junkie (or rather, as a Holmes-mystery junkie.) Also, I have no problem with the actual dependent relationship as depicted - Holmes fandom is supposed to have invented slash and, indeed, claim to have done everything first, though I own professional fan fiction (Thackery's Rebecca and Rowena) published before Holmes was invented. I also have no problem with Holmes as a man of action, and the bare-knuckle fighting is, I believe, canon. However, Brett is also my Holmes - though I have a fondness for the BBC Hound starring Richard Roxborough.

Oh yes, me too.

I didn't like Everett's Holmes at all. I liked Downey's better.

Slash in Holmes sort-of irritates me, because I've always thought of Holmes as utterly uninterested in sex. Just give me the banter, which I adored.

That Mary Russel thing annoys me even more because she's a Sue to boot.


I also see Holmes as asexual, but then fan fiction is about subversion, and if we stuck with canon we'd be limited to such things as Torchwood.

The Everett Holmes is like the new Marple - just plain wrong.

I've been thinking about this as I was reading yuletide heyer slash. That thesre are texts in which I an so heavily invested I never ever want to see fanfic at all. I don't wish them subverted. It might relate to when I first read them. If I was young and had entered into that world completely my relationship is fully formed. I lived those books intensely and there's no room in my head for more or different.

So heyer slash doesn't feel right unless it's the duke of avon because ihe so would. He is transgressive in canon. Not many of the others though.

Do what you like with new who but not old who because that's my childhood.

I've read some good Holmes slash but my preference would always be do gen in that world. How about morIarty and Watson though? Oh Bugger. That's nearly a plot bunny.




I don't read or write much slash anymore, and there are series (Babylon 5 was one) where I felt no urge to write any kind of fan fiction because the canon seemed to me to be in safe hands.

With everything it is buyer/reader beware. I read very little slash nowadays, and, indeed, very little porn. This does not mean it should not exist just because I don't see that particular relationship. You can not read it because you don't care, or not read it because you care too much. Whichever. Each to her own.

Of course. I just like to puzzle out the shape and meaning of other's reading and writing practices. What do they get out of x rather than y.

I read a couple of Laurie R King's Mary Russell books on the recommendation of a fan friend who loved them. She wasn't impressed by my shrug and comment that the whole damn thing was a Mary Sue *g*.

I dipped into those at a friend's place. They really are dreadful.

I've got more issues with it because I'm a huge canon purist but she is a huge sue.

I agree - there are definite hints that Watson can't break free of Holmes lifestyle and mysteries - there are even hints that his marriages strained their relationship.

Thanks for the review. I rarely go to the cinema (four years ago was the last time) and I do dislike Jude Law a great deal. But I'm tempted by this one, although I can see myself waiting for the DVD *g*.

And it'll take a lot to surpass Jeremy Brett's Holmes!

A critic described it as a sort of Victorian Lethal Weapon (and there's nothing wrong with that.) It would have been better if the characters hadn't been called Holmes and Watson, if you see what I mean. Taken on its own merits, without thinking about canon, it's fun.

Yes, romp was the word that occured to me, too. Not art, but great fun, and rather pretty. And I am with you on Jude Law (and actor I don't usually like) as Watson.

I'm not particularly a Jude Law fan either, but I am not sure that he is not the best Watson I've seen.

Yes, that was my feeling: for the first time I really could see what Holmes sees in him.

As a big Holmes fan I went to see it with... trepidation. Having absolutely no expectations at all I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's avery different take on Holmes but almost everything they did can be justified with reference to the stories. The problem with the canon stories is that, given that they are basically jigsaw puzzles, there is very little characterisation and Holmes internal life appears to be non-existent outside of his love of puzzles. Given that it is necessary to create Holmes a character in order to support a film I don't think there was anything that contradicted canon! In fact in scenes with officials Downey was very close to the story-Holmes. What they gave us was a Holmes with a public face that accorded with Watson's portrayal in the stories and a very different private persona.

As for the long action scenes - I was just glad there was no place for that bloody battle software Weta created for LotR thanks to which every film has to have a 40 minute mediaeval battle extravaganza as the climax while I nod into my popcorn... Compared to a lot of recent Hollywood movies the climax was quite restrained!

And *wasn't* that a wonderful vision of Victorian London! Loved it.

But, yes, for sheer "that is Holmes stepped off the page"ness noone will ever beat Brett.

I very much agree with your review. The CGI fail bugged me but it does often look better on DVD.

This was the first Guy Ritchie film I've managed to sit through. I really don't like his style very much and like you a couple of times I wondered how much longer it had to run (don't wear a watch but had my mobile tucked in my purse (on silent) and consulted). That never is a good sign as it shows I wasn't that engaged unlike with 'Avatar' where I was enthralled for the entire time.

We must get round to Avatar but the aversion both to 3D and James Cameron is strong with us.

Our cinema offered both ordinary and 3D and we opted for the 2D as seriously I don't like 3D at all.


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