A Sunday morning rant by Earl Staggs
My wife and I stopped by our friendly neighborhood video rental store yesterday and picked up a couple movies for the weekend. We don’t do that often, but they had a Rent One Get One Free Offer. We found a fairly recent mystery and a thriller we hadn’t seen. On the way out, I saw a poster for the new Sherlock Homes movie starring Robert Downey, Jr.
Sorry. I have no interest in seeing that one.
Don’t get me wrong. Downey is an excellent actor and I’ve enjoyed him in other films. My problem is I think there’s something all kinds of wrong with what they’ve done to Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes has always been the epitome of literary crime-solving heroes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created him as the ultimate gentlemanly, educated and brilliant sleuth. You only have to mention the name “Holmes” to any mystery fan and an image springs to mind. In the image, Holmes is fully dressed in a long-tailed suit of his time, wearing a deerstalker hat, smoking a pipe, explaining an elementary plot detail to his sidekick Dr. Watson in a perfectly articulated British accent worthy of the Royal family.
One poster for this new movie shows Downey bare from the waist up, muscular and sweaty, looking like he’s involved in a Fung Fu fight.
Now, I’m a die hard fan of fight films. Give me Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Van Damme, Jackie Chan (especially Jackie Chan), and I’m a happy couch potato. But please don’t give me the greatest icon of sleuthing throwing Karate punches and flying spin kicks.
One critic summed up my feelings with this:
"The makers of this film are mainly interested in action; that, they believe, is all that gets young audiences into cinemas today. They may be right, but they have ridden roughshod over one of literature's greatest creations in the process."
While this version of Sherlock Holmes may be a good movie and millions will enjoy it, I won’t see it. Instead, I’ll be wondering what’s next. Maybe Sam Spade will star in a traveling magic show. Raymond Chandler will become a song and dance man. How about Nero Wolfe hosting a TV talk show?
Sorry, but some things should be left alone.
Or is it just me being a resolute fuddy-duddy?