Thursday, February 02, 2012

Don't play the Game of Shadows

The anticipated sequel to Guy Richie’s seminal interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Homes character, sadly does not continue in the same vein as it’s predecessor with Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. It’s with a heavy heart I must report that the movie is a bitterly disappointing experience overall and captures none of the magic which brought the series to life. Yes there were some very entertaining moments and grandiose set pieces but there was far too much substance missing from this that it mostly fell apart under the weight of its ambition to be “bigger, better, funnier” [as it’s misleading publicity tagline went] than 2010’s Sherlock Holmes. Was part of it crushed under the weight of audience expectations for this to at least equal its predecessor? Perhaps, but the blame for this class of  nonsense can’t be laid at the feet of its audience.

I’m was questioning if Robert Downey Jnr. was back on the 'hard shit' after observing his performance here. While Holmes is indeed somewhat unhinged, he wasn’t a complete Section-8 as Downey goes out of his way to present him in this almost mockery of the character. If the man wants to show us he can do completely batshit crazy then he should keep it for a different project and not display it here.  In addition to Downey's epic fail, we also had an “oh so hilarious” eccentric nude homosexual performance from Steven Fry [also completely overacting], Jarrid Harris thankfully put in a subdued performance and I think did a better job than Mark Strong in the original even though his role here probably caused for a Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons. It was Jude Law who was actually the only star who seemed to take the movie seriously. In fact there was times when looking at Law that I could see him thinking “what the fuck’s going on here?” – and they weren’t Dr. Watson’s thoughts – they were Law’s “what the fuck’s going on here?”

Hans Zimmer composed a subtle jolly little theme for Holmes in the original and it was brought back for the sequel only now the score was three times louder with a 175% increase in instrumentation. I’d like to think that Zimmer composed such an over-the-top loud noisy score to both keep people awake by drowning out the abysmal dialog and generally distract us from the level of sheer nonsense on screen, but in my maturity I think not. No I conclude Zimmer got lost in some quasi-Wagnerian berserker-rage and composed this while foaming at the mouth.

In retrospect while watching Game of Shadows, I was reminded of both The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Wild Wild West [yes the Will Smith one]. As bad as this was it won’t be as bad as either of those reprehensible stains on celluloid but one would think that Hollywood would have learned about trying to marry modern standards with older genres - outside science fiction that is. This is rarely accomplished successfully and Brotherhood of the Wolf is the only example I can think of in recent memory where it has worked. While I can hardly argue that Sherlock Holmes was classically made, as Richie borrowed heavily from the techniques which have made him famous – where Sherlock Homes is to Lock Stock… and Snatch, Game of Shadows is to Rock ‘n’ Rolla and Revolver – basically Richie just vanishes up his own arse and completely ruins everything.

Final Verdict: Avoid, even on BD or DL.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *1/2

1 comment:

Bruce Russell said...

You know, I really liked it. Then again, I'm also excited about the second season of MTV's "Teen Wolf."