Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gentleman Holmes, No More!

The New York Times recently got a chance to get a full scoop on Guy Ritchie's upcoming "Sherlock Holmes" film for Warner Brothers set to release this November. The in-depth exclusive gives us an understanding of just how Ritchie and the producing staff have updated the Arthur Conan Doyle novels. Once thing is clear, gone is the stuffy gentleman Sherlock Holmes.

Guy Ritchie who is most known for his choppy, fast paced storytelling, stylized and quick talking films set with criminals, low-lifes and London's underbelly will most definately be bringing that style to the new film. "We thought he had the capacity and the ability to make a big, fun movie," producer Joel Silver said. Jude Law added, "Guy brings an energy and an expertise at physicality and action while being faithful to the period."

Both the look and attitude of Sherlock have been updated and adapted for the Ritchie film. "I never agreed with the idea of the fairly stuffy Edwardian-type gentleman," Lionel Wigram who conceived and wrote the update said. He added, "A much more modern, more bohemian character, who dresses more like an artist or a poet." The typical deerstalker hat or the inverness cloak are completely absent and replaced with a figure who is covered in bruises and dirt, unshaved, unkempt and with clothes askew. The rougher Holmes is a bare-knuckles boxer, an expert with a gun and also an expert swordsman. He is a man of action, who chases criminlas and beats them to a pulp. He still will however, remain abnormally intelligent with unexplainable intuition into criminal activity. Holmes is also described as a bit of a ladies man who has a big gambling problem (the gambling addiction has replaced Holmes's cocaine addiction).

Sherlock Holmes is not the only character recieving a new look and regiment. Watson is definately no longer a fat and slow side kick to Holmes. Jude Law explained his role to to the New York Times. Mr. Law said, "He’s a man who left the military a few years ago and who takes a military approach to situations." Continuing he said, "He’s slightly more strait-laced than Holmes but certainly no less brave and certainly not stupid."

With all of the characters changes I'm sure you have begin to ponder that the classic stories would too be changed or updated? Well, your right. "Even though the stories are a joy to read and reread, they do tend to be fairly small, contained murder mysteries," Lionel Wigram said. He added, "And so for the big mainstream audiences these days, I knew we would have to come up with something where the stakes were bigger and that had a big fantasy element." Hold the phone...did he just say fantasy? Oh no. Here's where you may become a little bit disappointed...

Upon further reading of the NY Times article it appears that the script see's Holmes and Watson deal with supernatural powers. The synopsis given to the NY Times explained that the film will open with Holmes apprehending a murderer and master of the dark arts named Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) — a character based, Mr. Wigram said, "on the notorious Victorian occultist Aleister Crowley." As he is led to the gallows, Lord Blackwood pledges to come back from the dead and continue his evil ways. He does just that, and the rest of the movie follows Holmes and Watson as they try to foil his plot. Oh dear god, this could end up being either really bad or really good.

With the supernatural angle to Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes," what will happen to Holmes's logic? Magic does not follow the laws of logic or human behavoir, so where does that leave Holmes and his deductive reasoning? Hopefully this doesn't sour the film completely. Ritchie's last film RocknRolla fell very short for me and felt just like a rehash or his old ideas. At least here with "Sherlock Holmes," eventhough we will same the usual stylized Ritchie faire, a added supernatural angle poses something new for the English director. Good or bad "Sherlock Holmes" releases November.

What say you? Do the Ritchie changes scare you or excite you? How eager are you to see a new Sherlock Holmes film? Strikeback....