Sherlock-U-Like II: Sherlock N’ Roll

Irene AdlerHaving already voiced my disdain for the BBC’s “modern” (but weirdly regressive) reboot, I have to say I much prefer Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes (2009). For one thing, he retains the 19th Century setting, which means that all the sets and costumes look suitably gorgeous and gothic. For another, they were canny enough to cast Robert Downey Jr. in the lead, and veer away from the arrogant, intellectual toff type that I find so infuriating, in favour of a more charismatic, slightly dishevelled man-of-action… a bohemian adventurer, equally at home in a bare-knuckle boxing ring as he is in some fancy lord’s private chambers. Whether that’s truer to the spirit of the original books or not, I can’t say… but they seem to be able to back it up with citations, so who am I to argue? According to Producer/co-writer Lionel Wigram: “A lot of the action that Conan Doyle refers to was actually made manifest in our film. Very often, Sherlock Holmes will say things like, ‘If I hadn’t been such an expert short stick person, I would have died in that’ or he would refer to a fight off screen. We’re putting those fights on screen.”

I’m actually quite a fan of Richie’s early films, but they can be a bit of a sausage-fest, so it was a relief to find that the scriptwriters had furnished this Holmes with a feisty female foil, named ‘Irene Adler’, who is clearly his equal in cunning and ass-kicking terms. I vaguely recognised the name of the actress who played her… Rachel McAdams… but it wasn’t until I looked her up on Wikipedia, that I realised she also played Queen Bee ‘Regina’, in Mean Girls! Which either makes me very stupid, or her a very good actress. Maybe it’s a bit of both? I guess I wouldn’t make very good detective, if I’m so easily thrown by a simple change of hair colour. To be honest though, she’s the one actress in that film I pay the least attention to, because the hideously fake fat-suit they put her in is so distracting that it spoils a lot of her scenes for me. You’d think Tina Fey would have learned her lesson from that, but weirdly the same thing happens in the second season of 30 Rock too. I understand that it’s a lot easier/cheaper/quicker to slap a padded outfit on an actress, and not bother to fatten her face or hands up with prosthetics… but it looks so fake and cheap that it really undermines the “reality” of the show. It’s the equivalent of having a backdrop coloured by children with crayons, rather than painted by professionals. But, my fat-suit issues aside, McAdams is clearly very talented, and I’m glad that they’re talking about bringing her back for the inevitable sequel.

All in all, it’s rather a shame that Downey Jr. wasted so many years dicking around with drugs, when he could have been getting a head start on all of these franchises! And bringing Ally McBeal to a more satisfying conclusion, of course…

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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