Just saw this film on DVD, and I liked it. Yep, it’s a revisionist version of Sherlock Holmes in a modern action-blockbuster idiom, but in its own way it’s more faithful to the original stories than most filmic adaptations. It had some good homages, not only to Conan Doyle’s original stories, but to earlier adaptations such as the Granada series with Jeremy Brett (homaged in the first shot of Baker Street, mimicking its titles, and in Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes voice, which showed some influence from Brett). The characterizations were on target, the continuity details fairly good (allowing for creative license here and there), and the depiction of Holmes’s deductive methods and problem-solving was interesting. Good to see a competent, intelligent Watson who’s learned to be almost as good a detective as Holmes, and it’s interesting to see the fact of his marriage worked into the story.
And as an action blockbuster, it worked pretty well, without too badly violating the plausibility of its setting (aside from some physical impossibilities like the cattle prod sending the big guy, Dredger, flying several feet through the air). I was suitably entertained.
I have mixed feelings about Irene Adler’s role here. I hate it when adaptations portray Adler as a love interest for Holmes. That’s not it at all. Holmes was fascinated by Adler because of his deeply rooted sexism. He took it for granted that men were intellectual and women emotional, and that emotion was useless. The idea that he could be outsmarted by anyone was shocking, but being outsmarted by a woman was beyond his ability to comprehend. It contradicted his whole view of existence, and he was unable to figure it out — hence his fixation. But on the other hand, I can understand the need to go in more of a “love interest” direction in a film like this, and it was handled better than in some adaptations I’ve seen (like that awful Sherlock Holmes in New York with a mindbogglingly miscast Roger Moore as Holmes), since Adler was the aggressor throughout and was portrayed as suitably brilliant, devious, and manipulative. I think Rachel McAdams is too young for the role, and I’m not entirely convinced by her as a brilliant, cunning, strong-willed foe, but what the hey, she’s pretty hot. (The one thing I repeatedly found myself thinking as I watched her was that she’d be perfect for a live-action version of Betty Boop.)
Mark Strong did an effective job as the villain Lord Blackwood, but I was more interested by the fact that he’s playing Sinestro in the upcoming Green Lantern film. And as I watched him, I found myself thinking, “You know, he does look like Sinestro.”
I was lukewarm on Jude Law as Watson. He did an okay job, but it didn’t really grab me. The actress playing his wife-to-be, Kelly Reilly, is rather enchanting, however. I hope she has a larger role in the sequel.
But as with the Iron Man films, it’s Downey’s performance that’s really the main draw. And yet he manages to create a character very distinct from Tony Stark. In a lot of ways, Stark and Holmes are much alike — dissolute, eccentric geniuses with self-destructive habits and abrasive personalities. Yet Downey makes them distinct, largely through his vocal performance. He really does do a very convincing English accent, at least to my ears, and brings more bass and resonance to his voice than I’m used to hearing in it (that’s the Brett influence).
At first I was unhappy seeing that Hans Zimmer did the score, since I was expecting another blaring wallpaper score like Inception had. But he actually did a pretty distinctive and interesting score with unusual instrumentation and a more melodic, leitmotif-driven approach than I expect from Zimmer.
All in all, a pretty effective and entertaining film. Sometimes I regret that films these days always have to be so big and elaborate and over-the-top, but as that kind of film goes, this is a good entry. I look forward to the sequels.
I’ve just finished rereading my two Marvel Comics novels (the ones I wrote, that is, X-Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder), and I realized that for some reason I like to reread them a lot more than I do my Trek fiction. Maybe because I’ve usually got a new Trek project in the works and that holds my attention. Anyway, I’ve been giving some thought to rereading my Trek stuff, just to keep my memory fresh about it, and I thought it might be nice to read it all in chronological order. So I thought I’d put together a list of the chronological order for my fiction (going by the main portion of the work as opposed to any flashbacks or prologues or what-have-you). And I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone if I made the list here, since I haven’t done much posting lately.
So here goes, the chronological order of all published Star Trek fiction by Christopher L. Bennett, based on the assumptions I make in my own chronology, and numbered in the order they were published:
- 6: TOS: “As Others See Us”: August 2269
- 3: TOS: Ex Machina: October-November 2273
- 7: TOS: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again: January 2274; November 2279; December 2282; September 2283
- 8: TNG: The Buried Age: May-August 2355; October 2358-May 2360; June 2363-January 2364
- 9: TNG: “Friends With the Sparrows”: October-November 2371
- 2: DS9: “Lov’d I Not Honor More”: January 2374
- 10: VGR: Places of Exile: January-February 2374; August-November 2374; June-September 2375; February 2376 (alternate timeline)
- 4: VGR: “Brief Candle”: February 2376
- 1: SCE: Aftermath: August 2376
- 12: TTN: “Empathy”: October 2376 (Mirror Universe)
- 5: TTN: Orion’s Hounds: February-March 2380
- 11: TNG: Greater Than the Sum: September 2380-January 2381
- 13: TTN: Over a Torrent Sea: (Prologue) February-April 2381; (body) July-August 2381
I didn’t include Seek a Newer World because it hasn’t been published and I can’t know how it might change if it ever does get the go-ahead; however, the version I wrote is set in October-December 2258, which would put it at the beginning of the list. As for DTI: Watching the Clock, I don’t want to give too much away yet, but the main portion of the narrative takes place overlapping and after Over a Torrent Sea, in 2381-82.
So the most recent thing I’ve had published is also the most recent chronologically, and that will still be true once DTI comes out. However, if SaNW had come out on schedule, then my most recent published work would’ve been set the earliest.
Some interesting patterns there. I’ve got a block of three works, from #7 to #9, where the writing order and chronological order match up. Moreover, of the first three things I wrote, each took place earlier than the last, and everything from #6 to #11 was moving forward chronologically.
In the coincidence department, my chronology lists Places of Exile as starting two days before “Lov’d I Not Honor More” begins and ending two days after “Brief Candle” ends. Other than that, the shortest gap between two works set in the same timeline is between GTTS and OaTS, with only seven weeks separating them. To date, I have no overlaps between works set in the same timeline, but that will change when DTI comes out.
So am I going to reread all my stuff? I don’t know. If so, probably not all in one clump. But if anyone out there wants to read it all in chronological order, there’s your reading list.