sherlock holmes 300x225 A Game Of Shadows: The Sherlock Holmes 2 ReviewBy Sunil Kumar

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It is kind of late to write a review on this movie, since it’s already been some time since this one was released. But, being an avid fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories and films since childhood, I want to write something about this modern rehashed version of the Holmes tale.

The Bohemian spirit of this great detective always appealed to me. Also, his partial loathing of women. Being an Englishman, I believe he would have seen the other side in a jiffy, they are prone to such marvelous self-serving eccentricities. When the Scotsman Arthur Conan Doyle wrote these stories nearly a hundred years back in Victorian London, he would have never imagined that he would get such a loyal following globally.

Today’s Holmes: Robert Downey Jr. is cleverly packaged to bridge the gap between the old conception of the staid, pompous, rule Britannia Holmes and today’s slightly challenged Englishman. They lost the empire, so now we’ve got Hollywood selling a global vision. The sequel was much more interesting than the original. The actual stories were interesting, with Watson reminiscing about his adventures in India, the Afghan wars and then finding the intriguing, introspective, charismatic Holmes. Despite the marked racial overtones, they are interesting stories.

The actual 221B Baker Street is much more interesting imaginatively rather than the museum we have in London. The contemporary movie version of Holmes is a strange eclectic mix, a cross between an intellectual and a vagabond. The earlier versions of Holmes were apparently more civil, with a more bumbling and endearing Sherlock tackling villains in endless television adaptations and movies.

Holmes as a protagonist in a mass network of evil is interesting, and many Indians have also based stories based on this enigmatic figure. Back to the movie, a massive conspiracy is being hatched by the evil Professor Moriarty. Only Sherlock Holmes knows that he is doing all of this to foment war between France and Germany, and bring the continent to a perilous state.

The movies bring us close to a new conception of reality, sometimes stranger than fiction, and sometimes mirroring it. As a thinking being, some of us are intrinsically drawn to the larger-than-life celluloid version of life, while many others are usually nonchalant.

The British aesthetic sensibility combined with American idioms is now packaged and sold to people around the world. Every country around the world now speaks its own brand of English, influenced by the Anglo-American axis. In India, the language of the colonizer has permeated our sensibilities to the extent that many people have adopted it as their native tongue. Yet the richness of our local traditions is still tremendous.

Back to the Holmes story, in the movie. The film is funny and sometimes entertaining, with Sherlock’s brother Mycroft more unique than he was in the stories. Stephen Fry was interesting in this role, and Guy Ritchie has made the character more of a buffoon than he was in the England of a century back. In those stories, Mycroft was more of an intellectual labyrinth and a walking encyclopedia, whom the cerebral Sherlock consulted.

The dawn of a new era means Mycroft is now pandering to the gallery. And, most of us now accustomed to a quick-fix Hollywood formula, get taken in by the glitzy marketing of the movies. This movie is partially entertaining, partially boring, and occasionally funny.

The very intellectual Holmes in the hundred-year old stories can instantly captivate readers globally, hence the charm. To be truly faithful to the Arthur Conan Doyle oeuvre, I think the cold and snide potrayal in the television series was more symbolic of a mentally imagined England. The real one as it exists today is a strange joke, an international melange. And, it is probably better than the multiple worlds that may have existed nearly sixty years back. Accepted fact, that the natives of the Orient or South America et al would have found the place weird.

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Well, again my imagination gets the better of me. I do not know how people actually were all those years back, and how the world would have been depending on the individuals you meet. It is guaranteed that words typed in a CMS have a life of their own, inside this narrow window, weaving their way to eternity, while the rest of you indulge in your daily gift of the gab. I am partially grateful to technology.

So, the movie ended with Downey Jr. apparently coming back from the Reichenbach falls safe and sound. And I imagined life as a wish-fulfilling creative exercise that speaks to me from here to eternity.

 

 

 

 A Game Of Shadows: The Sherlock Holmes 2 Review
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