5/18/09

This Ain't Your Daddy's "Sherlock Holmes"

That's very quickly become the mantra of contemporary action flicks. Take out all that's old or suggests aging (even take the old people themselves out - was "Star Trek" not commanded by twenty-somethings?) and replace it with the modern, the chic, and the sexy. Not a bad thing, but the success of these films, their popularity and how fashionable they've become in other genres speaks volumes about the state of the world now. Or at least America. We no longer trust a 66-year old Harrison Ford to save us from the likes of an immaculately-faced Cate Blanchett as a Commie in an update to the "Indiana Jones" saga, so we turn to a young, baby-faced but rugged and badass Shia Labeouf dressed in not-yet broken-in leather and rolled jeans (channeling Marlon Brando's jaded but brisk persona) as protector. That's more like it. (Bruce Willis and "Die Hard" can replace Ford and "Indiana Jones" with Justin Long in the Labeouf role.)

The ripened ages of both Jude Law, 36, and Robert Downey, Jr., 44, shouldn't be an issue for the demographics that are naturally attracted to franchises like Trek, Indy, Batman, and Bond (anyways, they have the gorgeous and very elegant Rachel McAdams, 30, to appease them), but it is somewhat of an oddity considering the company. Many of the big pictures and blockbusters that boast expensive and flashy action sequences have been skewing younger when it comes to their protagonists (Harry Potter and Transformers have teen heartthrob heroes; and both the new Bond and Capt. Kirk are younger than their predecessors), and I wonder if anyone will pay attention to age in the months leading up to release. "Old Detectives from Literature Become Less Old Crimefighters in Pic!" The film, directed by the warden of urban mob films Guy Ritchie, does kind of avert the formula by going gritty, so maybe it's a non-issue (not helped by me discussing the tenets of this apparently new zeitgeist). I suppose Christian Bale, 35, and Daniel Craig, 41, both aren't exactly young anymore, so let's rework this: modern and techy goes with young and clean-looking; gritty and urban with slightly older, coarser sexuality.


I'm relieved the film doesn't bear too heavy a resemblance to another steampunk property from the world of comics (to make it clear: this is based on a depiction of the character by comic book writer Lionel Wigram), "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" what with its cast of brutes, assassins and, apparently, magicians and its foray into not merely crimefighting, but world-saving. That other film was laughable, and more absurd than was likely intended. But the film does also strike me as too strongly farcical, which is an asset in the arsenals of both Downey, Jr. and director Ritchie, but here it's much too strong. We'll see how it turns out.

Is Sherlock a sacred cow to you?


IMAGE from: Shockya.com
TRAILER from: Awards Daily

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