Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Marian asked,

What do you think about Sherlock Holmes, books and/or movies?

I love Sherlock Holmes! I gave a speech in my class (the first speech I ever had to give) about Sherlockians, people who pretend that the stories are real and study the events from a biographical point of view. They will apply Holmes' methods of deductive reasoning to figure out a timeline for his life and when certain events in the stories happened. They say that Dr. Watson actually wrote the stories as an account of real events, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was just his literary agent.

The short story collections are fantastic. I own the complete Sherlock Holmes collection, including the novels, in two old battered volumes so I can read them comfortably. I also received the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (just the short stories, pictured above) for Christmas last year. The footnotes in that edition are written from the Sherlockian point of view, so they talk about Sherlock as if he is a real person, and attribute any inconsistencies to printer's errors, or to Watson deliberately changing the dates to protect the innocent. It is very interesting to read.

The  writing in these stories is excellent. Most of them are from Watson's point of view, two are 'written' by Sherlock himself, and at least one is told in the ambiguous third person. The style of the writing is simple compared to many other Victorian authors, Charles Dickens or Elizabeth Gaskell, for example, but it is very effective. The descriptions are vivid and the words flow. It is easier to get into the story and momentarily forget that you are reading at all. It feels like you are there with them, or like you are sitting by the fire with Watson while he tells you all about it.

"Read" poster. We  have this in our library and I look at it whenever I'm out shelving books. I love the clothes.

I really like the new adaption of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. It wasn't 100% faithful to the books, but I thought it was surprisingly accurate. When I first saw who was going to play Sherlock, I thought it was the worst choice they could have made. In the books, Sherlock Holmes is tall and thin. He has long white fingers and a long nose and piercing eyes. Robert Downey Jr. is very short and stocky with tanned skin.

I like him a lot better after seeing the movie. He played Sherlock well, even if he is not exactly as he is in the book. People think the movie is not accurate because Sherlock is too active, but in the book, Sherlock is a skilled boxer, he knows martial arts, he fights with a bow staff, he runs around all over the city in outlandish disguises, and when he is on the case he is described as a bloodhound on the chase, active, quick and energetic.

When he is not on a case, he lounges around at home, feeling lethargic and playing his violin. I think they captured the two sides of his personality pretty well in the movie. It was mostly his energetic side, because nobody wants to watch a movie where the main character sits around being depressed. : )

I think my favorite thing about the movie is the way they portrayed Watson, and his relationship with Holmes. They are such good friends they can each tell what the other is thinking, but they are complete opposites in personality. They compliment each other.

{Spoiler below!}

Of course, the movie has some things in it that I don't like. There are some inappropriate moments and some violence. What I mainly didn't like the first time I watched it was how dark it was. The plot has some supposed magic in it that is pretty dark. I had heard before I watched it that it is not really magical, that it is just a hoax, but I still was pretty nervous at a few scenes. I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it and I wondered if I had heard right. (I had.)

When I watched it again, knowing the ending, I enjoyed it a lot more. I was able to laugh at the funny parts and it seemed a lot less scary the second time through. The first time I didn't think it was as funny or good because I was nervous about it. It is not a movie for everyone, however, so if you haven't seen it you may want to look up a review first.

If the movie doesn't sound like it's to your taste, at least read the books! They are two completely different things, anyway, and the books are amazing. I have read them all several times, and occasionally read a random selection from the short stories when I'm in between books.
I love Sherlock Holmes!



Sangu said...

LOVE the stories, but I can't say I enjoyed the movie. It generally put me off.

Tarissa said...

Hi Jane!
I'm one of your newest followers. Just found you the other day and I don't think I've had the chance yet to leave a comment.

I couldn't pass up the chance when I read this blog post though. I LOVE SHERLOCK HOLMES. I haven't read all the stories yet, because I like to savor each and every one. They are so intriguing to me & I've never read anything like Sherlock Holmes.

I am so glad to have read your thoughts about the new movie that was just released. I haven't been very eager to watch it, because I just don't think that I would like the movie. After reading what you said about it, I'm pretty sure I won't watch it. My fears were confirmed, I guess. That's fine with me though, because I watch all the old Sherlock Holmes shows. They are almost just as awesome as the books!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! :~D
~ Tarissa

Elizabeth said...

Hey Jane!

I know you from Notes from Elven Princesses and I though i would check it out. I love it and it is pretty awesome.

To get back on topic, I love Sherlock Holmes, and although the movie wasn't exactly faithful, I loved it too. It was a really good movie and Robert Downey JR. did a pretty good job as Sherlock Holmes. Jude Law was pretty amazing as Dr. Watson as well. All in all, I really liked it although it wasn't as faithful as it could have been.