Unpopped – Sherlock Holmes

Hey guys, Mel here.  Coming off my several month long sabbatical from Movies Worth Rewatching, Ben asked if I’d be interested in rethinking my weekly column for the site.  We’re both well aware of my tendency to dwell in my own film past, rewatching my favorite movies over and over again while pessimistically speculating on films I’ve never seen before, and he thought it might be good for me to get out of my comfort zone.  So starting this week, my new column for the site will be Unpopped, in which I’ll be sifting through the unpopped kernels of cinema (aka films I haven’t seen) and I’ll watch a movie that has eluded me and comment on it here.  One of our goals for this site is to avoid negativity as best as possible while fostering a community for film lovers to connect with one another.  With that in mind, I want to encourage all of you to suggest new films for me to watch in the comments section every week or hit me up on Twitter (@mel_dale) and suggest a movie title to me using the hashtag #unpopped.  I’ll do my best to pick from your suggestions and look forward to all the new stories and worlds I’ll get to enjoy because of it.

For my first Unpopped, I am starting with Sherlock Holmes.

The character of Sherlock Holmes is no stranger to me, nor are the adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective novels and short stories on both the big and little screen.  Going into Guy Ritchie’s take on Holmes, I already had an opinion as to how the characters of the film should be handled.  Also, being a fan of the other adaptations of the famous detective, my expectations were really high for Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes; so much so that I even blind bought it on Blu-ray for $14.99 just so I could watch it for the very first time.  Lucky for me, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes didn’t suck and is something I feel is worth rewatching.

What Works:

I really enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson respectively.  Robert Downey Jr. is always a pleasure to watch, and his awkward, dysfunctional portrayal of Sherlock Holmes definitely satisfies.  Downey chose to highlight a lot of Sherlock’s more negative character traits with his performance while still managing to be endearing, which is something he does incredibly well as an actor.  Jude Law’s performance, similarly, shows us a more flawed Dr. John Watson than I’m used to, highlighting his quick temper and self-destructive tendencies.  However, the best part really came from watching how well these two actors played off each other.  They created some really enjoyable character moments throughout the film.

Sherlock Holmes also has a lot of really fun over-the-top action sequences.  It’s pretty easy for big action to become distracting and cheesy, especially in a period piece, but the action here managed to always feel connected to the story and creative.  The action is blended in nicely with the character moments giving Sherlock Holmes an easy to enjoy rhythm that makes its 128 minute run-time fly by comfortably.

What Doesn’t Work:

Although really beautiful, Rachel McAdams falls pretty short of mesmerizing as the film’s leading lady, Irene Adler.  Perhaps I’m being a little hard on her because I recently saw Lara Pulver do a much, much, much better job with the same character on BBC’s Sherlock television series before watching McAdams’s in Sherlock Holmes.  However, even without that harsh comparison, her performance still feels stiff and out of place, made even more so by her using an American accent throughout the film.

Don’t expect to feel transported back to Victorian England either.  Guy Ritchie’s focus on this film was to entertain, which he accomplishes, but that focus left little room for creating a believable Victorian world around the characters.  The story elements don’t do much to anchor the film to its time period either and could easily work in any other era just as well.  All that being said though, the design team did a really great job making it look pretty, despite the feel of the movie.

All-in-all Sherlock Holmes is a fast-paced and enjoyable film that’s worth a watch.  I don’t regret buying it and I’m certain I’ll wind up watching its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows before too long.  It’s far from perfect but it has enough rich character moments and fun action to help overlook its flaws.

What did you think of of Sherlock Holmes?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section and don’ t forget to chime in on what you think I should watch in the next Unpopped column.

– Mel Dale (Follow me on Twitter @mel_dale)


3 thoughts on “Unpopped – Sherlock Holmes

    1. HOLY CRAP! There’s so much awesome in this comment!

      I’m already a tremendous fan of Joss Whedon and the world of Firefly and Serenity (although I’ve only been there for about 5 years now), and I remember seeing The Truman Show in the theaters back in ’98. As for the rest of your list, they’re all new to me.

      A lot of my friends in college went ape for Night Watch and Day Watch when they first came out, and somehow I managed to never see either, perhaps it’s time to change that.

      The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy looks really interesting as well. I’ve never read the book, or really learned anything about the movie, so it would be interesting to see it from a completely fresh perspective.

      Good suggestions.


      1. Glad to hear that!
        I am a big fan of joss whedon also, love all of his work, luckily he has not gone down yet and hopefully not soon, excited to see all his new projects!
        The truman show even though gave us the boom in reality tv, I have to admit that it still makes me cry, haha, It is an amazing movie, amazing acting, I can’t say anything bad about it.

        Night/dday watch blew my mind when I saw them, not to say they are the best movie ever made but i could not bealive a movie like that came out form russia, and the story is great.

        The hitchickerr guide is a great adaptation, and till this day I sing “So long and thanks for all the fish”. No idea how many times i have read the books and The movie is simply awesome!

        Yes please, if you can see any of them at least for me they are worth it..



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