A surprising thing happened over the weekend. No, my broken leg didn’t miraculously heal itself prompting me to toss aside my crutches and cry “I can walk!” It wasn’t quite that surprising. But it was rather unexpected.
As I’m laid up with a broken femur, I can’t do very much at the moment and decided on Saturday to re-watch Guy Ritchie’s A Game of Shadows on DVD. As followers of my blog will recall, I’m not exactly a fan of Mr Ritchie and his big, loud, blockbusting interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve been quite scathing about them in the past and didn’t like Game of Shadows at all the first time I saw it. I made the following comments about it in a previous blog:
“Everywhere I go I keep having the new Guy Ritchie movie thrust in my face, massive posters adorn practically every solid object on the high street. Even though I find the aggressive marketing off-putting, it’s the strap-line which really kills it for me – ‘Bigger, Better, Funnier’. It sounds more like a spoof than a serious attempt to portray Sherlock Holmes on the big screen.
“As a character, Sherlock Holmes is all about the small things – paying attention to tiny details which seem insignificant to everyone except himself, taking on cases which seem so small that the official police don’t understand their significance. Bigger is not better. The last film was big and funny enough thank you, if this one really is ‘bigger’ and ‘funnier’ then surely it becomes a parody, a joke, and a million miles away from what Holmes is really about.”
But after watching Elementary and struggling so much with accepting a Holmes who is so very far removed from the original, I actually found myself enjoying Game of Shadows. It was strangely comforting to find Holmes back in Victorian England with a male Watson by his side, brother Mycroft at hand and Moriarty up to his old tricks. Ok, Mycroft was naked some of the time which really didn’t work for me, but at least he was there – a canonical addition. We had the Reichenbach falls, the ultimate dual between Holmes and Moriarty; we also had Mrs Hudson and Irene Adler – all the old gang back together. And for the first time I did get a sense of Guy Ritchie having a genuine appreciation for the source material – even if he did hype it up with too much action and silly humour.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to be a massive fan of this big-budget, extravagant franchise, but I do have a new appreciation for Game of Shadows and enjoyed it more than Elementary. I recognised Ritchie’s Holmes more and felt familiar with his world. It’s not that I entirely reject my earlier comments – I do still think that at times the film does veer off into parody – but as a lesser of two evils Game of Shadows surprisingly came out on top.