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'Sherlock Holmes’ tells one good story

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By Kirsten Laskey

I’ll confess I don’t know much about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. In fact, I really only have two bits of information. The fictional detective has a friend named Dr. Watson and resides at Baker Street.

It seems I am in the minority. When doing a search on the Internet of Sherlock Holmes, it showed everything from a Web site for a Sherlock Holmes society to sites about this year’s movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.

Some of these searches revealed movie critics sniffling that the new version didn’t loyally follow Doyle’s stories.

After watching the movie myself, I beg to differ. Since I have no personal knowledge of this world-famous sleuth and his classic tales, I am relying heavily on the recent Little Theater’s production of Sherlock Holmes to back up my argument.

I saw enough comparisons between the two shows that convinced me even if the movie doesn’t follow the original stories to a T; it captured a lot of essence of the super sleuth.

On the screen, Holmes, played by Downey Jr.,  is depicted as a man with an amazing mind. He can spot a  million intricate details with a simple glance and seems to have the ability to know the villain’s next move even before the villain does.

As with the Little Theater’s show, the movie is one big puzzle. Many movies seem to promote the thought that bombs and bullets are the only solutions to a problem,  so it’s refreshing to see another suggestion offered in “Sherlock Holmes.” The movie proves that the mind is a far more effective problem-solving tool.

Another plus carried from the stage to the screen is the friendship between Holmes and Watson (Law). Downey Jr. and Law are like Robert Redford and Paul Newman in “The Sting” or “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” They portray characters that will be friends ‘til the end despite the witty, but harmless, jabs thrown at one another.

The character Irene Adler, played by Rachel McAdams in the movie, also jumped from the stage to the film. She carries an air of mystery and is something of a rogue. I loved how there is a sense of chemistry brewing between Adler and Holmes, yet they still engage in battles to outwit one another.

The city of London portrayed in the movie is a perfect setting for a mystery. It is dark and gloomy. The landscape is a maze of industrial buildings and back alleys.  

Some artistic liberties were taken in the film. While Holmes’ arch- nemesis, Professor Moriarty, is introduced to the detective in the movie, he is not a lead character. This time, the villain is Lord Blackwood, a man who used dark arts to return from the grave and now plans to use his powers to rule the world.

Additionally, Holmes has a peculiar pastime in the movie. He participates in underground fighting rings. Although the movie depicts Holmes using his gray matter to win his fist fights, it still seems a little odd that a scholarly detective from an upper middle-class neighborhood would spend his evenings in a dank pit, punching people.

That aside, “Sherlock Holmes” is a great movie. It proves that if a story is good enough, it can be told again and again and someone will always be willing to listen.