• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Sherlock Holmes

TITLE: Sherlock Holmes

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Action/Adventure

Every Hollywood studio is looking for that franchise that the company can count on every other year to create that huge blockbuster and subsequent financial windfall. New ideas are always being investigated for that potential anchor that will create numerous sequels, but studios also look toward the past for ideas that worked well at one point and attempt to resurrect an old idea and make it new again. When a studio does a re-imaging of an older franchise it takes the risk of changing the basis of the franchise itself in order to appeal to the tastes of today’s modern movie going crowds. At times it works well (Star Trek anybody?), but other times it feels like the original ideas lose their soul in the process. Such is the case with Sherlock Holmes, a fairly high quality production that would have been a much better film if titled anything else.

Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr.) and his faithful assistant Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) have once again solved the case and captured serial killer and acclaimed occultist Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Blackwood may have died during the capture, but he mysteriously rises from the grave and once again starts his murderous spree of satanic mayhem. Holmes and Watson must go back on the trail to capture the mysterious Blackwood, but other obstacles must be overcome including an inept Scotland Yard, Watson’s new fiancée, the monstrous obstacle of thug Dredger (Robert Maillet) and the temptations of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). In the hunt, Holmes and Watson discover that the fate of England is in their hands as Blackwood has more up his sleeves than simple killings. Will Holmes and Watson save the day?

I want to say that Sherlock Holmes was well made and fairly well cast. The pacing is interesting enough and Downey and Law make for an excellent duo. I would have used McAdams more than just a passing fancy for Holmes though as I saw her character as simply window dressing. The fight scenes involving Maillet were especially comical in nature and used creative elements as weapons including at one point an under construction ship. My main complaint with Sherlock Holmes is the fact that the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle material was bastardized liberally throughout the production and what we have left is an in-name only character that is a shadow of the innovator. As a result, we have more of an imitator of the famed duo and not a modern look at the original. I just can not picture Doyle having Holmes bare knuckle box or do kung fu moves, it just does not fit the character. On the positive, I did enjoy the steampunk elements in the production as I am sure that Doyle would have approved.

Some re-imaging of older titles has worked well in the past, but Sherlock Holmes made me feel the same way when I first watched the 1998 Godzilla film: the title of the film was wrong. I was not watching the character of classic literature and the production came across to me as a little deceiving. I liked the movie, but when I want to watch a Sherlock Holmes film I guess I will have to venture back to the Basil Rathbone films of the 1940’s. If I want to watch a quality Victorian-era steampunk detective film, I will watch Sherlock Holmes. Like Lord Blackwell, Sherlock Holmes sold its soul for a trainload of cash and it is a crying shame.

* * 1/2

–Mark

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