There was considerable similarity between the latest contemporary version of Sherlock Holmes which I view on Tuesday evening Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows. This is the second of what I fear Will be an ongoing series which attempts to recreate Sherlock Holmes into a contemporary James Bond type figure. This is a typical Guy Ritchie film albeit dressed in an Edwardian pre 1914-1918 war atmosphere
The story of this second venture is a simple one, The arch criminal Professor Moriarty who is able to employ a minor army of villains and executed a number of key industrialists and secretly taken over their business while becoming a confidant of the British Prime Minister to an extent that he is invited to be part of the British delegation to a peace conference in Switzerland to prevent war between Germany and France.
Moriarty is there to witness the assassination of an Ambassador by someone who has been surgically altered to appear to be another ambassador who Moriarty and his henchmen have captured. This the villain misguidedly believes will result in a World War to the benefit of his now vast industrial empire of weapons and associated materials needed in such a conflagration. My main criticism is that unlike the Cruise film which although required an abandonment of credulity introduces some novel technology, this film has no redeeming qualities and poses situations which are absurd and silly. .It of course made a lot of money with the weekend audience of young people who also paid fortunes to watch human wolves grapple with vampires.
The film has a number of sub plots to entertain the gullible audience. The major one involves the forthcoming marriage of Dr Watson who finds that Holmes has forgotten to arrange his stag night because he has become obsessed with trying go work out the connection between a wide range of world wide incidents and Moriarty. Instead he take Watson to a club in the company of his brother played tongue in bare cheek by Stephen Fry. With the purpose of meeting gypsy fortune teller whose life he believes is in danger There is a prolonged fight scene and chase of the Mission Impossible kind and the use of slowed down camera techniques introduced in the Matrix series and some Chinese martial arts movies.
The film began with the relationship between Holmes and an entrepreneurial female agent of Moriarty with the suggestion of sexuality brewing. She is eliminated off screen by Moriarty when he finds her disloyalty. Before her demise Holmes acquires a message in the form of a sketch of a face intended for the gypsy woman he meets and saves at the London Club
Holmes manages to get a dishevelled Watson to his wedding who then appears to separate from Holmes for good on his way to honeymoon, marital bliss and a family. However Homes appears in the next compartment having worked out that Moriarty has a plan to kill the newly weds which for some unexplained reason will help to stop Holmes uncovering what the villain is up to. The scene is a ludicrous one and which ends with Holmes pushing the bride out of the train from a viaduct over water where Fry is waiting in a boat having anticipated the event. She finds herself looked after at the home of Fry who goes about naked although it made clear his interest is only in men an aspect put in the film presumably as a sop to attract a homosexual and lesbian audience.
Holmes persuades Dr Watson that in order to protect his bride and enjoy an uneventful honeymoon he must first help to uncover the Moriarty plot whatever it is. This involves travelling to France to the gypsy camp of the young women he encountered in London to try and understand why an attempt was made on her life. It emerges she and her brother were revolutionary anarchists but found the movement they had joined too extreme (a contradiction in terms if there is one). She shows Holmes a number of other sketches sent to her by her brother who she has not seen for over a year. Assisted by fellow gypsies she takes Holmes and Watson to where the anarchist cell operates and here they encounter a former associate of the girl who explains that they have come under the control of Moriarty and that he cannot break with the villain who has captured his wife and children. He commits suicide rather than participate in further bombing outrages for non political purposes. Holmes and co escape from the wrath of the other anarchists and make their way to the Opera where Holmes releases this is not the location of the next bomb but the site from which a Lieutenant of Moriarty is to fire a shot to kill someone attending a birthday party at a location across Paris timed with the explosion of the Bomb as a means of covering the assassination, (presumably the French did not undertake autopsies of all victims at this time). Although everyone at the party appears killed there are no body parts and gore at the scene.
They then discover that Moriarty has secretly taken over the German arms manufacturing company of the assassinated owner and that Germany has closed it frontiers because of bombing. The group makes their way across country on horses with Holmes on mini horse because of his aversion to the creatures over which he has no control. There is a prolonged scene in which Holmes is captured with the intention of getting close to Moriarty and stealing the record of all his dealings and accounts which he keeps in a little red book about his person. This we later learn Holmes has passed to London police with the code breaking information and where for some unexplained reason Watson’s wife helps the police to decode and gain hold of the Moriarty’s wealth in various safe deposit boxes.. Moriarty is made penniless with the British Government also arranging for his title to various companies to be removed. The group just about escape the arms factory although Homes appears to be mortally wounded but is magically revived.
Amazingly the gypsy woman is transformed to attend a ball at the Peace Conference meeting at a place located at the edge of mountainside. Moriarty and Homes play chess while the gypsy woman locates her brother with the help of Watson and stops the assassination. World War is averted. Moriarty accurately prophesises that the great powers are anyway moving towards a world war which he will benefit. As Holmes is injured he will be able to kill him and then set about revenge on Dr Watson and his bride. No loose ends. The solution of Holmes is to take Moriarty with him off the mountain into the waters below. His memorial service is a national events( the bodies were not found and Watson and his bride go to Brighton for their Honeymoon and then settled down to married life. She brings to Watson a small package which when opened reveals to Watson that Holmes is alive. in fact he is in room in disguise as furniture. I kid you not. Whereas Mission Impossible was enjoyable rubbish this film is rubbish without enjoyment.`