Sherlock Holmes

I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I used to read the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when I was younger. This movie felt to me like it captured the spirit of Sherlock Holmes and tweaked it to well suit the 21st century audience.

All the little details are there. They make clever little references all over the place in this movie, to details and characters from the extensive Sherlock Holmes case files. I guess considering Sherlock Holmes has been a literary figure for well over a hundred years a lot of those details are “well known”, well, perhaps not to the everyday audience, but as far as popular literary characters go, he is surely one of the best known.

I’m not sure if a Sherlock Holmes purist would approve, but I certainly did. “Factually” (in as much as a fictional character can have facts) it was all there, Holmes was an adept pugilist and does make references to the fact that he utilises a form of martial arts involving fighting with his cane, and Watson often brought a pistol with him whenever they suspected a situation would get dangerous. This movie just cranks that up to the point where the adventures of Holmes and Watson are well laiden with action – and that wasn’t a bad thing at all.

Jude Law seemed a comfortable fit as Watson, and his character was well done. One of the big challenges with Watson is that he is a medical doctor and very intelligent, and yet whenever he is with Holmes, the danger is always how do you manage to showcase Holmes brilliance without making Watson seem like a fool.

Robert Downey Jr seemed like a curious choice to me to play Holmes, but it’s clear the man has cornered the market on playing pompous prats that the audience can’t help but love. They play Holmes as the brilliant, drug addled genius who is socially inept, and arrogant – just as the books intended. RDJ finds a way to do this and you still love the character.

The classic Sherlock Holmes style is still there, he deduces things like no one else can, and the manner in which Guy Ritchie does exposition seems well suited in allowing all the explanation to take place in an entertaining (and expedient way).

Finally, the aesthetics of the 19th century Victorian England setting is really well done. The streets (and the faces of people) is all grimy and the whole setting looks great.

All in all, this is the best Sherlock Holmes movie I could have possibly expected, it takes all the elements of Holmes and tweaks it for the modern audience, without losing a single part of the Holmes fiction at all. A great movie.

True in spirit, exaggerated in detail – with the modern audience in mind.

Four stars.

Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2 takes all the strong elements of the original Modern Warfare and cranks it up to eleven. The quality gameplay is still there, but the story just goes over the top – in a good way. Any semblance to reality goes out the door in favour of jaw dropping sequences. This coupled with a really strong multiplayer element, including a co-op feature, makes it pretty clear why this game is so damn popular.

Four stars

Avatar

Wow, I feel like I have watched a movie from the future. Not just a film set in the future, but a movie FROM the future. I don’t want to over state things, but after seeing this film, I know that movies will never be the same again. I saw this movie in IMAX 3D, and it was a visual experience unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Visually the movie was absolutely amazing. It is beautiful, it is mind blowing, it is the sort of movie that only James Cameron could make.

From a story point of view it is not exactly original. Thematically I felt like I had seen a lot of it before in both “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Dances with Wolves”, both entirely excellent films. Now imagine those films set in the future, with amazing special effects, in 3D and with some awesome kick ass action scenes – that should hopefully give you an idea of how good this film is.

It is a long film, over three hours long – but it tells such a grand, epic story, you couldn’t do the movie justice being any shorter. Cameron creates a world so wonderous, so beautiful, you are never bored, and you are always amazed.

Would I be gushing so much if I hadn’t seen it in glorious IMAX 3D? Not sure, I’ll tell you when I go see it again, probably for the fourth or fifth time, after seeing it another two more times in IMAX.

The future is now, and god damn it’s beautiful. Five stars.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

This game is an improvement in just about all areas of an already amazing game. The gameplay mechanics have been incrementally improved – enemies no longer absorb a ridiculous amount of firepower and the puzzles are more complex. The melee combat system has changed, though I’m not so convinced it’s an improvement, there was nothing wrong with it in the first place anyway. ┬áThe scale of the game has gotten grander, and the action is relentless, the game moves seemlessly from one amazing action set piece to the next.

Never before has a game made you feel like you’re part of such an amazing adventure. To be fair, it’s more like you feel like you’re immersed in an amazing blockbuster feature film rather than real life – video games haven’t achieved that kind of level of immersion and realism just yet.

The production values found in this game are second to none. The facial expressions and movement of the CG characters represent some of best “acting” you’ll ever find in a video game. While you are guided along the story in a linear fashion you never feel like you’re simply along for the ride. Not being open world means the game can tell a very controlled and specific story, and Uncharted 2 tells a spectacular story of epic proportions.

Truly one of the greatest games to be found on the PS3. Five stars.

Where the Wild Things Are

So how do you take a beloved kids book, that is mostly illustrations and very thin in plot and turn it into a full length feature film? You don’t. This movie was garbage. It’s definitely not for kids, but it hardly plays for adults. Strictly for nostalgic people who absolutely loved the book.

Two stars.