What is it about certain movie directors/producers that they bother to make a movie based on a particular story that ends up on screen having little resemblance to the original? Why did The Saint, one of my favorite book series of all time written by Leslie Charteris end up on the big screen with a main character acting more like James Bond (the bastardized movie character) than Simon Templer, the Robin Hood of Modern Crime?
And why, now, do we have Sherlock Holmes, a film that seemed more like it had borrowed the screenplay of Angels and Demons than a story from the tomes of Arthur Conan Doyle?
It isn't that one can't do a screen version that is loyal to the book. The British television series had Jeremy Brett playing a damned fine Sherlock and the direction was extraordinarily similar to the original; the books indeed came to life. The Saint television series with Roger Moore at least had humor in them, if they were made way too fluffy, whitewashing the criminal aspect of the Saint character and tossing all of his friends and girlfriend out of the episodes. But, my Lord, this Sherlock Holmes, even with the skill of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, didn't even much more than make Holmes smart and quirky and off Guy Ritchie went, making Angels and Demons with two different main characters (and how sad is that considering Angels and Demons sucked horribly). Here is how the film went (and if you can't tell whether I am writing about Sherlock or A & D, my point will have been made):
There is something nasty in the occult woodshed!
Run! Run! Run! Smash!
The horrible bad man is going to take over the world!
Run! Run! Run! Bop!
People are going to die in specific places and you will be too late for each one but you will get a clue leading you to the final showdown!
Run! Run! Run! Bang! Bang!
Along the way, you will show how brilliant you are, so brilliant that you only need seconds to deduce everything you come in contact with!
Run! Run! Jump! Dive!
Oh my God! Only five minutes to save the world!
Make funny joke! Calmly dismantle bomb/device with no known previous skills in such work while fending off bad guys!
Bam! Slug! Crash!
Whew! The world is saved! Hurrah!
Snore! Why is action actually getting boring in movies? Because it serves no purpose and simply added for 'excitement'. Sigh.
Please, Guy Ritchie and all other directors, do us all a favor: stick with the real story or make a new one, AND, most importantly of all, spend some time writing the screenplay: all the action in the world can't save a movie from being boring if there is nothing to keep one's mind involved (and was seeing a shirtless Sherlock supposed to titillate me here?).
Remember the formula: Great story, well-developed characters, clever dialogue. Action? Sure, if it fits. Hey, Guy! Remember Snatch! LOVE IT! We know you can make a good movie, so get back to doing it. Please!
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown