Sunday, December 27, 2009

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Only Real Criminal in Sherlock Holmes is Guy Ritchie

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


TigressPen said...


I have been hesitant to make a decision whether to watch the new Sherlock Holmes movie since I read a review of it. I just feel they made a mess of a genius protagonist. I am constantly disappointed in big screen remakes of original movies.

Holmes is one of my favorite fictional characters and I've seen every show I can find. My favorite Sherlock was also Jeremy Brett. Yesterday I watched all the Basil Rathbone movies they showed on TCM where he portrayed Holmes and I loved them. He and Jeremy Brett played him so similarly it was amazing. I feel Rathbone and Brett made him come more alive than Ron Howard did. I am hoping they chose Jeremy Irons to portray him if they do remakes of the shows.

This is a great blog piece. You said what I believe to be truth also and in such an eloquent way.

California Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
California Girl said...

ts always disappointing to have something vary greatly from what it is supposed to be.
My question is (I haven't seen the movie and likely won't til it makes pay per view or something) - did this contain a lot of elements of the "steam punk" style? (A quasi industrial Victorian art style currently in vogue). If so, I am wondering if Ritchie did that to capture that type of audience.

Hoppy Uniatz said...

A new version of The Saint is due in front of cameras shortly. One reason it's taken so long to develop is because we wanted people to forget the Val Kilmer turkey but also because we want to do it right and have a 21st century Saint that is true to the original.

Ronni said...

Pat, there is somebody using your name on Blogger to link to this site:

It's a brand new blogger profile, and hit my blog via rpc.blogrolling. My locator shows it coming from Lake Mary FL. Don't know if that's correct or not.

I read that blog, and think that you must be doing something right!

IME, the best thing is to ignore it.

Anyway, congratulations, and Happy New Year.

I don't always agree with you, but I like your stance on most crimes.

Your detractors are barely literate and emotionally stuck in 6th grade!

Carry on Regardless!

オテモヤン said...


Pat Brown said...

Oh, Hoppy, so true about that Saint clunker! I would LOVE a real Saint film that stuck to the books. My fear is that they won't be able to resist the overdose of action. While I love the slick method Simon Templer had of doing away with folks (my favorite was when he got captured with a lady and tied up. They were told that the house would be set on fire and they would burn up with it. They free themselves, tie up the bad guys and then have to decide what to do with them. As they drive away from the house, one of them looks back and comments drily, "Looks like a fire" to which the other replies "So it does."), I don't want that stupid running, running, jumping, jumping, bam bam, bang bang, and on and on for half the film. I want the cleverness of Charteris to be in the films; the REAL Saint, and Hoppy, and Roger, and Norman (RIP) and Pat.

Hoppy Uniatz said...

Well I think the only way you'll ever see a truly Charterisian Saint is for someone to do it as a period piece.

But we're doing it in the 21st century and we're trying to imbibe the script with as many Charteris-sourced characters and dialogue as possible. Whether we'll get away with it or not is another story. But if you look at the likes of Burn Notice and White Collar I'm hopeful...