Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Secret Origin Of Sherlock Holmes!

1985's Young Sherlock Holmes, apparently also bearing the better title Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear, is a disappointment. Full of charming young actors and some curious and eccentric looking older actors this is a story that never achieves full boil. But there are some things to like.

This movie is clearly of its era, and the classic Sherlock Holmes environment is bonded with more over-the-top action adventure. That's understandable but regrettable as there is very little mystery here. And for a Holmes story that's deadly. From the very beginning of the movie, little is held back from the audience, and any moviegoer of any experience will spot the villains almost immediately. Arguably this was intended for a younger crowd and so it's perhaps unfair to judge it too harshly along these lines, but it weakens the effort in my mind.

Elizabeth, Watson and Holmes
The story deviates from the classic canon in that this story has Holmes and Watson meet at teens in boarding school. Holmes is already a striking figure of high intellect and driving curiosity and Watson is a younger student who wants a friend, but also a standard career in medicine. Adventure gets in the way when older men from various walks of life begin getting killed in various ways, all of them striking and out of character. Holmes tries to interest Lestrade of Scotland Yard, but this younger Lestrade seems even dimmer than usual. New on the scene is a lovely young woman named Elizabeth who has stolen Sherlock's heart and their teenage love affair is key to the theme of this tale which ends up involving the young stalwarts with a deadly Egyptian cult.

Stop-Motion Beastie?
The story could've been much more interesting if the viewer was not aware from he beginning that the old men who are killed are seeing hallucinations and not actual figures of seemingly supernatural origin. But again we know almost instantly what is afoot, even if Sherlock and the others do not. Clues such as they are, are either too obscure to convince or too obvious to miss and so not credible in either case.

This movie imagines itself to be a "secret origin" of sorts for Sherlock Holmes and we see him acquire some of the aspects of his famous figure, among them a deerstalker cap, a Calabash pipe, and an Inverness cape.
And we learn why Holmes holds women at such distance, but it's all a bit much to explain so little. There is a neat coda ending (watch the credits for sure) which gives another clue, but it's too little to late to save this misadventure.

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