From the producers of Snakes On A Train and Transmorphers comes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Except this has about as much in common with Sherlock Holmes as a monkey wearing a deerstalker. Seriously, it’s like they skimmed through one of the television adaptations while not listening.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the mockbuster, it’s a direct to DVD film designed to cash in on a successful movie doing the rounds at the moment. They’re made with low budget and it shows.
Playing the eponymous detective is Ben Syder, someone I guarantee you have not heard of before because this is his only listed credit on IMDB. It’s much more likely that you’ve heard of his co-star, Gareth David Lloyd (Doctor Who, Torchwood). Both actors put on IDTFTM* performances, as does the actor who plays Spring Heeled Jack. While Spring Heeled Jack was an authentic part of Victorian folklore, he is not called that name anywhere in the film. (They left that to the promotional material.) Spring Heeled Jack’s scheme involves taking over London with dinosaurs and octopuses…rendered badly through CGI.
Lestrade is also in the film, but he doesn’t do much other than hinder them and walk strangely. He walks with his hands so far behind his back that he looks like he’s hiding something, this wrongly casts the attentive viewer’s suspicions on him.
The low budget makes itself most obvious in the CGI for the monsters, which don’t seem to cast a shadow in certain scenes and don’t blend in with their environment at all. And some of the scenes don’t make sense at all (for instance, they make Watson abseil down a cliff while the music tries to heighten the suspense, which doesn’t work because we know that he lives as he’s telling the story several years later; he also lies and says that he sees nothing for no discernible reason).
For purists, perhaps the greatest liberty taken with the stories is that when the villain is revealed (most of you will probably guess who it is), he starts calling Holmes “Robert”. This is explained later on (rather hilariously, “it was several weeks before I remembered to ask him about the name…”) but it felt like the actor couldn’t get his name right and the director filmed an additional scene afterwards to justify it. And Sherlock’s brother, also seen in the film, is apparently called Thorpe. Mycroft doesn’t get a look in.
All of this serves to make the film absolutely hilarious if you don’t take it seriously (because it’s impossible to take it seriously). It’s best enjoyed with a few humorous friends as part of a movie night. A marvellously bad film.
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