Gavin Greig (ggreig) wrote,
Gavin Greig
ggreig

Sherlock Holmes

This is not the film you may think it is, but it's  the film that perhaps Robert Downie Jr. and Guy Ritchie should have made.

The Asylum are apparently a studio that specialise in "mockbusters", movies that are timed to release around the same time as a big-budget movie with a similar theme, and often with a similar name too. They're frequently poor quality and not always in the best of taste. On the other hand, if you saw a Sherlock Holmes DVD with dinosaurs, dragons, a robot  and a giant octopus on the cover, you'd have to buy it too, right? Right?

It turns out, from reading other opinions online, that this is one of Asylum's better efforts - so l don't recommend rushing out to buy up their œuvre. But what do I think of this one?

It's not bad. Alright, it's not exactly good either, but it's OK as a casual watch, and better than OK in some aspects. It has cracking locations and lighting (usually) and looks more convincing as Victorian London than Guy Ritchie's version - less polished, of course, but the exteriors are all done in real locations rather than sets, and it shows.

Some aspects are less than OK; the mix is rubbish. I had to turn the volume up to hear properly, and sometimes dialogue was lost behind the music.

Contributing to the sound problem is Sherlock's voice. The actor playing Sherlock Holmes - Ben Syder, in his first film role - sounds rather ineffectual and doesn't entirely carry off the role. Luckily he's supported by a stronger Doctor Watson, Gareth David-Lloyd (aka Ianto from Torchwood). Most of the acting is quite acceptable.

There's a nice feel to the movie's vintage or steampunk elements although sometimes things look a bit too old - they should perhaps look newer than they do. Still, I would rather they erred in that direction than having things look too polished. Over all, they succeed. Listening to the commentary, I gather that a number of the props were actually museum pieces, which would account for their aged looks. Cheaper to borrow them than have copies made!

The effects are mostly good; the two things that stood out for me as not working were the Tyrannosaurus's two-footed standing jump, and the steampunk balloon was a bit of a failure. Apart from that, it stood up well for a budget movie. There's effective use of close-ups to avoid expensive wide shots. I did notice, but I thought the close-ups were good and appropriate shots.

The plot - is a plot. It wouldn't bear close inspection, but it's alright if you're in an accepting frame of mind. The script wasn't bad either, considering it was written by an American on a low budget for a British cast and setting. Those watching particularly from a steampunk perspective may be disappointed that there's no explanation.

This movie cost me £7. I enjoyed it and don't mind too much what it cost, but to be honest, I couldn't recommend it at that price. It's more of a £3 movie; but if you can get it that cheap or watch it free, it might be just the sort of thing for a brainless afternoon. It's tosh, but better tosh than you might be expecting.

Tags: dvd, steampunk
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