Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lamentations, A Thought, and My Inconstancy

This is a three-parter, folks.



LAMENTATIONS: The Packers lost. I am a Packers fan. Therefore, I lament. Now, the referees were definitely failing, including missing some pretty blatant fouls by Arizona. But there were some no-calls on Green Bay as well, and I don't like making excuses, so I don't think the refs were to blame for the Green Bay loss. Green Bay was to blame for the Green Bay loss. This wasn't a streaky Cardinals team hitting a hot streak--Arizona didn't win the game, Green Bay lost it. The Packers' constant miscommunications on defense made Kurt Warner look amazing. The defense was rattled, or psyched themselves out, or was nervous in the big game, or...something. Whatever happened, the Arizona Cardinals can thank the Packers for handing them a game which they probably wouldn't have won otherwise.

A THOUGHT: What if there were a ban--something copyrightish or something--on referencing or even being influenced by any recorded creative work? What if people were forced to be truly (*gasp*) creative on their own? No remakes or reboots in the film world; no covers in the music world; no visual influence in the realm of visual arts; no fanfics in appealing thought, is it not?

MY INCONSTANCY: is that I went to see Sherlock Holmes. Yes, I did. Even after that scathing review I wrote way back when...see? Toldja I was inconstant! Oops, I feel some Shakespeare coming on.

This is Balthasar's song from Much Ado About Nothing, II.3.60-75:
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more;
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Or dumps so dull and heavey;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey, nonny, nonny.

There. I'm doing better. Anyway...where was I? Oh yes, my inconstancy. I went to see Sherlock Holmes, and I was entertained. I shouldn't have gone, because Guy Ritchie does that to me—his films entertain me. I didn't walk out of the theatre, though perhaps I should have, the travesties committed on Holmes' character were so blatant. But that belongs in my synopsis.

Which is here: Sherlock Holmes is the most complete, most expensive, most culturally acceptable entry in the steampunk sub-subgenre that I have yet encountered. As an interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's groundbreaking detective works, the film fails, except for in one regard: the story would have been acceptable to Conan Doyle. I'm going to turn over a new leaf here and not be a spoiler, so I'll just say that the formula, narrative and thematically narrative, is one which Conan Doyle utilized repeatedly in some of his later Holmes stories. I will not discuss the characters, except to say that I thought Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler was not as bad as I expected. I'd heard horrible reviews of her, and--while she was certainly not the Adler I envisioned--she was convincing in the role. Holmes' relative modern-ness (Tony Stark Goes To 1890's England was the alternate title I composed for the film, back in July) I will not address, because nothing needs be said about it. Downey, Jr. is not Sherlock Holmes--that sums it up. Jude Law does a passable job as Dr. John Watson, Mark Strong's villain is a bit flat but nevertheless intriguing, and Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) is excellent indeed. Cinematographically, it's steampunk, but it works. There's my analysis.

Oh, one more thing. It seems that some are assigning homosexual overtones to the Holmes/Watson relationship (including Mr. Robert Downey, Jr., himself). I was concerned about this, too, because it would be a VERY serious character departure from the canon--Holmes is a depressingly sour misogynist AND misanthropist, and Watson is speculated to have had as many as five wives. After seeing Sherlock Holmes, I don't believe that Holmes/Watson is meant to be
homosexual--homoerotic, perhaps, but not homosexual. The men are both exceedingly straight, and while there are moments which could be construed as homosexual by someone looking to "twist the facts to fit their theories", the scenes, when viewed in the context of the entire movie, color more richly the unique pre-"bromance" relationship which Holmes and Watson share—in the film and in the source material. They appreciate each other's abilities--they even feel friendship or camaraderie for each other--but, in true British fashion, won't say anything, because that would be peculiar. This leads to interesting scenes like the one where they're sitting side-by-side on the bed, not saying much, but each obviously appreciating the other's important role in all of their work to that point. It's easy to see how that scene could be construed by a biased or a sloppy observer to be homosexual, but I think that the most that can be objectively assumed is accidental homoerotic overtones.

So that's all from me. I must retire to weep over the fall of the Packers.

Long live three-parters!

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