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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

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Why has it taken me this long realize that Jared Harris plays Lane Pryce on MAD MEN? This could actually be very good casting. I'm glad they didn't just bring in another huge star.

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No such luck; it's Jared Harris. Can't say I've seen him in anything.

I think he's a good choice; I first saw him in Mad Men and then I was shocked when I realized he was the freighter captain in Benjamin Button.

I wasn't too impressed with the first Sherlock Holmes (give me Sherlock Holmes In The 22nd Century any day!)

Although I haven't read it yet, I really want to see a silver screen adaptation of The Man Who Was Thursday.

Edited by winter shaker

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No such luck; it's Jared Harris. Can't say I've seen him in anything.

I think he's a good choice; I first saw him in Mad Men and then I was shocked when I realized he was the freighter captain in Benjamin Button.

And, apparently, he's Richard Harris' son. From the interviews, I'm intrigued to see what he does with Moriarty.

I wasn't too impressed with the first Sherlock Holmes (give me Sherlock Holmes In The 22nd Century any day!)

It doesn't really hold up plotwise, but I love the Holmes-Watson relationship. Still, Granada did it better, not to mention Sherlock.

Although I haven't read it yet, I really want to see a silver screen adaptation of The Man Who Was Thursday.

Have you heard the Mercury Theater broadcast of TMWWT? It's available here. As I recall, it's pretty good, though it gets incomprehensible toward the end. FWIW, I've not read the book.

EDIT: FWIW, getting back to Harris as Moriarty, I'm pretty sure that's him with the beard in the Holmes poster. If so, it would seem that, again, the movie is going to be a riff on classic film incarnations of Holmes, rather than on the Canon itself. Moriarty has no beard in "The Final Problem"--at least, it's not mentioned in the text and it's not in Paget's illustration--but it's a plot point in the Rathbone movie The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

6756042_std.jpg

Edited by NBooth

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So weird to see people "discovering" Jared Harris now. I can still remember when he played Andy Warhol in I Shot Andy Warhol (1996). (And apparently he played John Lennon in the TV-movie Two of Us (2000) as well...?)

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USA Today has more photos and gives an idea what the plot might look like:

The movie, which also sees the return of Rachel McAdams, follows Holmes as he and Watson trace Moriarty's murderous trail with the help of Holmes' older brother, Mycroft (Stephen Fry), and a Gypsy, Sim (Noomi Rapace). The film shares elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1893 short story The Final Problem, which first appeared in Strand Magazine and introduced Moriarty.

Of course, we already knew they were filming in Switzerland, so "The Final Problem" isn't that much of a stretch. I wonder what other elements it shares (air guns, probably, unless Holmes has taken to carrying around futuristic Lugers).

Here's a new pic of Moriarty, btw:

02_moriarty-pg-horizontal.jpg

Again--the beard makes me think of George Zucco more than anything in the Canon. Which is fine, of course (Adventures borrowed from "The Final Problem" as well--as did, actually, most of the Rathbone movies).

EDIT: Trailer

EDIT EDIT: Having finally gotten to view the trailer more closely, can I just say: (1) this movie looks as much fun as the previous one, which I'll take as a good thing, and (2) if Holmes doesn't say something about "a scarlet thread of murder" during the Web of Murder scene, I shall be very disappointed.

Edited by NBooth

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Of course, we already knew they were filming in Switzerland, so "The Final Problem" isn't that much of a stretch. I wonder what other elements it shares (air guns, probably, unless Holmes has taken to carrying around futuristic Lugers).

At first I thought Luger as well. But, it's actually a Mauser c96 (first manufactured in 1896). I know the first film took place in 1892, but I haven't read anything about the year in which this film takes place.

mauser.jpg

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Of course, we already knew they were filming in Switzerland, so "The Final Problem" isn't that much of a stretch. I wonder what other elements it shares (air guns, probably, unless Holmes has taken to carrying around futuristic Lugers).

At first I thought Luger as well. But, it's actually a Mauser c96 (first manufactured in 1896). I know the first film took place in 1892, but I haven't read anything about the year in which this film takes place.

mauser.jpg

Makes sense. I suppose that Holmes' investigations into Moriarty could take four years; whether at that point Watson would be just now on his honeymoon is somewhat more debatable. I guess we'll see.

Thanks. My internet wasn't working too well earlier or I would have tracked down the YouTube link myself.

Tyler said:

I wonder how many people will confuse this with A Game of Thrones.

I wondered the same thing, myself.

EDIT: Apple has a plot synopsis (putting in spoiler brackets for space):

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his formidable colleague, Dr. Watson, in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large--Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)--and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder--a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by one Professor Moriarty. Mixing business with pleasure, Holmes tracks the clues to an underground gentlemen's club, where he and his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry) are toasting Dr. Watson on his last night of bachelorhood. It is there that Holmes encounters Sim (Noomi Rapace), a Gypsy fortune teller, who sees more than she is telling and whose unwitting involvement in the prince's murder makes her the killer's next target. Holmes barely manages to save her life and, in return, she reluctantly agrees to help him. The investigation becomes ever more dangerous as it leads Holmes, Watson and Sim across the continent, from England to France to Germany and finally to Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead as he spins a web of death and destruction--all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

Edited by NBooth

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Looks fun, but doesn't look like a Sherlock Holmes story. Or, as Topless Robot writes:

I'm far too big a Sherlock Holmes fanboy to be anything other than disappointed with these flicks, and the fact that the infinitely superior Sherlock TV series has been airing more or less concurrently does not to make these Sherlock Holmes movies any better. I just want Sherlock Holmes to solve a mystery instead of running around in drag beating up people with kung fu. Is that so wrong?

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Looks fun, but doesn't look like a Sherlock Holmes story. Or, as Topless Robot writes:

I'm far too big a Sherlock Holmes fanboy to be anything other than disappointed with these flicks, and the fact that the infinitely superior Sherlock TV series has been airing more or less concurrently does not to make these Sherlock Holmes movies any better. I just want Sherlock Holmes to solve a mystery instead of running around in drag beating up people with kung fu. Is that so wrong?

I gave up expecting a "straight" Holmes adaptation somewhere around the time RDJ was cast for the first movie, and was pleasantly surprised by the number of nods that flick gave to the Conanical tales (as well as to previous adaptations--I'm convinced that these movies aren't about Holmes the character so much as they're about Holmes movies, which explains why the first film stole its plot from Young Sherlock Holmes by way of Murder by Decree). So now, for me, it's more a matter of watching to see what elements they'll sneak in (George Zucco's beard, bejabbers!) than expecting anything approaching the original Doyle stories. That said, I suspect that the filmmakers have tapped into pulpier elements in the Holmes stories that more reverent adaptations tend to gloss over.

(Come to think of it, except for the Granada series--which definitely does not gloss over the pulp--have there been any reverent Holmes adaptations in the past two decades? The pre-Sherlock BBC adaptations tend to make Holmes either far more boring or far more CSI than he ever was, and A Case of Evil is just, um, bad). Let me rephrase: I think the filmmakers manage to tap into a vein of pulpiness that the public imagination of Holmes doesn't really include, and in doing so exposes elements in the original stories that we tend to ignore while reading them because they don't fit our hundred-year-old conception of the character. I can dig that, even if the storylines aren't really that great (or good at all) and the casting gets a bit wonkey.

(That said, Sherlock does the same sort of thing, and does it far better and with decent plots).

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For all it's advertising as an action movie, I still think Jared Harris is an inspired casting choice for Professor Moriarty. Richard Harris' son did just fine in Mad Men, but he's playing a somewhat timid character who stutters and mumbles more than anything else. Moriarty is actually giving him a badass role and at the 1:12 minute mark, the "Are you sure you want to play this game?" line sounds exactly like his father.

That said, the film will only be good if the conflict between Holmes and Moriarty is more a match of wits than a match of brawn.

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A [very] little more Moriarty here. Mostly action blah blah.

Don't take that the wrong way. I'll be there with bells on and probably grin through the whole thing.

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They've already hired a screenwriter for the third movie: David Pearce.

The hiring of a writer this early (and in anticipating that the movie will be a hit) mirrors the hiring of Michele and Kieran Mulroney to work on Holmes 2 about three months before the first Holmes came out in December 2009.

Pearce is a scribe on the rise. He is writing Iron Man 3 for Marvel Studios (so the new Holmes project would reteam him with Downey) and Paramount’s adaptation of DC Comics’ The Mighty.

I expect they aren't wrong; unless something disastrously bad is in the offing, it's a safe bet that A Game of Shadows will make money.

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That said, the film will only be good if the conflict between Holmes and Moriarty is more a match of wits than a match of brawn.

Do not click this link.

...you clicked it, didn't you? And aren't you sorry? OTOH, this poster looks more promising.

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And now...a featurette.

RDJ: "The closest Conan Doyle Holmes vs. Moriarty story that's been depicted yet."

Um, unless you count the television adaptation of "The Final Problem." But perhaps he means big screen--in which case he presumably means (1) Moriarty is really a bad guy (contra The Seven Per Cent Solution) and really unknown--not part of Holmes' tortured past (The Young Sherlock Holmes) and (2) the final duel takes place at Reichenbach (contra The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Woman in Green--well, any of the Rathbone movies, I guess). But I don't recall many explosions in "The Final Problem."

Still--watch to the end and you'll see what looks like an air-gun. Which is really cool.

Edited by NBooth

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Ok, I can take RDJ as a revisionist Holmes, and I can deal with the actiony stuff. But Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler just doesn't cut it. Didn't in the first movie, and doesn't look like she will in this one.

EDIT: I hasten to add that this is because, as far as I can tell, McAdams is too young, rather than anything in her interpretation of the role. It's admirable that she's not all-about-Holmes in the way that, say River Song has gotten to be all-about-the-Doctor in Doctor Who, but she just doesn't strike me as having enough gravitas to play Irene Adler. Besides, McAdams is nearly a decade younger than RDJ, which might work in terms of canon (Holmes does call her a "young person") but doesn't work when they go toe-to-toe.

Edited by NBooth

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Nine clips from the movie.

It looks very much same-as-last-but-more-so. Which, if you enjoyed the first movie might not be a totally bad thing. OTOH, there's a glimpse of Moriarty and a brief scene with Mycroft, both of which are promising.

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Ok, I can take RDJ as a revisionist Holmes, and I can deal with the actiony stuff. But Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler just doesn't cut it. Didn't in the first movie, and doesn't look like she will in this one.

EDIT: I hasten to add that this is because, as far as I can tell, McAdams is too young, rather than anything in her interpretation of the role.

Terrible accent work ... the Amurrican is showing through, even in the trailer.

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Ok, I can take RDJ as a revisionist Holmes, and I can deal with the actiony stuff. But Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler just doesn't cut it. Didn't in the first movie, and doesn't look like she will in this one.

EDIT: I hasten to add that this is because, as far as I can tell, McAdams is too young, rather than anything in her interpretation of the role.

Terrible accent work ... the Amurrican is showing through, even in the trailer.

Well, Adler's from New Jersey--in the original stories, at least. So perhaps the slipping accent is deliberate? Or would that be too clever for these movies? [Thinking probably so]

Edited by NBooth

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mrmando wrote:

: Terrible accent work ... the Amurrican is showing through, even in the trailer.

So what you're saying is, Rachel McAdams has successfully disguised the fact that she is Canadian, but she's wearing the wrong disguise. :)

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Sigh. That's at least the third time I've been mistaken about the nationality of a Canadian actor.

In the Granada TV version of A Scandal in Bohemia, I thought Adler was given some Continental nationality or other. Or am I mistaken?

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