The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Sherlock Holmes (2010)
This movie was the opener for September's Netflix Bad Movie Night, which as I've mentioned in the past, is organized in part by our buddies at Mr. Gable's Reality, Guts and Grog Reviews, and Morbidementia, and is a lot of fun. I was having problems with my twitter feed at the time, and wasn't paying as good attention to this as I should have, but it seemed really cool. Still, I gave it a rewatch just in case. And if you're wondering, no one gave the "Shercock Holmes" crack, but I was thinking it.
Sherlock Holmes is The Asylum's take on the super sleuth, who at that time was the subject of a big budget blockbuster action flick franchise starter starring Robert Downey Jr. In true Asylum style, Holmes and his friend Watson find themselves confronting dinosaurs and sea monsters. What could be the cause of this? Could it have anything to do with the film's one recognizable face, Dominic Keating?
Okay, so upon second watching, this didn't hold up quite as well, but it held up. It had some slow points, but overall, it felt like a fun, Asylum-style throwback to the old adventure serial, with the cool sets, funky robots and contraptions, and, of course, the dinosaurs. How do you not love The Asylum's dinosaurs? Beyond the kitschiness, it had some real solid points, including some really nice period sets, a beautiful CGI London cityscape, and great usage of the local Welsh landscape. It had more the feel of a syndicated TV show, and you could kind of see this as a pilot to something much better, if the syndicated TV show still existed like it did in the 90s. Not the best from The Asylum, but one that worked for me.
I have no clue who played Sherlock Holmes, just assumed that he, like the guy who played Watson, was on some BBC Sci-Fi show (Watson was on Torchwood). Nope, according to imdb, this is it for him. Not sure what to make of his version of Holmes. It was squarely in that classic serial hero mold, where he was kind of effeminate, kind of pretentious, and kind of an asshole. I'm torn by that, because, on the one hand I get it, but on the other, I'm not sure how well that holds up today. Part of the reason why MST3K would make fun of that type of guy is that he smacks of a certain level of fatuous elitism. I don't know, maybe The Asylum wanted us to make fun of him too.
Dominic Keating was the one notable in this for me, and I never even watched Enterprise, I just remember him from the commercials and stuff. He seemed like a good idea as the baddie, but at the end, while the mechanical dragon he's flying in is wreaking havoc all over London, the only shots of him we see are in the cockpit, where he has this creepy looking grin on his face, like he's staring at a woman undressing without her knowing it, but wouldn't be ashamed if she catches him. Also, for some reason we didn't have him as a villain until the last half-hour or so, which was kind of a weird construct in the film-- he should've been a villain throughout the film.
I must confess, I haven't seen the Robert Downey Jr. version of Sherlock Holmes, nor have I read the original books. I did catch some of the Jeremy Brett ones though, and those were cool. I think with something like this, any interpretation can have its merits, I just felt like the big budget one was simply made to create another money-making franchise, and that I didn't like, because that's silly and crass. I know what you're thinking, aren't these Asylum flicks silly and crass? Yes, but do they charge you an arm and a leg? Do they act like they're a better product because they have a big budget and big names? I probably should check it out just so I know though. One thing I liked about this Asylum version that I mentioned above was how it was like a syndicated action show. In the 90s/early 2000s that kind of thing was ubiquitous. maybe this would be the kind of thing to bring it back.
One thing I really enjoyed, beyond the great period sets, was the beautiful Welsh landscape. There's also some faux rockclimbing, as Watson descends down a cliff with a rope around his waist. He almost falls to his death, slipping in his dress shoes. I wonder if it's cheaper to go out to a location and shoot something like this, or greenscreen it and edit in a landscape on file. I guess time would be a factor too, having to get all that equipment out there. Still, it was nice to see the real deal for once.
As far as Asylum flicks go, we've seen a lot worse, but we've also seen better. It has it's dragging moments, but it has some really fun moments too. It's all a matter of how forgiving you are with your Asylum flicks, and maybe your best bet is to catch this on SyFy when they air it, that way you're not out any money.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1522835/