‘Sherlock’ nothing like books, and that’s OK

I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve read most of the stories at least twice, and completely agree with the sci-fi writer (I think it was William Gibson, but I could be wrong) who said that the stories demonstrate the value of being observant.

I’m not a purist, however. As much as movies can ruin books (Jurassic Park), they can improve them as well (Lord of the Rings). The latter happened with director Guy Ritchie’s vision of the legendary crime fighter, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I was OK with the liberties he took with the legendary stories. Holmes and Irene Adler sharing an adventure? No problem. Holmes a brawling, stocky short guy with no deerstalker or legendary big pipe? Didn’t bother me. The biggest liberty was one of my favorites: Watson, played by Jude Law, was an assertive guy instead of the doddering groupie he plays in the written word. In this version, we didn’t read about Holmes explaining how he figured things out — we watch it actually happen.

The one thing that was true to the stories was Holmes photographic powers of observation and mastery of obscure facts. That resulted in what Globe reviewer Benji Tunnell described as an impossible mystery to figure out. He rated the movie highly, but wrote that part of the joy of a mystery is being able to solve it. That was never Doyle’s intent with Holmes — the writer didn’t want any of the readers to figure it out. He wanted readers to thrill at Holmes’ abilities.

Overall, great movie. Can’t wait for the sequel — which is obviously coming.

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