Twice in recent weeks I’ve visited the cineplex to watch the latest blockbusters Hollywood has to offer. First, I witnessed James Cameron’s opus Avatar. (And yes, I did see it in 3D.) While moments ago I finished watching Sherlock Holmes, the latest Guy Ritchie film and Robert Downey Jr. vehicle.
While both are ‘big’ movies with not an insignificant amount of marketing power behind them (more so in the case of the former) they both left indelibly different tastes in my mouth and only one demands a subsequent viewing: Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes succeeds in a number of places that Avatar fails. Most importantly having a strong lead actor playing a mesmerizing character, coupled with a riveting and thought provoking narrative. Granted, Avatar is a visual marvel and is aesthetically stunning. The motion capture, the 3D, the amount of detail. There’s never been anything like it before. Period. (But Holmes is no slouch either, with Ritchie providing a nice stylization all his own.)
However, at the end of Holmes I felt fulfilled. While Avatar left me empty. The story was so dragged out and shallow that I’m convinced the film as a whole will not stand the test of time as anything more than a tech demo.
Where Avatar was a feast for the eyes, Holmes was a feast for the mind. It’s a smart movie with clever plotting and an unmistakable wit, all the while being carried by a leading man who is nothing short of riveting. Downey Jr. is an inspired choice to play the titular character, capturing Holmes’ essence in a way no other actor could. And his chemistry with Jude Law’s Dr. Watson is enthralling.
Every piece of Avatar‘s story has been done before in other movies and done better. So many of the subplots and twists are cliches and even the dialogue feels stale. Yet everything in Holmes feels fresh and adventurous.
I understand I’m being very vague and I apologize for it. Part of the reason is because I don’t want to delve into too much detail surrounding either film so has not to spoil any part of them. The other reason is that my feelings stretch far beyond words. I can’t adequately describe how amazing Sherlock Holmes made me feel, bizarre as it sounds, but I know it did move me. And let’s just say Avatar had no such effect.
What did everyone else think? Sound off in the comments.