The Case of the Loneliest Holmes

sherlock

Before Sherlock proved that the iconic character could survive anything, even Moffat, I wasn’t sure Sherlock had a place in modern television. Then came Sherlock, and everything changed. I saw Sherlock Holmes (2009) next, and then came the second TV-show,  Elementary,  and I loved that too. As the reviews and fandoms grew and evolved, it became clear that the BBC’s  Sherlock was of superior quality, Elementary was always underrated, and the movie Sherlock Holmes was fun and all, but not really in the same league.

My case is this: Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Sherlock Holmes (RDJ!Sherlock) is the loneliest, and in many ways the most tragic, of all three new Sherlocks. This observation was confirmed to me after watching the season finale of Sherlock, season 3. Do please comment if you disagree, or want to add anything to the discussion. There is really no point to all this, other than I found this to be just the right thing to do when bored and sick. Ignore this and wait for next week’s review of The Wolf of Wall Street, if you like.

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Why I Loved Man of Steel

I did an explanation post for The Hobbit back in January, and I enjoyed writing it so much I thought I might do something similar for all the big movies this summer – or at least those films I’ve had to defend the most to people.ManofSteel

Disclaimer: These posts do NOT mean I do not appreciate and agree with a lot of the criticisms and fan-feeling towards these films. They just an attempt to understand why I liked them so much more than I expected myself to. It’s not a defence, but an explanation.

So without further ado, here is why I loved Man of Steel. There will of course be spoilers!!

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My Two Lincolns

Since most of the crew were busy catching up on work related stuff after Easter, the radio show was still on hiatus last Thursday, which meant no review from me. Instead, I decided to spend the weekend catching up on some Oscar nominations. First on my list was Spielberg’s Lincoln. I was very keen to see this since American history films is my area of study. Little did I know about what the universe had in store for me.

On Saturday, I was set to finally see Life of Pi, but my friends invited me over for a movie night and out of all the random movies our host could have picked, she decided on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Don’t worry, I have no intention of attempting any sort of comparison here. The protagonists aside, they are movies on opposite sides of the Hollywood spectrum. Instead, I’ll review them in order of viewing.

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Why I loved The Hobbit

the-hobbit-thorinOut of all the fandoms I belong to, I think I’m probably most geeky about Tolkien. At least I was back in my even more awkward than now teenage years. I could answer every question in my official Tolkien Quiz Book, and I wrote a grammar book for Elvish I would study in my spare moments.

I am therefore always excited when a new Tolkien film comes out. This time, however, I was much more weary than with the previous trilogy.

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Second Place in Scandinavian Film Championship: the best and the worst movies

I am a proud member of Team Trondheim, one of 18 teams that competed in the Scandinavian Film Championship last weekend, and well into this week. Despite serious misgivings on my part, we went all the way to the silver medal, though sadly we didn’t get an actual medal, just the well-deserved prize of sleep.

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Comments regarding the historical accuracy of Kon-Tiki

This is not a review! I just want to get a few points across about the issues regarding the historical accuracy of this movie.

First off: Explanations. Kon-Tiki (2012) is the dramatisation of the Kon-Tiki expedition by Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, where they drifted from Peru to a small island in the Pacific to prove the islanders had come from the east. It’s a very well-known expedition and Heyerdahl is considered one of the great Norwegian explorers. The movie was made with great Holloywood-esque effects and a big budget.

Second: The critique. Many people, the families of the expedition members included, have come out in the press to say how the movie simply ignores the facts. This is perfectly true; the real expedition went far more smoothly than- to us regular folks- seems believable. Also, the movie version of Heyerdahl’s second-in-command, Herman Watzinger, is a completely fictional creation. No one disputes this.

Third: My point(s). Having written a whole master thesis on whether or not movies can tell history, I have developed a compulsion to comment on issues like this. My main problem is the fact that some people seem so upset about it, and others have had to defend the film quite rigorously. So, I thought I might throw my two cents in.

The families do feel cheated, and I understand that. However, it is precisely because they comment and the press write about it, that a majority of the movie-goes are enlightened about the issues. No one involved in the movie is insisting they stuck to the facts. They weren’t trying to rewrite history, they were trying to make an entertaining movie. And thanks to the journalists, historians and families, the rest of us can go the cinema with a pinch of salt in our back-pocket and still enjoy an adventure.

Too often, writers deploring “bad history” on film give the audience too little credit. I constantly come across the movie Braveheart listed as one of the worst offenders, but I have yet to meet anyone who contends they know anything about Scottish history because they’ve watched Mel Gibson in a kilt.

I don’t want to give the audience too much credit, of course, as there is a very long way to go from 13th century Scotland to the Pacific Ocean in the 20th. The Kon-Tiki movie both suffers and is vindicated by this fact. Because the expedition happened relatively recently, we have all the facts, both in writing and on film, and we have family members to speak of the crew. Anyone can easily check these facts and so we can say the movie is wrong. At the same time this means the movie generates a lot of publicity and people are more aware of what type of history they are watching. We can read the articles, or the words of Heyerdahl himself, and enjoy the movie for what it is.

I, for one, am glad they didn’t spend all that money on two hours of guys sitting on a raft. It’s an incredible achievement, to be sure, but for that we have Heyerdahl’s own documentary. This was marketed as, and can not be taken for anything other than an adventure film. It could be argued they should have changed the names, but that’s too deep a discussion to get into now.

An Annoyed Droid.