Outrageous statement about new Holmes film

I have nothing against the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Homes film directed by Guy Ritchie and I am looking forward to the sequel, the cumbersomely titled Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. But I can only remain non-critical if I remind myself these movies share only the title Sherlock Holmes with that character created by Arthur Conan Doyle and in no way are actually representative of the Canon.

And so I find worrisome Robert Downey Jr. saying in the trailer/featurette above, “It’s probably the closest Conan Doyle Holmes versus Moriarty story that’s been depicted yet.” The hyperbole’s understandable; Mr. Downey is just promoting his film. I know that most Sherlockians or Holmesians probably share my opinion. But what impact will these movies have on the new generation of Sherlock Holmes fans who expect their Holmes to have explosions and bullet time and steampunk contraptions?

I’ll admit that my introduction to Holmes, those venerable Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films, had their own share of misrepresentations, but I think they’re still much closer to the Canon than these current films. Now I’m not advocating anything stupid like decrying Ritchie’s films or the brilliant new BBC Sherlock. I’m just pleading for some producer at the BBC or ITV or Channel Four (I give up on the American film or television industry), to take a crack at a new series solidly based on the Canon.

I doubt anyone can top Jeremy Brett as Holmes or his two Watsons, but it would be lovely to see Holmes pursue a suspect in a high-definition production that is based solidly on the Canon. I still enjoy those Granada productions shot at 16mm, but they look awful when I watch them on my big (well, biggish) screen TV (the production values otherwise are superb, however).

So all I’m saying is that it’s about time for this current Holmes resurgence to prompt a return to the Canon and inspire the next generation — and free me from having to explain every last absurdity, however enjoyable, of this current crop of movies and series.

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