Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Movie Reviews (Sherlock Holmes, Tintin, The Iron Lady)

Since the family is still on vacation, we decided to adopt the philosophy expressed by the title of the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Only Live Once) and to do a movie marathon. We saw 3 movies at the cinemas in a span of less than 24 hours.

Sherlock Holmes (A Game of Shadows)
Verdict: Good, but only just.
Action-packed, but unfortunately violates the spirit of the books even more than the last one. There simply isn't as much violence in the Conan Doyle originals. Holmes, while energetic, is not a streetfighter as the movie makes him out to be. And what's with Mycroft's nudity and the frequent sexual innuendo? Victorian decorum has an innocent charm that shouldn't be cheapened by the irreverence and amorality of our own time. [Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park (1999) suffered from the same treatment.] Thumb rule: If the original author wouldn't have agreed with the picturisation, don't do it. Their fans won't like it. I'm letting director Guy Ritchie off with a stern warning.

Verdict: Very good.
Absolutely gripping plot with non-stop action. Also largely true to the original comics in its depiction of characters. Animation is getting to be more and more true-to-life, when compared to (say) Toy Story 1. The scenes of the ship at harbour look like actual photos. In a few years, cinema may not need real actors anymore. Looking forward to sequels.

The Iron Lady
Verdict: Very good, but falls short of excellent.
Meryl Streep is absolutely brilliant, and one forgets that one is not actually looking at Margaret Thatcher. Denis Thatcher's constant posthumous presence through the device of Mrs Thatcher's dementia is an interesting one allowing an unconventional angle from which to view her life in retrospect. However, the movie as a whole falls short of greatness because, to someone who isn't already familiar with the life and deeds of Margaret Thatcher, the movie is an incoherent patchwork of events that fails as both biographical narrative and as ideological primer. This is a pity, since with a bit of a narrative voice-over and a visual timeline as backdrop, it might have been possible to educate the new generation about what this extremely influential twentieth century personality was all about. Richard Attenborough managed to do it with Gandhi, an arguably tougher subject.

That's this reviewer signing off.
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