Saturday, January 02, 2010

Has the World Gone Mad?

Russell Crowe as Robin Hood was odd enough, but Brad Pitt as Professor Moriarty?


Don't get me wrong, I loved the recent Sherlock Holmes movie. I'm apparently one of the few people who thinks the 'new" Holmes actually resurrects some of the long neglected facets of the original character as portrayed in the books and stories. The ass-kicking Holmes which some critics called a "re-invention" actually has its antecedents in the source material. It's mentioned in THE SIGN OF THE FOUR, for example, that Holmes had done a bit of boxing in his day, when he speaks with an ex-prizefighter:

"I don't think you can have forgotten me. Don't you remember that amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison's rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?"

"Not Mr. Sherlock Holmes!" roared the prize-fighter. "God's truth! how could I have mistook you? If instead o' standin' there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of yours under the jaw, I'd ha' known you without a question. Ah, you're one that has wasted your gifts, you have! You might have aimed high, if you had joined the fancy."

"You see, Watson, if all else fails me, I have still one of the scientific professions open to me," said Holmes, laughing. "Our friend won't keep us out in the cold now, I am sure."

In THE ADVENTURE OF THE EMPTY HOUSE, Holmes describes how he bested Professor Moriarty:

When I reached the end I stood at bay. He drew no weapon, but he rushed at me and threw his long arms around me. He knew that his own game was up, and was only anxious to revenge himself upon me. We tottered together upon the brink of the fall. I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me. I slipped through his grip, and he with a horrible scream kicked madly for a few seconds, and clawed the air with both his hands. But for all his efforts he could not get his balance, and over he went. With my face over the brink, I saw him fall for a long way. Then he struck a rock, bounded off, and splashed into the water."

And let's not forget that Watson, so often portrayed as a portly, bumbling middle-aged man, was, in the stories, a recent veteran of the Afghan War, wounded in action.

Still I have a hard time seeing Brad Pitt like this:

He is extremely tall and thin, his forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken in his head. He is clean-shaven, pale, and ascetic-looking, retaining something of the professor in his features. His shoulders are rounded from much study, and his face protrudes forward and is forever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. He peered at me with great curiosity in his puckered eyes.

But, hey, I could be wrong. Pitt's a good actor. We'll see...


Cathy said...

I'm glad someone else realizes that this Holmes was quite canon!

Brad Pitt is a decent actor. I'm willing to wait and see. After all, this Holmes didn't really look like Holmes, he just acted like him, and I was fine with that!

Jamie Freveletti said...

Okay, you sold me. I was so excited that Downey Jr. was Sherlock, but the trailer turned me off a bit. I'm headed out tonight to see the movie!
I agree, though, that Holmes was never the mild egg head that the other movies implied. Loved the story where he hung out shooting the letters "VR" into his rooming house wall with bullets. Mild indeed! But Pitt is an underrated actor. I think you'll be surprised!

Dana King said...

Downey doesn't look anything like Holmes, but he was a good enough actor to pull it off. (Taking your word for it; I've not seen the movie.)

I never thought Casey Affleck could work as Patrick Kenzie in GONE BABY GONE, but he was excellent. Pitt can act when it's called for. This might be fun.

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble buying it, but then I had trouble buying Robert Downey Jr as Holmes, too, and he turned out to be fantastic.

Let's see what happens.

Kate Hathway said...

I was thrilled when Robert Downey, Jr. was named as Holmes. After seeing him as Charlie Chaplin I knew he'd be excellent as Holmes too. I loved the movie (have seen it twice already) and was most impressed by Jude Law as a Watson with as much of a personality as Homles (such a nice change).

As for Moriarty, well, Brad Pitt is a good actor and all, but I wish the ones in charge would have picked Steve Valentine (played on Crossing Jordan). Not only is he also a fine actor, but he has a better look for the role.