In case you’d been wondering why there’s been so few posts lately…
I am, as far as I know, the only person to have ever made a Sherlock Holmes film in 3D.
This is no mean feat, as the great detective has appeared in over 211 films since 1900, being portrayed by more than 75 actors and is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records the most portrayed movie character ever.
My 3D film of Sherlock Holmes is a 4D attraction film aimed at visitor attractions such as theme parks and museums. With several high profile Sherlock Holmes projects in the media at the moment I thought it might be interesting to look at what informed our film and compare it to other screen versions of the character.
I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was in my early teens when I heard the BBC’s radio versions of Conan Doyle’s original stories starring Clive Merrison and Michael Williams. I subsequently read all the original stories and have been fascinated ever since by the character; and his relationship with his friend and chronicler Doctor John H. Watson. I even know the “H” stands for Hamish.
Currently in the multiplexes you can see Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows, the second film to star Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. The first installment in 2009 was a surprise hit; and I myself was very pleasantly surprised with it. I went in expecting it to be a bastardised Hollywood rehash exploiting the character for brand power only and using it as a springing board to deliver a standard-issue action/adventure flick. However after about 10 minutes I realized that this really is Sherlock Holmes – the setting is right, there are references to trivia from the stories and most important of all – the relationship between Holmes and Watson is lovingly rendered. In this version they’re portrayed as a kind of bickering married couple, constantly at each other’s throats but bound together by their mutual dependency on the other’s qualities. Having seen the second installment last night I can report it tops its predecessor on almost all levels.
Last year we also saw Sherlock, a BBC series cunningly updating the character to the present day. Quite why no one had done this before defeats me, because it was quite simply a brilliant idea: transposing the familiar scenario to the modern world; and once again Steven Moffatt (of Dr. Who infamy) made sure this really was Sherlock Holmes. All the details were spot on and the casting (Martin Freeman especially) is perfect. Personally I found the construction of the mysteries a little too outlandish to really work well – it seemed to devalue Holmes’ powers of deduction that he could apply them successfully to cases that seem quite illogical and the resolution of which didn’t make a lot of sense; to me at least.
In our 3D Sherlock Holmes however we decided that it wasn’t really worth trying to reinvent the character within a ten minute film; not least of all since these other recent projects had done that so well. Instead we decided to deliver the clichéd, standard-issue Holmes we remember from the Basil Rathbone movies of the 1940s with his pipe, deerstalker and magnifying glass: but to try and revel in these clichés and make them fun and entertaining. I saw the props as being part of Holmes identity; tokens he would need to activate his powers of deduction and solve the mystery. At the core of the story however we put the relationship with Doctor Watson; on whom Holmes relies for the common sense and human touch he cannot perceive despite his incredible skills of reasoning. Holmes needs Watson and Watson needs Holmes and around this central truth all versions of Sherlock Holmes revolve, and it is this that has kept audiences fascinated by the character for over 100 years and will ensure he is popular even 100 years from now.
You can watch the trailer for Sherlock Holmes 4D here: www.sherlockholmes4D.com
Now, don’t get me started on who owns the rights to Sherlock Holmes however. That’s a mystery even the great detective himself couldn’t get to the bottom of.
Hands-down, the best LEGO set ever made is 497 Galaxy Explorer. I had one of these as a kid and must have played the crap out of it, along with its smaller brother 918 Space Transport. About 5 years ago I re-discovered it in my Mum’s house when I found the instructions and enough bits to cobble it together in the attic (albeit a lot of the bits must be from the Space Transport; and I didn’t have enough bits to make the landing pad and little tower thing).
In the video on this page you can see a glimpse of the LEGO vault in Billund where they keep pristine copies of every set ever made. There’s a bit in the video where they get out the Galaxy Explorer and flip open the lid to reveal all the bits inside in the plastic tray. This nearly reduced me to tears the first time I saw it.
This is, quite simply, the best book about an art form that I have ever read; and probably one of the best books of any sort I have ever read. Never has someone dealt so lucidly with what an art form is and what it can do. Don’t even bother reading the rest of this, just go out and buy a copy and read it.
I’ve just re-watched the fantastic French thriller Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne) for the third or fourth time.
The film is interesting for two reasons. Firstly it’s utterly fantastic, despite being based on a novel by American author Harlan Coben. Coben’s books are OK, it’s just they’re the kind of McNovel you buy in an airport to read on a plane and never think of again. They have very complex thriller plots with loads of twists and turns, but they’re insanely formulaic. There’s always a white collar central character (usually a doctor/lawyer/entreprener etc) and the plot always involves some threat or issue surrounding a person close to him (wife/child/father/best friend). Despite this Ne le dis à Personne succeeds in being an absolutely first rate movie: director Guillaume Canet finds an emotional depth to the story entirely absent in Coben’s writing. We see everything from the central character’s point of view and we really feel what it must be like if you think your wife, whom you love more than life itself, is killed and then eight years later you receive an email from her!
The second interesting thing about Ne le dis à Personne is its soundtrack, which is by a French artist who goes by the name of -M-. In a book I’ve just read Nicholas Meyer notes that a soundtrack has the potential to “give the movie a voice”; and -M-‘s fantastic score gives this movie a unique sense of pent up disquiet (I also cannot now listen to Jeff Buckley singing Lilac Wine without collapsing in tears). However, I liked this movie so much that it took to listening to the soundtrack on Spotify (search for “Ne le dis à Personne”) and I must have listened to it a hundred times over. As I sat down to watch the movie I was worried that my familiarity with the music would somehow drain it of its vibrancy and it would feel predictable and stale.
Fortunately that didn’t happen. It was <fully awesome>!
The wife and I went to see The Fighter last week. It’s one of those movies that is arguably very formulaic – it’s very specifically a boxing movie and conforms to most of what you’d argue are the stereotypes of that genre; particularly the ending. However it succeeds in being entirely engaging for 2 hours, and I think in this instance that’s largely due to the knockout performances of Mark Whalberg and Christian Bale. Whilst Bale is going to get all the attention for his exuberant turn as hyperactive crackhead Dicky Eklund, it’s Whalberg’s note perfect, measured performance as his troubled brother Micky Ward that holds the movie together.
Sadly my enjoyment of this movie was slightly reduced by the fact that for most of the running time I was desperate for a wee. I had drunk a milkshake just before and although I was absolutely bursting I couldn’t bare to tear myself away from the screen and actually go and relieve myself. So it’s kind of good news that the movie was so compelling I preffered to endure it with an overflowing bladder; but bad news that I was too busy crossing my legs to fully immerse myself in it.
Robin Hood 4D is the new 4D film we’re working on at Red Star. It’s been really exciting so far to be working with such an iconic and well known character, and I think we’ve put an amazing new spin on him whilst harking back affectionately to the character’s film origins (we all know Errol Flynn is the only real Robin Hood).
The film is actually all told from the point of view of Maid Marion and it tells the story of how she meets and falls in love with Robin Hood. I really want to expand the film into a trilogy where part 2 is told all from the point of view of the Sheriff and tells the story of his obsessive quest to track Marion down and revenge himself against Robin Hood. Part 3 would then be told from Robin Hood’s point of view as he tries to rescue Marion and bring justice to the Nottingham.
Go and check out the trailer at www.robinhood4D.com