Blog Response—Sherlock Holmes

sherlock holmes

1. Analysis of the Book (Story)

“The Mazarin Stone” by Conan Doyle shows the wit and mystery that Sherlock Holmes represents. In the short story, Holmes is placed on a case to retrieve the Mazarin Stone that Count Sylvius had stolen. Holmes tells Dr. Watson to call the police while he interrogates the Count about the location of the stone. After seemingly going nowhere with his interrogation with the Count, Holmes tells his page, Billy, to being up the Count’s helper, Sam Merton, and leaves them to chat. The Count reveals that the stone is in his pocket and the two get arrested. The themes of humor, justice, and mystery are all incorporated in the short story.

2. Analysis of the Film

Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes puts Holmes in the middle of the supernatural world. Set in Victorian England, Holmes, with his partner, Dr. Watson, attempt to stop Lord Blackwood from taking over the world. The film is a classic hero vs. villain/good vs. evil scenario. Even though Blackwood warned Holmes that people will die regardless of Holmes trying to stop him, Holmes does not stop until he finds Blackwood. Much of the film’s themes are justice, violence, humor, magic, and supernatural. The film has several energizing scenes that highlight the action and violence of it. Although the film received mixed reviews, the film gives new energy to Sherlock Holmes.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

While Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes is not a direct adaptation of the Conan Doyle stories, it does share some of its themes. Mystery, justice, and humor are still evident in the film as much as they are in Doyle’s “The Mazarin Stone.” Both the film and the short story receive the Holmes justice, with the villain receiving his punishment. Downey’s Holmes appears as witty as Doyle’s Holmes. However, some of the themes that Richie puts into the film tend to overpower the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The violence and action scenes do energize the film, yet some parts of the film are over-the-top. While the film might not be a faithful adaptation of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, it does bring new energy to his character.

4. Online research on the Film

Robert Ebert argues that even though Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes does not remain overly faithful to the Conan Doyle stories, it is still entertaining enough to not be bothered by it.

Tom Charity notes in his review on the attempt of the film to connect with Conan Doyle’s own interest of the supernatural and how Robert Downey Jr.’s humor as Holmes makes up for the other missing aspects of Holmes that get lost in the film.

Michael O’Sullivan argues that Guy Richie’s version of Sherlock Holmes has a bit of everything except for the true Sherlock Holmes that Conan Doyle wrote about. The film mixes aspects from James Bond, Harry Potter, and Batman into it, which overpowers its literary predecessor. While there are some scenes that are truly exciting, other scenes appear to be over-the-top and silly. Richie tries so hard to make his own version of Sherlock Holmes that it comes off as childish rather than original

5. Critical Argument Paragraph

One of the major flaws of Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes is turning a detective film into a hero vs. villain film. While in Doyle’s “The Mazarin Stone” Holmes is presented as a hero-type by retrieving the stolen stone, when you strip down the character, Holmes is simply a detective trying to do his job. In the short story, Holmes does not resort to violence to retrieve the stone and even tells the Count to put his gun away. Rather than using violence, Doyle’s Holmes uses his wit and detective skills to find the location of the stone. Richie’s film is so full of hyper-violent action sequences that it becomes more of a superhero film rather than a detective film. The film version of Sherlock Holmes is not simply trying to save Victorian England, but the world itself from the villain. It does retain some of the mystery that “The Mazarin Stone” has, but there is not enough of it. In “The Mazarin Stone,” there is the feeling of hero vs. villain, but it is overshadowed by Holmes’ skills and humor. The first idea associated with Sherlock Holmes is that he is a brilliant detective, but the film promotes the hero type before the detective.


One thought on “Blog Response—Sherlock Holmes

  1. Your analysis of the book, film, and adaptation are OK, but you should focus more on themes than on character and plot, and offer analysis rather than description. Your student research links are all reviews, which you should avoid from this point on. I suggest instead that you try some searches using the UMD library database and look at some online film journals. More ideas here:

    Your critical argument paragraph sort of works but needs to be polished up a bit. You argue that Ritchie is unfaithful to the original source because he changes Holmes from a detective into a superhero. True enough, but it’s been pointed out by many people. You need to dig a little deeper to make a unique contribution to the debate. Doing more with the violence vs. intellect would get you further the way there.

    10/10. Joseph Byrne. ENGL329B.


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