But not right now. For the moment, I'd like to talk a bit about storytelling.
Once upon a time, there was a story: a magnificent story that had made its hero a household name that people recognized even if they hadn't read the story themselves. Like all good stories these days, it simply had to be filmed, because people nowadays can't be bothered to pick up and read books anymore. Coincidentally, two versions of this story were produced: one, a huge Hollywood production with A-list stars, and the other, a televised miniseries on BBC. The former, of course, set out to be grandiose in scale, impressive, sweeping, and amazing, and ended up being disappointing, silly, and somewhat insulting to the story that inspired it, while the other, in its small, carefully crafted way, managed to be poignant, stunning, and glorious while telling a very human story.
The question then becomes: What story am I describing?
|Ledger had nothing on this guy.|
However, oddly, if you said Sherlock Holmes, you'd be right, too.
But now the Brits have given it a go, and done it right. There are no Victorian top hats to be seen, and Sherlock sends texts instead of telegrams. 221B is furnished with a laptop, and Holmes slaps on nicotine patches because it's too hard to find a place to smoke these days. But none of that matters. In fact, it makes it better.
|There's that violin.|
|"Well, you invaded Afghanistan."|
The first episode, A Study in Pink, is a modern update of Sir Conan-Doyle's original first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. Now we have GPS tracking, cell phones, and CSIs, but the main drama is going on inside Holmes' and Watson's heads. And it's simply wonderful, which really isn't too surprising, given the elfin arrogance of Holmes, the frustration and loyalty of a still-mending (in body, but mostly in mind) Watson, and a script by Steven Moffat--current writer of Doctor Who. This is, really, pure magic.
The third and last episode sees Sherlock playing a dangerous game with other people's lives, masterminded by a shadowy figure who only speaks with stolen voices. Sometimes you want to hug Sherlock for his brilliance, although most of the time you'd really just like to smack him upside the head for being a prick. As if all of the explosives, near-misses, and snipers weren't enough, the series ends on a cliffhanger. Aaaaargh!
I'd love to tell you more about these three wonderous hour-and-a-half episodes, but honestly, pretty much all additional details are spoilers. Sorry.
Seriously, what is it about Hollywood that makes almost all their movies (not by Pixar or Dreamworks) complete rubbish?
And why don't they just give up and send BBC miniserieses to American cinemas instead?