Wednesday, 23rd May 2012
Does familiarity breed contempt? When the first film in this franchise came out everything about it seemed fresh and original. The storyline was strong and the acting, with some reservations about Robert Downey Jnr. aside, was really good. Now with this movie it seems that what was once attractive is now nothing little more than a bore. Perhaps not just a bore but downright irritating. For one thing the plot of this film is just too flimsy. Of course it is the usual Sherlock plot in so far as it sees him and Watson basically saving the world as we know it but it just all seems so tortuous and leaden that you wonder what happened to the fun that the first film had in abundance. With the strap line of this movie saying that its 'funnier' than the first film you expect quite a lot but it seems that the joke is really on the viewer. This offering certainly is not funnier than the first. Its just so contrived you feel like you're on the rack with a sadist cranking up the wheel shouting at you to laugh. It just doesn't work. This film sees Sherlock pitted against his long term enemy Dr. Moriarty who after buying up all the arms companies in Europe contrives to have all the major powers declare war on each other. This he wants to do by staging an assassination attempt at a big peace conference. Of course Sherlock and Watson are there to stop it from happening. They are also aided by a gypsy woman who is searching for her brother who disappeared a year ago. She and her brother were part of an anarchist group but he seems to have disappeared into the ether and she has travelled all over Europe looking for him. While in London following up the latest lead she meets Sherlock and Watson and finding out that their quests have elements in common they decide to team up. The gypsy woman is played by Noomi Rapace who from previous outings in the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' franchise we know is a good actress. Here however she seems nothing more than just slightly bored. The most unintentionally hilarious piece of the movie happens when she eventually finds her brother. It turns out that he is to be the assassin at the peace conference, the only thing is that he has gotten a lot of plastic surgery done so that he can fit in. But when he is unmasked, as it were, he is killed by one of Moriarty's men so that he doesn't give the game away. So there is her brother dying, the brother she has searched so long and hard for, the brother she loves so much and what does Rapace do? She barely raises an eyebrow before she leaves his body there to move off onto the next scene where she can look equally bored. Rapace plays the main female character in the film but she is not the only female character. There is of course the character of Irene Adler who figured so prominently in the first film and as anyone who is half way conversant with Sherlock Holmes knows is the only woman that he has ever loved. However in this movie she is dispensed with in the first five minutes without Sherlock ever raising an eyebrow let alone really talking about her. When Moriarty tells Sherlock that he has had her killed you half expect him to be joking and that Irene will walk into frame any minute. Whether this is really the case or whether she will be resurrected for the next film is hard to tell. While there are many things that are either annoying or just plain frustrating about this movie one of the worst is the way in which the action scenes are managed. In all of the fight or action scenes what is about to happen is played through from Sherlock's perspective with him giving an outline of what he is about to do. This happens and the scene is played out again without the commentary. While this might prove interesting once or twice in particularly complex scenes it happens all the time and really tests your patience. And then to have it all done in slow motion? Beyond frustrating. As usual though it has to be said that the acting is of a high calibre except perhaps where is matters most. The person playing Sherlock. Robert Downey Jnr. might be a fine actor and certainly was very good at playing Chaplin but as of late he seems to have only one note and is capable of playing only one character and that is himself. While different interpretations of a character like Sherlock Holmes are a good thing Downey is so off the mark that he might as well be playing the man in the moon. The one area where this film really does acquit itself quite well is in the way that it looks. Its obvious that an enormous effort has been put into how this movie looks and it really pays off. It just looks magnificent, maybe not historically accurate but it certainly sets the tone. But this is not enough to make up for what is after all nothing more than an unoriginal, unfunny sequel which seems to have had more money than sense thrown at it. Maybe next time they'll return to basics and try and start with a good script and decent plotting.
Essentially this a survival film and while it does contain all the elements typical to that genre overall the movie has more than a touch of the thriller about it. All it throws up a lot of surprises in terms of plotting that wouldn't be typically of survival stories, even for those not based on real events. The film essentially tells the story of seven men who survive a plane crash in Alaska. Not only do they have the terrible weather to contend with they also have to deal with a pack of wolves whose territory they have found themselves in. Without giving too much away some of the men are picked off by the wolves while others fall prey to the environment. In the end though its up to the main character to face up to the Alpha Wolf and its up to the viewer to figure out what the outcome will be. The ending might divide a lot of viewers but you can't deny that this is a really well made film. If you have to choose between this and the film reviewed above then there really isn't any choice, this one will win hands down every time. And with Liam Neeson in the lead role you can be sure that you've got a really good actor, unlike Sherlock.
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Google AlertWhen a company which has it's European Headquarters here in Ireland is called 'evil' and 'immoral' by M.P.s in The House of Commons you tend to sit up and take notice. The particular company that was being referred to was Google and the reason it had enraged M.P.s in London was because even though it has a big operation there and conducts a lot of business there it pays no corporate tax. It does this by having all of its financial transactions finished here in Ireland. And the company here is …
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