Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Young Sherlock Holmes|
Actors: Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward, Anthony Higgins, Susan Fleetwood
Director: Barry Levinson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 02/03/2009 Run time: 108 minutes Rating: Pg13
Fun film that has aged well. (But NOT for all ages)
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Harry Potter should check out this Victoriana fantasy ; in style and tone, they have much in common. They share the classic English boarding school setting, and are filled with magic and monsters, jaw-dropping sets, and wonderfully crusty and unusual British personalities.Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter movies, wrote the script for this bouncy marriage of a Sherlock Holmes detection story and an Indiana Jones-style cliffhangers. This odd combination received a lot of criticism when the film was first released, but ultimately the mixture of a Victorian detective story and an ancient Egyptian cult is charming and a lot of fun. Nicholas Rowe is perfect as the snotty, elegant young Sherlock Holmes, and Sophie Ward is absolutely radiant as his romantic interest. Alan Cox as Watson (a dead-ringer for Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter) is less effective, but tolerable. The effects were groundbreaking in their time, featuring the first computer-generated characters -- animated by Pixar before they became a household word -- and still hold up nicely. They actually have more charm than most modern CGI effects. The film does suffer from slow patches and a premise that could have been pushed even further, but this is still a good family film and most older kids and adults interested in special effects should enjoy it. (Be warned, however: younger children may find parts too frightening.) Sadly, as far as extras goes, the DVD is "Elementary, my dear Watson": nothing, not even a trailer. That's a shame, since many special effects breaththroughs were made on this movies, such as the computer animated stained-glass window character, and early work from Pixar (yes, Pixar!) P.S.: Make sure you watch all the way through the end credits for the quick bonus scene."
The start of a great franchise?
Inspector Gadget | On the trail of Doctor Claw | 11/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Originally planned as the first of a series, Young Sherlock Holmes was a bit of a misfire at the box office. It cost $18 million and only grossed about 20 per cent of its budget back. In the years since its release it has become a cult film for those who can appreciate it for the blockbuster it never was. I personally discovered it on a Christmas Eve showing on BBC in the late 80s. Even then, I thought it was great despite it being a darker Christmas film than we're used to.
In a snowy and sinister December at the height of the Victorian Era, Watson, as a teenager, is sent to Brompton, a private school in a fogbound London, when his old one is shut down due to lack of funding. Upon arrival, he meets a violin-playing smart-Alec who deducts his character from his mere appearance. It's the beginning of a life-long friendship.
Holmes' life on campus is rather cosy. He has a pretty girlfriend Elizabeth (Sophie Ward) and her uncle, Professor Waxflatter, is a crackpot inventor of the Doc Brown variety who lives in the school attic with all of his crazy inventions. At first, Watson and Holmes have fun getting up to mischief on campus but a series of bizarre suicides soon distracts them.
The local Inspector Lestrade is too lazy to do anything about it, leaving them free to investigate. Apparently the victims are all sane, happy men who seem to go suddenly mad with fear and hurl themselves to the nearest oncoming death. Things get personal when Waxflatter suffers the same fate and stabs himself in fit of madness.
Why are ordinary men going crazy? Who is the mysterious black robed person hiding in the shadows? What dark secret was Waxflatter hiding? All questions to which Holmes demands answers and he drags along the nervous Watson and Elizabeth as he scours all the dodgy areas of Wapping talking to loads of cockneys and people who call you 'Govna'. What they discover is an ancient blood oath and a huge conspiracy brewing in the spooky alleyways.
In the 80s, Chris Columbus penned a string of imaginative movies from Gremlins to The Goonies and later he directed the Home Alone films as well as Bicentennial Man (yes, I like it) and the first two Harry Potters. He's one of those writers who can hide a surprising amount of darkness in a kid's film and Young Sherlock is a fine example of his most sophisticated writing.
With strong direction from Barry Levinson and enchanting production values from Steven Spielberg there's no denying that this movie looks absolutely great. But it's how it sounds that'll really impress you. Bruce Broughton - a tragically under-rated composer who has talent equal to John Williams - has been unfairly slumming most of his career in TV movies. Here, he delivers one of the most spellbinding and Gothic scores you have ever heard. There are dozens of themes, moments of real magic, evil menace and breathtaking action. If this film had been a hit it really would have become as famous as themes for Jaws, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter.
And speaking of Harry Potter, one cannot deny that JK Rowling was inspired by this film in many ways when creating her Potter universe. I'm not crude enough to list all the similarities in this review but let me just say that while there may not be anywhere near enough to call it plagiarism there sure is more than enough to call it a coincidence. Watch the film and you'll know what I mean.
Originally the critics dismissed Young Sherlock Holmes as another effects-filled Spielberg fantasy, but that's an unfair judgement. The visual effects (really quite something for its time) are essential to the story as well as being pioneering. You may not believe it but YSH was actually the first ever film to feature a fully CGI character (a stained-glass knight who comes alive), created by Pixar. Future Toy Story director John Lasseter was even one of the computer wizards who helped bring it to life. Unfortunately it lost its well-deserved Academy Award to the inferior effects of Cocoon.
Even 20 years on a sequel definitely needed. Chris Columbus has stated he was upset that a sequel never got off the ground and that the series never took off. He shouldn't sell himself short. Of course it would need new actors but so many have put on the hat and coat of Sherlock Holmes that the role doesn't belong to just one man. There is still life in this spin-off franchise. All it needs is the right story and some of the magic that is missing from most kids' films these days.
And when I say kids' films I should really play-down the negative connotations of such a label. As one of the first PG-13 rated films, YSH has a bit of a savage edge, a hardness unfamiliar the condescending kids' films of today.
Sir Arthur would be proud. He may have felt indifferent towards his most famous creation, but if he were alive today he would have loved this film. And it well and truly deserves 5/5."
An Underrated Classic
T. Hooper | Osaka, Japan | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Young Sherlock Holmes is an overlooked gem. The story focuses on the school days of Watson and Holmes. Watson is transfered to a new school where he meets the young Holmes. Wuickly they become involved in a case. It appears that a mysterious cloaked figure is poisoning victims with a blowpipe. Once poisoned, the victims suffer terrible hallucinations and commit suicide. Unfortunately, one of the victims is Holmes' own mentor at school. Can they find out who did it?
The effects are a little cheesy and they show their age, but there are a few good ones. The hallucinations are really creepy and are very well done. One of the freakiest is when Watson is attacked by the very pastries that he loves. If you only see this scene, it's worth the price of this DVD. Overall, the tone is dark, so it is very watchable even though it's a children's movie. As for the actors, they do a good job, especially the kid playing the role of Watson. This one is really worth checking out."
A great tribute to the origins of Doyle's master detective.
M. E. Volmar | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has been repeatedly underrated since it came out in 1985 and for no good reason. It has strong writing, directing, acting and setting, and a balanced dose of mystery, fantasy, reality and adventure.
Sherlock Holmes, a young man still in school, faces a mystery that involves an old religious cult that may be responsible for the recent, strange murders taking place in London. Watson is the narrator of the story. He has just arrived at Sherlock's school, and fascinated by the charm, intelligence and wit of his soon to be good friend, follows him along on his adventure. Poisoned darts, DaVinci-like experiments, mysterious acquaintances, seemingly unexplained events, and ghosts from the past make an appearance and very soon "the game is afoot".
It has a solid script that combines the mundane environment and events of high school with an interesting mystery/adventure plot penned by Chris Colombus in the well-known Conan Doyle style. It has equally solid main characters that not only accurately portray younger versions of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, but also behave believably and in accord to the books written by Conan Doyle.
The realistically reproduced sets and costumes (you will even get to see the iconic cape, hat and pipe) and the speculative twists on the origins of the characters make this movie more than just enjoyable and entertaining, it makes it as charming as Holmes and Watson's personalities.
If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan or simply enjoy an old-fashioned, well-crafted, surprising mystery, buy this movie. You won't be disappointed.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar"