Time: 109 mins.
Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.
SYNOPSIS: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson meet as young men in an English Boarding school where a string of mysterious deaths forces them to work together for the first time.
BOTTOM LINE: A rollicking, good adventure that reinvents the origins of the life-long friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they solve their first case together. Afficianadoes of the original works may be upset by the liberties taken here, but Levinson and company take great pains to create an intelligent tale filled with danger, betrayal, murder and deduction that I believe would make even Conan Doyle proud.
Unusual circumstances force them to join together to solve the strange deaths of their mentor and several of his colleagues. The discovery of a hallucinatory and lethal drug as the reason for the murders prompts an investigation that leads them to the doorstep of a deadly cult bent on revenge. It's a clever mystery that blends Holmes lore, sumptuous style and historical detail with Indiana Jones-type action.
Spielberg produced this pic and his fingerprints are all over it from the set pieces to the visual effects. Thankfully, the acting, effects and plot are good enough to overcome some hokey indulgences. Rowe is perfect as Holmes intelligent, passionate and honorable. His mature performance grounds the film in the face of all the wackiness that ensues. The special effects hold up pretty well considering this was one of the first efforts from ILM. A great introduction for kids to the Holmes legend. Fun for adults as well.