Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

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Content written by Tony Macklin. Originally published on January 14, 2012 on tonymacklin.net.

Dear Guy Ritchie:

My name is Robin Hood.

I desperately need your help. I need you as a director to do for me what you did for Sherlock Holmes.

I need to be brought into today's world of short attention spans, nonreading, and lovable, cantankerous heroes. I want you to make me a superhero like you did Sherlock Holmes.

If you can turn Sherlock into a glib, pompous ass, imagine what you can do for me.

I love how you take the class out of classics. I love how you've made clumsiness bankable.

In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows you had terrific explosions in Victorian London.

In my story, you can blow up Sherwood Forest. Imagine those pyrotechniques! Nothing left of that archaic woodlands. I'll happily trade in my crossbow for a glock.

Robin and his mercenary men.

You can have Robert Downey, Jr. play me. He obliterated the nagging image of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock. Nobody will remember Basil now. He's not even a shadow.

If anyone still somehow remembers there was somebody named Basil Rathbone, you can further obliterate the villainous image of Rathbone as Guy of Gisbourne. Cast another actor -- Albert Brooks. Brooks got more attention and praise out of a few lines than any actor in 2011. He'd sneer and might get an Oscar.

Or maybe make Guy of Gisbourne into Guy of Jasonbourne -- an action figure.

I remember a critic -- Tony Macklin -- who once had dinner with Basil Rathbone, and he didn't even mention Sherlock Holmes. Instead he and Rathbone argued all evening about modern theater. But you, Guy, did a better job of disposing of Rathbone's Sherlock. Permanently.

I want you to screw Errol Flynn as you screwed Basil Rathbone.

Robert Downey, Jr. is the real me -- Robin Hood. Forget Downey's masterly acting in Chaplin (1992), let him perform his shtik instead -- Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood. As you well know, most audiences prefer shtik.

Who needs acting, when you can get a wink out of him? You all looked like you were enjoying yourself on the set more than I was in the theater. Robin Hood wants to party, too.

Hans Zimmer can unload his quiver of music.

My sidekick can be Little Jude.

Stephen Fry can be Friar Tuck. In Game of Shadows, you show Fry as Sherlock's brother Mycroft in the nude. Imagine the pale, multiple folds of flesh of Stephen Fry as Friar Tuck in the nude. I realize that may be a scared-straight image, but it's unforgettable.

Jared Harris in Game of Shadows was suitable as the evil Professor Moriarity, but I have a better idea. Cast Jared Harris as Richard the Lionheart. His late father, esteemed actor Richard Harris, played Richard the Lionheart in Robin and Marian (1976) with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. You can keep Lionheart in the Harris family.

Women don't seem to matter a whole lot to you. Who can blame you after your abbreviated marriage to Madonna?

In Game of Shadows, Rachel McAdams is quickly dispatched. Kelly Reilly is thrown into the river. And Noomi Rapace is thrown for a loop.

Noomi plays the gypsy in Game of Shadows. She even learned English since her appearance in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). I'm not sure why she bothered since her spare dialogue in Game of Shadows could be in Swedish and it wouldn't matter.

Noomi could play Maid Lisbeth in Robin Hood and return to Swedish. I trust there are no limits to your translating literature.

The writers of Sherlock Holmes -- Michele and Kieran Mulroney -- are another married couple with stingy writing credits and mediocre style. I assume you got two for one. Or one for half.

We know early when the gypsy grabs Sherlock's privates, and he says, "very witty," the writers are redefining wit.

The writers have Mycroft call his brother, "Sherly." That's their contribution to literature. Language isn't their forte.

For Game of Shadows, they plunder the story "The Final Problem" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Arthur who?

But forget language and style, let's blow up Sherwood Forest.

Guy, together we can turn legend into gruel.

Elementary, my dear Ritchie.


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