Friday, November 4, 2022

A Canon of Her Own

 Okay, first off . . . no spoilers for Enola Holmes 2 in the following.

The newest Millie Bobby Brown romp through Sherlock Holmes's London was enormous fun, and really made me realize how much I like it was adaptations and additions to the Sherlockian Canon vary from the classic script. Inserting a younger sister into Sherlock Holmes's life couldn't help but change a few details from the Holmes we knew of old, and this latest "What if?" of Sherlock plays its cards with marvelous finesse.

It doesn't follow Nancy Springer's work so closely, so one cannot expect Doyle to be followed as well. (Interestingly the credits thank both the Doyle Estate and Leslie Klinger.) And at this point, I think that is what I like best. For those of us that know the stories far too well, what is the better choice, anyway? An adaptation of something like "The Red-Headed League," so perfect on paper, but not created for a medium that did not exist then? (Or even theater, which its author could never get right?) Or a new tale created specifically to use the full powers of the medium in which it's being told?

Over the years we've seen far too many TV movies with original Holmes stories told by hack scriptwriters and lame TV directors. We've also seen movies like Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, which did a fine box office, and gave us a few new Holmes tropes in the bargain. Robert Downey Junior's Sherlock has his own Canon, and now Millie Bobby Brown's Enola has hers, complete with her loving brother as almost her Watson, paralleling her investigations with his own. (So he's her Lucy Liu sort of Watson, I guess!)

Me, I'm happy with letting the original sixty stories stay stories, and take all the original movie "What if?" versions of Holmes I can get. What if Holmes faced the Ripper? What if Holmes debunked the Loch Ness Monster? What if Sherlock had a sister, as well as a mother, running about with their own agendas?

There are bits of Enola Holmes 2 that we come to expect in films, but even there this one does the commonplace with a certain finesse, as I said once already. It plays the audience quite wonderfully in that respect, and what's a Sherlock Holmes story without at least one real surprise?

Something this viewer enjoys, to be sure! Here's hoping for a third installment one day!

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, Brad. I agree, both with enjoying Enola Holmes 2 and with how to judge film and TV adaptations.