The tales of Sherlock Holmes and his faithful assistant John Watson has become legendary and throughout the years there have been countless tales that have transcended Doyle’s original character. Holmes has been to the future, fought Jack The Ripper, even has been depicted as an incompetent facade behind the solving team. But as the character is in public domain, the only limit to these stories being shared is what can be imagined. In 2018, Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly showed off a more humorous and outlandish interpretation of the characters we’ve grown to love and rely on so much in the comedy-mystery, Holmes and Watson.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have been friends and colleagues for a while now. Together they solve countless mysteries earning the two both fame and recognition. Holmes ego, however, causes arch-rival Moriarty to go free and puts the life of the queen in jeopardy. Now the duo must race against time in order to prove their innocence and save Queen Victoria
The adaptation draws some remarkable talent from both sides of the pond. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are Holmes and Watson respectively. I like Will Ferrell’s portrayal as a Holmes has mostly cold and calculating but has an uncomplicated fantasy of a simple life in the country. But British faces like Ralph Fiennes, Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan and even a cameo from Hugh Laurie showcases the talent that is on display here, Kelly Macdonald’s portrayal of Mrs Hudson as a constantly aroused Landlady helps bring in period-appropriate cameos into 221B Baker Street of the most famous faces of the time.
The film draws a lot of its humour by comparing Victorian society to that of today, with characters making references and in-jokes to tends and events of today. The film name-checks fake news and other references to the current President. It almost has this nice steampunk like charm of scenes like the queen and our heroes posing duck faces to early cameras. We also get a peek at Holmes deductive reasoning at work with elements I can only imagine have been borrowed from Sherlock, being wonderfully spoofed. But the humour isn’t entirely referential. Holmes has also developed a habit of eating Onions, maybe a commentary on fad health practices at the time. That’s enjoyable to watch and seeing the duo get drunk and Watson’s inability to tell Holmes disguise are also highlights of the film’s comedy.
Holmes and Watson is an intriguing comedy and mystery all rolled into one. Those who aren’t familiar with the character will feel well ingratiated by the duos send-up, and fans will enjoy the peculiar quirks taken to their logical extremes. It’s great to see two comedy legends as Ferrell and Riley working hand in hand with a smorgasbord of support staff in a fun film that would be dammed if it took itself too seriously. The only mystery here is why these two took so long to attempt this project.
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