Young Sherlock Holmes

Young Sherlock Holmes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Barry Levinson. Cast: Nicholas RoweAlan CoxSophie Ward

When I was a teenager I must have watched this film probably a dozen of times. It was the during the golden age of Spielberg, both as a director and a producer (within 12 months of this film being released, we also had the “Goonies”, “Back to the future”, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, “Gremlins”, the “Color Purple” and even “Amazing Stories” on TV). I was a sucker for anything with his brand. Could you blame me? In fact, who am I kidding?! I still am!I remember loving this a lot so much so that I had started reading the Conan Doyle books too. Watching tonight with my son, nostalgia aside, I was surprised by how well it still holds up as a film and how tense some action is. Despite being 35 years old, it hasn’t age too badly. Being a period film obviously helps, as it keeps it ageless, but also it’s a very well-paced, fun ride, with some beautiful set design, moody cinematography and state of the art special effects. Let’s not forget that this is the very first film which used CGI to animate a character on screen (a nightmarish stained glass knight). Quite mind-blowing at the time and still works today.

Barry Levinson, who would win the Oscar for “Rain Man” only 3 years later, directs it all with verve and style, perfectly capturing the dark and seedy streets of Conan Doyle London, while Chris Columbus as a screenwriter, fresh from Gremlins and Goonies, injects some “The temple of doom” scares (It always struck me how similar the plot revolving about sacrificial scenes were), but also bringing some of the fun from the school scenes. It’s interesting how even my little 8 years old son picked up a “Harry Potter vibe” in the first half of the movie, since Columbus went on to direct the first two movies of the JK Rowling saga.The film was a bit of a flop at the time, today it’s mostly (and unjustly) forgotten, though it does now a certain cult following among those 80s affictionados: the name Sherlock Holmes was probably a bit of a turn off for people back then and the idea of having him “young” didn’t seem too appealing (interestingly in Italy, in UK and I believe in Australia and some other international countries they changed the title into “Pyramid of Fear” hoping it would help.

What certainly didn’t help was the uninspired cast, not only there was not a single recognisable face (though that certainly didn’t hurt ET or Gremlins), but also the two leads are undoubtedly rather uncharismatic.

A real shame, because it’s not just technically a very accomplished film, but also it’s a good story, a classy adventure, a fun ride, full of ideas and inventions.

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