Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Mission Impossible vs. Sherlock Holmes
That’s the big problem with most action flicks. Explanations go by so fast that eventually you just stop listening for them and assume whatever it is the hero is trying to achieve it’s important. They need the ___________’s, they need to stop _____________ from ____________ and must do it before __________. Usually at a grand formal ball. There are always codes to be broken, explosions, and gunfire. The number of direct hits vs. misses: Good guys 50-51, bad guys 0-50,000.
So to compare:
DIRECTOR: Both Brad Bird (MI) and Guy Richie (SHERLOCK) know how to stage an action sequence. Richie employs more technical trickery – slow motion and the like, but Brad gives you more “jump out of your seat” moments. Number of times you’ll say “How did they do that?”: Richie 15, Bird 7. But number of times you’ll say “Why did they do that?” Richie 15, Bird 6.
SCRIPT: The Sherlock screenplay by Michele Mulrooney & Kieran Mulroney is half really clever and half confusing mess. And I’m a little biased because the new TV version of Sherlock Holmes written by Steven Moffat is far more clever and ingenious and doesn’t require $100 million in special effects to pull it off. The MI screenplay by Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec is fast-paced and fun, and mostly followable. The suspension of disbelief comes when you see all the high tech gadgets that just seem to pop out of Felix the Cat’s magic bag whenever needed. MI held my interest more but SHERLOCK had a great battle of wits between hero and villain. Note to action directors: sometimes the best scenes are those between two characters just playing chess.
VILLAINS – SHERLOCK has the big edge here. Jared Harris as Moriarity was a hoot. The perfect champagne villain. Hard to believe he’s the same guy who plays mousey Lane Pryce on MAD MEN. Don Draper better watch his ass. The MI villain wore nice suits.
SIDEKICKS: Jude Law as Watson was fun, although it bothered me that sometimes he walked with a limp, but when someone was shooting at him he could outrun Carl Lewis. Jeremy Renner was equally effective. You get the feeling he’s just waiting to star in his own action vehicle.
COMIC RELIEF – Simon Pegg got every laugh in MI, but Stephen Fry in SHERLOCK was hilarious. Advantage: Fry.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4 was a pleasant surprise because some of its predecessors were uh… well, they sucked. SHERLOCK 2 was about the same as SHERLOCK 1. Neither is going to win many Academy Awards but they both had their moments and I didn’t have to wear funny glasses to see them.
What did you guys think?