I finally watched Sherlock Holmes yesterday - and enjoyed it very much. But I probably wouldn't have got around to viewing the film if not for the fannish squee surrounding it. In part because I am terrible at remembering to watch movies (for a variety of reasons, but that's another post) but mainly because I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books last year and stopped because I found Sherlock Holmes a seriously off-putting character.
Why? Because he struck as smug, superior, self-absorbed and vain. And I wanted to hit him quite a lot.
Possibly this was a little harsh. I read A Study in Scarlet and I liked him in the initial chapters - before we saw him investigating and being so damn pleased with himself. I certainly don't onject to a person being proud of their own accomplishments but Holmes seemed to be pleased wth himself at the expense of others. He rarely seemed to think anyone else's efforts - in any field - to be of value.
I tried to read A Sign of Four, got a couple of chaptetrs in and gave up in disgust. Too damn smug - and the drug taking really didn't help. I also read The Hound of the Baskervilles and liked that rather more, which was possibly because Holmes doesn't appear for a great deal of the book and when he does he actually apologises to Watson and admits his own fallibility. Sort of.
Anyway, I decided my taste for classic detective novels was better satisfied with Georgette Heyer, Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie and now Ngaio Marsh as well but perhaps I'd give Conan Doyle another try later.
Fast forward to the fannish squee over the movie. I didn't get around to seeing it at the cinema (I rarely do) but I bought the DVD a few weeks ago and yesterday I watched it.( Well. That was fun! )
I think this film will have a place in my 'popcorn' movie files. It's fun, it's funny, it's kind of ridiculous and you can just relax and enjoy.
Finally, I realise that the slashy subtext in the film is practically text and doubtless there is masses of Holmes/Watson fic - but tell me there is Holmes/Watson/Mary threesome fic! That final scene, honestly. Can't you just picture their domestic set-up with Holmes annoying Watson who retaliates (and makes sure Holmes has his revolver and hat and so on) and Mary keeping them both in line and Holmes rather astonishing Watson by showing that why yes, he can be gallant towards a woman and of course they'd live in Baker Street and Mrs Hudson would be so glad there was another woman around to persuade those gentlemen to behave themselves and not drip blood on the carpets ...
Come on, there must be fic.
And as a result of watching the movie, I finished reading The Sign of Four today. With the movie in mind, I had a lot more fun imagining them rampaging around London. And Mary! Hi, Mary! I still wanted to hit Holmes a few times but I see potential.
Unfortunately the book was rather spoiled, not by Holmes being a jackass, but by an incredibly racist, offensive depiction of a 'savage' islander. It was ... pretty appalling. Suffice to say his English 'friend' and master (who'd saved his life) saw nothing wrong with exhibiting the man in freakshows to earn money. (Okay, yes, friend and master was a bad guy but not for that reason.)
Yeah. Not good. I realise that when I'm reading books written in another age, I'm going to come across attitudes and beliefs I find distasteful and usually I can accept that. But this... just ... no.
So A Sign of Four, not a great success. But I found the next stories online and read A Scandal in Bohemia (Hi, Irene!) and that was really a lot of fun. So I think I'll give Sherlock Holmes another chance but I'll see if I can find some discussions about racism in Conan Doyle's books and see if there are others to avoid.