Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Visit to 221b Baker Street

"My dear Watson, let me explain," lately, I have been spending a considerable amount of time in the company of the ingenious Sherlock Holmes and his trusted confidante and sidekick, the dear Dr. Watson. I first stumbled upon the book, "Sherlock Holmes The Complete Novels ad Stories Volume I" while searching for some Agatha Christie novels at my local bookstore. I knew Sherlock was rumored to be one of the most famous of detectives as far as mysteries go. (And beyond, really. I believe it is safe to say he is one of the most famous fictional characters in the civilized world, if you don't mind my assumption!) And for good reason too! I was entranced from the start of "A Study in Scarlet" to the locked-room mystery of "The Sign of the Four."

I was amazed at the cold, logical, and calculating mind of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. As Watson once so accurately said, it is a good thing he is on the side of the law instead of against it, for he would never be caught. (that last part was my belief) He really is almost robot-like. Soon after he explains his observations, you find yourself thinking "of course! Why didn't I see that?" along with Watson, but the fact is you didn't and Sherlock did and that's a fact. That's whats so extraordinary. I only have a few bones to pick with Mr Holmes. He seems not to appreciate dear Watson enough in his egocentric world. (for even though I think him the greatest, he is egocentric.) I know he does in his own strange way, but not consciously, and every once in a while I'd like to see that music loving, soul searching- side to his character come out toward Watson. But, really, I shouldn't complain. Watson doesn't. He is, indeed, Sherlock's biggest fan. Their friendship is simply great.

I was very surprised at Watson's character. Going into the books, I had the impression that Watson was a goofy sidekick, always putting his foot in it and just generally being a clod-hopper. I apologize profusely Dr. Watson! I was, very happily, wrong. I can only justify that opinion because of some versions of Sherlock Holmes. But, in reality, Dr. John Watson is the perfect accomplice for Holmes. He is clever, indeed, but compared to Holmes' shining intellect, he seems dull at some points. BUT that is just to show how clever Holmes is. It doesn't seem very extraordinary to be more clever than a clod-hopper, but to be more clever than a successful doctor and true gentleman is rather special. You see what I mean?

It is interesting to note though, that Holmes lacks some common sense and social graces. Please don't argue just yet ;) In "A Study in Scarlet," Watson is surprised to find that Sherlock does not know that the solar system is geocentric instead of heliocentric! As Watson said, "his ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge." Sherlock then astounds us more by saying that he will try his best to forget this bit of information. When asked to explain, he goes on to say that he believes the mind can only hold so much, so he must only keep such information as is important to him and his line of studies. While seemingly rather unusual, there may be some sense in that fact... Very surprising, nonetheless.

After becoming interested in the occupants on 221b Baker Street, the next logical step, to my mind, was to search for more about them. Luckily, my piano teacher had the perfect recommendation: a television series starring Jeremy Brett as the famous Sherlock Holmes. She assured me it was quite like the books, sometimes word for word; and I was not disappointed. He was fabulous, Watson was as I imagined, and the story has a good flow, while being very true to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have only watched the first three episodes so far, but I am hooked! I cannot wait to see some more! And, of course, read more.

Have any of you all read and/ or watched Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his trusty friend Dr. Watson? What do you think of them? I'll be interested to see if anyone has any opinions. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Scarlet Pimpernel Movie Review


So, I was rather tentative about reviewing "The Scarlet Pimpernel" because I have the idea from a couple of blogs I've seen that there is a very dedicated fandom of TSP. I cannot claim to be a part of that fandom because I have only read one book of TSP and while it was good, that was all I have read of it. I have also seen the 1982 version starring Anthony Andrews as Sir Percy (loved him in that role, not many people could play Percy without making him incredibly annoying and completely unlikable.) And also starring Jane Seymour (love her as an actress, she's stunning! She's also Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women, which I know because of Hamlette's blog give away, so thank you again Hamlette!) Finally, Citizen Chauvelin was played by Ian McKellen to perfection.

The theme song began, and already I was very excited for this movie, as I'd heard wonderful reviews. (If you would like to hear the theme song click here.) So, it starts out in a jail, and they (the French Citizens) are taking the fallen aristocrats to Madame Guillotine. It's rather gruesome, but you don't see much, don't worry. It's only gruesome because I have an overactive imagination, and because it actually did happen during the real French Revolution under Robespierre and I think about that. I learned about that in History this year.... hmm, maybe school is helpful after all? ;)

So, anyway, for those of you who don't know the story, the Scarlet Pimpernel and his gang save aristocrats who are about to be beheaded. Because even though the Revolution had high ideals, when put into practice they became rather harsh. (Not ALL aristocrats are bad, you know!) The Scarlet Pimpernel is the despair of Robespierre and, more importantly, Citizen Chauvelin.  Every time the Scarlet Pimpernel successfully saves another French aristocrat, he leaves a little Pimpernel Flower in their place like this:


Now, how does he escape? Well, Sir Percy is wonderful at disguises. Here are just a few:




The latter is how he usually looks, but it really is a disguise, as Percy isn't really a stupid fop, but an extremely wonderful gentleman. Those are pretty amazing disguises, though. On to the romance though! His face when he catches sight of Marguerite St. Just! It's priceless! Really love at first sight and that kind of thing.


Marguerite St. Just is a famous actress, and, sadly the love interest of Citizen Chauvelin, but Percy soon successfully transfers her attentions. I really never understood how someone like Marguerite liked Chauvelin.... maybe his power interested her, or perhaps she thought the cause he was fighting for noble at first. Probably the latter. But, I don't exactly hate Chauvelin. At times, I almost feel sorry for him. Then he's slimy Chauvelin again and I'm disgusted with him. But Ian McKellen really made Chauvelin interesting. You're not sure he's terribly awful all the time.


But when Chauvelin said to Marguerite that his "first duty, my dear, is to you." I was thinking yeah RIGHT! Because, of course, that simply isn't true and I believe Marguerite knew it too. His love, like Enjolras' is to Patria, or, his country. Which would be great and all, except what they are doing is wrong.

But, I have a bone to pick with Sir Percy.... When he hears, after his marriage to Marguerite, that she "finally got revenge" on the aristocrats who hurt her brother Armand (by having the whole family beheaded), and Percy BELIEVES MARGUERITE WOULD DO SUCH A THING! No! No! No! Citizen Chauvelin's name is written all over it! I know he must be "careful" and blah blah blah because it might be true, so she can never know he is the Scarlet Pimpernel and he has to act like a foppish gentleman in his own house now too.... IT'S JUST SAD!

I felt deeply for Marguerite, especially at the picnic, when Percy doesn't stand up for her. When she runs away I practically yell GO AFTER HER! But I don't because it might disturb my whole family.

And the scene where Marguerite feels that Percy just doesn't love her anymore breaks my heart, and I was also sad when Percy says, after being wrongfully accused by Armand that he has ceased to love her, "ceased? I shall love her till the day I die... that is the tragedy." :'(

I was also sad for the poor little Prince Louis. His "catechism" at night was horrifying, to say the least. I cannot talk about it. Now, because there is so much I want to say, and I can't seem to find a way to connect it all, I will randomly just mention some of my favorite bits:

-That Marguerite is brave enough to risk so much just for the Scarlet Pimpernel, especially since she doesn't even know he's Percy, was truly amazing to me. Bravo Marguerite!

- Percy: "I shall be back, my dear Chauvelin, to haunt you."

-I must mention the best fighting scene between Percy and Chauvelin. Percy is so arrogant! haha

- Percy's sayings are just amazing! "Odd's fish, m'dear" and "Sink meh!" etc.etc.

- Percy the fop's poems: "I'm a bit of a poet, and you didn't know it!"
"They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!"

This is a really nice movie, with some adventure and suspense, romance, and historical information. The costumes are amazing and the hair is very intricate. I hope you like the movie and the review! I certainly enjoyed both!

And if you haven't watched TSP, Percy and I are judging you. Rectify this immediately! :)
Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU2RLwEsxT4