Sherlock Holmes as an Ultimate Fighter? Professor Moriarty as a shadowy terrorist? Irene Adler as a super con artist? Yes, and the city of London as it was in the good old days of Queen Victoria. Or as close as you can get with a lot of computer generated images.
Victoria's London was as much of a star in Sherlock Holmes as Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law. The cobblestones themselves spell out the opening credits as we follow Lestrade and Watson to the scene of a crime. The back alleys, the sewers, the river Thames, the Tower Bridge under construction, and all the great landmarks make their small appearances on screen.
Oh sure, the story of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson saving the world take center stage, but the stage itself is London. It's a perfect film for my London Thoughts, as it is not quite real-and much cheaper to get to.
The London of Sherlock Holmes is amazing and beautiful, and since it is set in the 1890s or there abouts, there is a lot of smog to help trick the eye over the details. Unlike, say Avatar, where every frame was a special effect and looked like a special effect, the London of Sherlock Holmes often looked like London. Some of the more gimmicky shots had that latent oh-look-CGI feel to them, but they were not enough to be a problem for me.
The story is pure Scooby Doo, but I still liked it. Robert Downey, Jr is great as Sherlock Holmes, even if he can't really be bothered to put on much of an English accent. I liked Sherlock Holmes, and I liked the CGI London at the heart of it.