Sherlock Holmes parents guide

Sherlock Holmes Parent Guide

Sadly the modifications to this classic character's persona, along with Robert Downey Jr.'s rapid fire delivery, leave "Sherlock Holmes" missing some elementary ingredients.

Overall B-

Compared to other adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, this Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr.) turns the detective into more of an action hero. Even his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law) packs a punch as the pair takes on a criminal mastermind with world domination ambitions.

Release date December 25, 2009

Violence C
Sexual Content B-
Profanity A-
Substance Use B-

Why is Sherlock Holmes rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Sherlock Holmes PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.

Run Time: 129 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Good ‘ol Sherlock Holmes has enjoyed a long existence as one of the most intelligent detectives who ever lived. Now, with a Hollywood makeover, he is also one of the scrappiest. Revealing fighting abilities that would leave even Bond a little shaken and stirred, Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) presents himself in this telling as much more of an action hero. Joining him is his cohort Dr. Watson (Jude Law), who is more ninja than physician.

The great detective’s presence is requested by a strange bloke who’s imprisoned on death row by London’s finest for the multiple murders of various women. Yet, even behind bars Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is managing to wreck havoc. So much so they have had to evacuate the other prisoners that allege he has taken control of their minds and caused a guard to go into medical distress. During Holmes’ short visit, Blackwood assures the sleuths that after his visit to the gallows, England will be threatened even more so by his wrath.

Holmes takes this rather supernatural statement seriously, and the game is afoot. He’s also not so love struck by a fetching acquaintance (Rachel McAdams) to overlook the possibility of her being a pawn within Blackwood’s plan. Unraveling a curiously convoluted plot involving metaphysical forces and technology (that you’d be hard pressed to purchase at a Victorian-era Radio Shack), the boy from Baker Street discovers all of England—if not the entire globe—is hanging on his ability to decipher the clues.

Unexpectedly delivering more action than logic, director Guy Ritchie has given Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters such a transformation that you wonder if the author himself would recognize his creation. Holmes’ ability to deduce and predict lands him more within the category of clairvoyant. Combined with undocumented fighting skills (perhaps with the hopes of keeping 21st Century film audiences amused), our hero can even slow down time and methodically consider every body part he should hammer in order to slay his opponent. The result is a one-two punch as we see the brutal hits in slo-mo and then in rapid release. Not to be outdone, Watson offers other skills to keep the duo from harm, and pistols are involved in some confrontations.

These violent encounters throughout the film will be the greatest issue for parents. Thankfully, profane language is nearly non-existent, with only one mild profanity noted. Sexual content is also relatively minimal. A woman drops her robe, but we only briefly see her back and shoulders; a man is seen naked on a bed with a pillow covering his private parts (check the movie’s trailer if you want to preview this) and a short reference is made about a person being conceived during a cult ceremony (it is vaguely implied that the mother may have been raped).

Cautiously suitable for older teens, this production will do little to fill the inexperienced in on the real Holmes. Sadly the modifications to this classic character’s persona, along with Robert Downey Jr.‘s rapid fire delivery and sometimes difficult to decipher accent, leave Sherlock Holmes missing some elementary ingredients.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release December 25, 2009. Updated

Sherlock Holmes
Rating & Content Info

Why is Sherlock Holmes rated PG-13? Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.

Violence will be the greatest issue in deciding if this movie is appropriate for older teens. Many scenes feature characters fighting. While weapons use is minimal, the hand-to-hand combat is brutal with sound effects and slow motion sequences. At least two characters are shot with pistols. One scene features men fighting competitively in a ring match. A character is executed by hanging—we see the body twitching after the event. A corpse is exposed and maggots are seen on the face. A character, trying to recreate an event, is seen hanging with rope around his neck (he is still alive). A character is shocked with a device. A character experiments with potions using a dog as a test subject. In a makeshift lab, a dissected frog, a brain and other disturbing things are seen. A character is lit on fire. A cult is depicted and in one scene a clothed woman is seen tied to a table. Later a comment is made about a baby being conceived during a cult ceremony. One mild profanity was noted. Social drinking is depicted. A character is seen with a pipe, but we don’t see it being smoked.

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More parents' guide for Sherlock Holmes after the break...

Sherlock Holmes Parents' Guide

Why are classic characters sometimes modified when adapted to movies? What reasons can you think of which may have motivated the changes made to the character of Sherlock Holmes in this film?

Sherlock Holmes has an uncanny ability to determine details about someone’s personality by simply observing them. Have you ever tried to do this? How might drawing conclusions this way possibly lead us to assume things about another person that are not correct? Do stereotypes in the media contribute to these assumptions?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Sherlock Holmes movie is March 30, 2010. Here are some details…

Release Date: 30 March 2010
Sherlock Holmes releases to DVD and Blu-ray with the following extras:
- Featurette: Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented (How Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. reinterpret the master sleuth and how Downey prepares for the role.)
Sherlock Holmes on Blu-ray also offers:
- Picture-in picture
- Storyboard comparisons
- Stills galleries
- Focus points
- Timeline

Related home video titles:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary character has been brought to life for TV and film many times. Matt Frewer plays Sherlock Holmes in Hallmark’s The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Actor Robert Downey Jr. plays another maverick willing to take the law into his own hands in Iron Man.