Tag Archives: action

enola holmes tablet

Enola “But Sherlock never had a sister!!!” Holmes. A review.

Everyone loves a famous fictional bloodline. In the 1990s, author Nancy Springer used the beloved Sherlock Holmes canon as a springboard for her young adult (YA) mystery novel series, and the revered detective gained a baby sister.

Palpably aimed at youngsters (my friend’s 12-year-old loved it), the Netflix adaptation is a star vehicle for Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, a bit like, say, Ballet Shoes was for Emma Watson.

They did choose to cast a big name- Henry Cavill – as Sherlock. Fans certainly wanted to see ‘his take’ on the detective. Amidst all the media frenzy over what is essentially just a family film, there was a bit of macho resentment that a popular actor in such an iconic role might be outdone by a girl.

We establish that our heroine likes to talk to the camera Fleabag-style (courtesy of director Harry Bradbeer). She had an idyllic, if unconventional, childhood in the countryside. Her father died when she was an infant, and Sherlock and older brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) left home to be masters of the universe.

She does share a close bond with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), who taught her loads of cool stuff, from chess and chemistry to archery and jiu-jitsu.

Callously, Eudoria does a runner on her daughter’s 16th birthday, leaving behind a trail of clues that draw us to London. While hunting for her mother, Enola has to evade Mycroft, who wants to send her to a boarding school run by Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw).

She teams up with fellow runaway Viscount Tewksbury, a sensitive soul rejecting a predetermined life of military service. They get embroiled in a conspiracy revolving around the Reform Act being opposed by traditionalists like Mycroft, who think the country doesn’t need more uneducated voters. Errr..

It’s an easy first case, as the budding detective succeeds on charm and coded messages involving the ‘Language of Flowers’, commonly used by ladies of the era. 

She’s aged up from the first novel, where she was 14 when her mother left to join a group of travellers. Bonham Carter is fighting for the women’s liberation cause (and still not collecting any Mother of the Year awards.) Luckily, there’s zero hint of any real danger; Enola thrives in an 1880s chocolate-box London.

The message to young audiences is that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely; you need to find your own path, and not be too influenced by others – especially by boys, however gorgeous Louis Partridge’s Tewksbury might be, blah blah blah.

Her critics have missed that Enola does have a lot to learn, and there’s scope for Sherlock to have a bigger mentor role in any sequels. He gets his own arc, which led to a lot of whooping on Twitter; in today’s parlance, the nineteenth century sleuth gets his privilege checked.

The film has flaws – it’s safe, lightweight, it’s clearly padded for time – but it’s entertaining enough. Brown gives an accomplished performance, showing she can carry on the Holmes legacy.

Tomb Raider’s Terrible Reboot. (OK it was more ‘meh’ than terrible.)

tombraider

London has never looked like a better location for a twee romantic comedy than it does at the start of the rebooted Tomb Raider, a capable origin story and actioner with no sense of humour or wonder.

Kickboxing at a local gym and bantering with her bicycle courier co-workers, Lara Croft is slumming it harder than most; all she has to do is sign some documents declaring her missing father (Dominic West) dead, and she inherits a fortune.

Although he’s been gone for seven years, Lara (Alicia Vikander) adamantly refuses to accept that Richard Croft – superrich business man, adventurer and aristocrat – is no more. Flashbacks show the Crofts in sappier times, where West keeps calling Lara by the nickname “Sprout”, and declaring “Daddy loves you”.

Swede Alicia Vikander is a good actress, whatever those three crazy Michael Fassbender stans say. She makes a tomboyish Lara, whose defining characteristic is bullheaded stubbornness. Having beaten the likes of Daisy Ridley for the role, she’s convincingly English enough to be to the (Croft) manor born.

While participating in an illegal and reckless bike chase through our capital’s streets, Lara crashes into a police patrol car. Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), an associate at Croft’s company, pops up to post bail and warn Lara that if she doesn’t claim her inheritance, her father’s estate will be sold off.

I must check and see if Scott Thomas did any interviews to promote this artistic endeavour, because I just live for her rants about life as an ageing actress. The still beautiful KST grits her teeth at the sight of Vikander’s dewy prettiness, and wishes the fool had been crunched under those car wheels.

Oblivious to the KST death rays, Lara stumps into swanky Croft HQ to meet lawyer Derek Jacobi. She finds her father’s secret office, and his message detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Japanese queen known as “the mother of death” or something. Richard warns Lara to destroy his work, in case it ends up in the wrong hands.

Hot on the trail of her father’s final destination, Lara heads east but gets captured by mercenaries funded by a shadowy organisation called Trinity, who definitely qualify as the wrong hands. They’d been failing at locating Himiko’s resting place when Lara turned up with Croft’s map, which pinpoints the exact spot the tomb is hidden.

Earlier in the movie we saw a waifish Ruby Rose lookalike easily put Lara in a headlock, but her survival instinct really kicks in, as she overpowers the hired toughs in hand-to-hand combat, before discovering Richard Croft living as a Tom Hanks castaway. He mutters, “Ignore it, it’s not real, it’ll go away, it always does,” when Lara appears, which is what my dad always says when he sees me.

Seconds later Lara’s dear old pa is back to normal. So did Sprout go to Oxford, or Cambridge? Look, Lord Sprout, this girl keeps landing on her thick skull, and the only reason there’s no damage is because she’s so dense.

Sigh. Croft performs amateur surgery on an injured Lara/Sprout and finally – it’s time to raid some tombs! Or rather, stop other people from raiding them in the case of the Trinity morons versus Himiko.

In what could be the start of an exciting-sounding premise (shame it comes at the end), Lara discovers that Trinity is actually a subsidiary of Croft Holdings, and a front for a secret organisation hunting for mysterious artifacts to control humanity. If Scott Thomas is in on it, believe me, they’ll be looking for the elixir of eternal youth 24/7. I know how she ticks.