In the late 70s and 80s, there was an up-and-coming movie director that captured our imaginations and told wonderful stories.He could weave tales of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure while still making you believe that the child within still existed. Then award snubs kept happening and he became more serious. In becoming more serious, he lost what it meant to play on a movie set and simply create. How else do explain the same man producing Jaws, E.T., and Schindler’s List?
In 1985, just a couple of years removed from his iconic movie, E.T. and just after the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg gave the world his idea of what would have happened if Holmes and Watson had met as schoolboys. What unfolded on the screen was a wonderful tale worthy of Doyle’s Holmes and a treat for the eyes. The Academy rewarded the visuals with the Oscar for best effects. It also became the movie that caused everyone to stay until the credits had ended by putting a plot twist after them. This of course inspired the irrevent take at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and other movies.
So, does it hold up 24 years later?
To an extent, yes.
The story is still amazingly simple, yet has enough twists to keep you engaged. The effects are still impressive, if not moreso given the timeframe. What I didn’t notice then that hit me hard watching it now is how much of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Spielberg copied. The temple scenes in Young Sherlock Holmes are toned down from what we saw in Indy, almost as if Spielberg was telling everybody he could make it gentler. That is probably the only real issue I have with the movie.
Unfortunately, the DVD got the shaft. No extras at all, which is surprising given the groundbreaking effects created for it. One can only hope that Paramount corrects this injustice with an anniversary release next year. I am not holding my breath.
My advice: See the movie if you haven’t — particularly if you liked Indy and The Goonies…