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Up-arming the Movies

By Gar Smith


I've been dismayed by the recent slew of movie posters advertising the new Sherlock Holmes sequel. Popping up on billboards and buses around the Bay Area, they show a smirking Sherlock and a blank-faced Watson brandishing handguns.

Now call me old-fashioned, but I don't recall watching any of the original Holmes films in which Basil Rathbone walked around waving a pistol. Just when did Holmes decide to swap his meerschaum for a Mauser?

A. Conan Doyle's Holmes used to rely on introspection, intelligence and dazzling powers of observation to solve crimes. Does anyone else find it disturbing that Doyle's "battle of wits" has been replaced by a Hollywood gun-battle of twits? Instead of "Elementary, Dr. Watson," Holmes' modern catchphrase would seem to be: "Hand me a new clip, Watson!"

Instead of "Elementary, Dr. Watson," Holmes' modern catchphrase would seem to be: "Hand me a new clip, Watson!"

Now I'm gracious enough to forgive the filmmakers for the wardrobe decision to drop the deerstalker cap -- but Holmes (as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) in drag? That's really lip-sticking it to us purists.

In response to the encroaching pistolry and pyrotechnics in what passes for "modern cinema," my first thought was to call for a national campaign to ban weapons from our movie screens.

If Hollywood directors can change their ways and show A-list actors to eschew on-screen smoking and start buckling their seatbelts before a car-chase, why not exercise a little restraint when it comes to the overbearing bearing of arms -- at least for the week of the High Holy Holidays?

But since a Holiday Hollywood Handgun Ban looks unlikely, I've decided to take a different approach.  Now that Doyle's dudes have been dolled up in Edwardian body armor, maybe it's time for the rest of us to join the trend and up-arm some other movie classics.

Here are a few titles that occurred to me.

Peter Pan

Perhaps you can come up with others:

Peter Pandemonium

Mary Popguns

Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang-Bang

Gun-Slinging in the Rain

To Blast a Mockingbird

Machinegun Muppets Take Manhattan

Hercule Poirot Goes Ballistic

Dora the Explorer: Locked and Loaded

E.T.: The Exterminating Terrestrial

A Gunfight at the Opera (starring the Marksmen Brothers)

Emeryville's Pixar Studios would be expected to join the fray with a holiday feature where Woody, Buzz and the gang return as a team of grenade-tossing mercenaries in Destroy Story.

And, of course, Pixar's next Cars sequel would be called Tanks!


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If you can't use an unbelivably rich universe like Doyle's Sherlock Holmes without loading it with guns, don't.

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