The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002)
June 15, 2008 § 1 Comment
This is a handsome production with a good cast. Richard Roxburgh somehow looks like the sort of Holmes I’ve always pictured, handsome and dashing, yet capable of being physically threatening. At the same time, Ian Hart is the standout member of the cast here as a superb Watson. His Watson is a strong and loyal, yet he doesn’t appear particularly bright — it’s almost as if Hart elected to play Watson like the loyal dog that belongs to Holmes, which is an interesting approach for an adaptation of Hound of the Baskervilles.
The CGI/animatronic hound allows for a film production to have some of the unreal, almost mythical fear imagined by readers for over a hundred years. This isn’t “Right, it’s a dog, shoot it,” it’s the oversized, fearsome hound from the nightmares of people who’ve read the book for over a century.
This film isn’t completely and utterly faithful to the book, though if the same feelings of fear and mystery are translated into a different presentation, I think that’s faithful, regardless of what minor details are changed. And to be fair, audiences today expect a faster pace. This certainly isn’t the first film adaptation of the novel by Doyle, so the need to be distinctive is even stronger here. Overall, this is a Hound that stands on its own four legs, though I think the 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone remains the best film adaptation.