Enola Holmes (2020, Netflix)
Dir: Harry Bradbeer
Who is Enola Holmes?
She’s the younger sister (played by Millie Bobby Brown) of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes (Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin). An invention, not of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but of Nancy Springer who has written a series of YA novels about her.
What mystery does she have to solve?
Her mother disappears overnight, and while looking for her, Enola gets embroiled in a bigger mystery.
How different is it from other Sherlock adaptations?
Clearly, though he appears, the focus is not on Sherlock, though sleuthing is still key. Also, it’s nice to see it as a period piece, not transposed to the modern-day like many other Sherlock adaptations. It’s also very fun and humourous, with asides and direct audience address that works well to keep younger audiences engaged.
Why was Netflix sued?
Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes shows affection and care for his sister, but apparently, his emotions are a facet of later novels that hadn’t yet gone into the public domain. So, emotions are something that you can copyright? Nonsense! That’s why the case has thankfully been dismissed.
Where will this lead?
Originally made with Warner Brothers going to distribute, they offloaded it due to the pandemic and I bet they were kicking themselves a few months later as I suspect it could’ve been a success for them on HBO Max, though that plan wasn’t in place. In other circumstances, it would’ve done well with a full theatrical release. The film and its success, easily set things up for a sequel, though it took a much longer time to confirm it than the success would have had me expect, possibly held up while they settled the legal issues. On the strength of this first film, it’s clear this could make a nice little trilogy or low-stakes franchise, there are 6 books after all.
When will that happen?
Filming has already started, so it looks like it’s moving ahead nicely, and should be on track for the end of 2022 or early 2023. While it’s not going to be one of my most anticipated films of the year, I do look forward to seeing how Enola’s story develops, this was such an enjoyable afternoon movie and with the same writer and director working on the sequel, I expect to have a good time with what comes next.