Battle of Wits

By Ron Vincent R. Delos Angeles


March 13, 2012 at 11:05 A.M.

Science and magic can never combine, even if magic do exist.

Sherlock Holmes (2009 film) is an action packed mystery film based on a character created by the renown Scottish physician and author, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes is known for his impeccable wit and rationale. The film stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law portray Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson respectively. In the film, Holmes and his companion Watson, with aid from former adversary Irene Adler, investigate a series of murders connected to occult rituals. Mark Strong plays the villain Lord Blackwood, who has somehow returned after his execution with a plot to take over the British Empire using an arsenal of dark arts and new technologies.


I chose this movie because I love mystery and adventure films like the The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure. My first choice of movie was The Da Vince Code but I disregarded the idea because for me there is so much architecture shown in the movie and also it was because one of my classmate already featured it.

This movie, Sherlock Holmes, featured three of the most prominent architecture in England: the Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Palace of Westminster.

First up, the tower bridge called the Tower of London. It has become the iconic symbol of London. It was originally the only crossing for the Thames. As London grew, so more bridges were added, although these were all built to the west of London Bridge, since the area east of London Bridge had become a busy port. In the 19th century, the East End of London became so densely populated that public need mounted for a new bridge to the east of London Bridge, as journeys for pedestrians and vehicles were being delayed by hours. Finally in 1876, the City of London Corporation, responsible for that part of the Thames, decided the problem could be delayed no longer.

Here is a screen cap of the Tower of London under construction in the movie. The tower bridge is also the setting for the last battle between Sherlock Holmes and Lord Blackwood (main protagonist). Image

Another screen cap of the movie wherein Sherlock Holmes and Lord Blackwood fight over the cyanide vessels.


Next we have is the Big Ben. Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. It actually refers to the clock or the clock tower as well. Its official name is Parliament Clock Tower and also known as St. Stephen’s tower. The clock tower, also the Palace of Westmister, features a Gothic style of architecture.


Big Ben played the part as the signal for the release of the cyanide gas from the basement of the Palace of Westminster. That moment when the clock had struck twelve, Lord Blackwood had pressed the signal to release the cyanide gas to kill all of the lords of England, and the Parliament.

Here is the screen cap of the the Big Ben in the movie.


Lastly, the main and prominent architecture featured is the Palace of Westminster.  The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons. As stated earlier, the Palace features a Perpendicular Gothic architecture designed by Charles Barry. The Palace of Westminster that we see today is not the original one that was built in 1512. There was a great fire that destroyed the most of the palace in 1834 and was redesigned by the architect Charles Barry.

Here is an exterior painting of the Palace of Westminster before the Great Fire.


Here is the present structure of the Palace.


As stated earlier, the Palace of Westminster houses the Parliament, which is why in the movie, it was the best setting for the plot of Lord Blackwood of killing all of the Lords of England. The whole parliament will die of choking after inhaling the cyanide gas released from the basement of the Palace, set up by Blackwood’s men.

Here is the screen cap of the lords of England inside the Palace of Westminster.


To add, the movie also showed some Rococo-style of interior.

Here is the screen cap from the movie featuring the room of Holmes’ adversary, Irene Adler.Image

Elegance and drama is featured in the interior, just the same that you would expect from a Rococo-style of room. From the ceiling, to the walls, even to the intricate designs of the pieces of furniture, elegance, beauty and drama is truly present.



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