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two of our tour guides dressed the part

two of our tour guides dressed the part

42nd airborne battalion at the Houston Maritime Museum

42nd Airborne battalion at the Houston Maritime Museum

Recently with the help of the Steampunk group, the 42nd Airship Battalion, I organized an outing to the Houston Maritime museum. The tour included over 150 model ship exhibits, spanning the age of exploration to the modern merchant marines and several models of steam powered ships from the Victorian age. As you can see from the photos we all had an amazing time.

Steampunk outing at the Maritime Museum

Steampunk outing at the Maritime Museum

The museum exhibits included models of steam paddle ships. Riverboats conjure images of fun and adventure and are therefore a perfect setting for a Steampunk story. Paddle boats were highly popular in the 18thcentury for navigating well in shallow waters as well as up river against fierce currents. Prior to the development of the railways they were a favorite ways to travel. The interiors of the antebellum riverboats were luxurious with elaborate crystal chandeliers, lush hand carved furniture, oriental rugs, and so much more.  Of course one needs drama and trauma in any novel and there is plenty of opportunity for that on a steam paddle ship.

at the Houston Maritime Museum

at the Houston Maritime Museum

Fire is always s a great disaster for fiction. At the museum I learned the double steam stacks towered so high to keep sparks as far away from the wood boat as possible. Still sometimes an ember would hit the ship. Wood and paint are highly flammable so fire, panic, and catastrophe would ensue. If you want something even more dramatic, the boilers sometimes exploded in a huge, ear splitting, blast of fire and smoke, resulting in the deaths of many passengers and leaving even more injured.  Body parts were literary blown off.  In 1830 the US Congress funded research to end boiler explosions. Here is a website that even list River Boat demise with the reason and year of the loss.

The museum also had an exhibit on the Texas Navy which served the Republic of Texas when it stood as a separate country from 1836 into 1845 after gaining independence from Mexico. The idea of combing the wild west with Victorian nautical influences thrilled my muse. You can see more of these valiant fighting men in tiny but feisty ships on this youtube video.

To me the most important Victorian submarine was the Plongeur, simply because when Jules Verne saw it at the Exposition Universelle in 1867, it served as his inspiration for the Nautilus. However, the museum’s model of and news clipping about the confederate submarine the H. L. Hunley intrigued me. This combat submarine, named after its inventor Horace Lawson Hunley, was the first sub to sink an enemy warship. However, the Hunley itself sunk three times in its short career. The second time it sunk, Horace Lawson Hunley was among one of the men who drowned. After the Hunley’s successful attack on the screw sloop, the USS Housatonic the sub sank for unknown reasons and was lost.

Speaking of the confederacy and the U.S Civil war the museum included models of the ironclad ships, the rebel Merrimac and the union Monitor. Ironclads refer to steam powered warships of that era, protected by iron or steel armor plates. By the end of the U. S. civil war the Union was building triple turreted ironclads with twenty inch mounted guns. By the 1880’s ironclads were equipped with the heaviest guns ever mounted at sea and more sophisticated steam engines. Modern day battleships developed from these ironclad ships.

If you have a maritime museum in your local area, I encourage you to visit. Organize a Steampunk outing there if you are able, I guarantee you it’ll be a lot of fun and I’m sure you’ll gather inspiration for your Steampunk writing. After all, it’s sad to think of this, but if  Jules Verne had not attended the Exposition Universelle in 1867 and seen the Plongeur, we might not have 20,000 Leauges Under The Sea, which readers enjoy to this day, over 140 years after it was first published.

There may well be an exhibit at your local museum just waiting for you to discover it and gain inspiration for your next book.

Maeve Alpin

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 Hello my lovelies!! I have been absent I know!! Have no fear though, I am back!

So, I hear rumor we are talking about fantasy in steampunk this month and do I have something to show you!! On March 25th, Suckerpunch, a total kick ass steampunk(ok, maybe more dieselpunk) movie full of mechanical robots, zeppelins and sexy girls in a variety of fantastical steampunk outfits arrives in theaters!! This movie weaves a crazy dark fantasy stylized world with steampunk elements and all I can say is I will be first in line to see this movie. I also totally plan on recreating Sweet Pea’s AMAZING outfit!! Does anyone have a sword I can borrow? lol

I would also like to add I am a total fan of how often the paranormal and fantasy elements are being blended with steampunk, personally that’s what I prefer to write, read and watch, so this is all good-by me!! How about you guys? Do you prefer the fantastical element mixed in or do you prefer your steampunk more science based? I promise a full review after I watch it, but until then I will leave you with the amazing trailer for what looks to be a very fun, action packed steampunk movie!

~Elizabeth

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Happy Thanksgiving

 

Today we have a special Steampunk Movie Review for you by Ramon Fagan of The Art of Steampunk.

“Nickel Children“: SteamPunk/Sci-Fi Western Short Film
Review by Ramon Fagan, review courtsey of The Art of Steampunk.

I have gotten so hopeful, then disappointed with other attempts to use the currently fashionable Steampunk Aesthetic and Fictional approach (much less actual Steampunk Cultural ideas or values) to boost attention to various movies or TV shows lately that I find myself almost afraid to hope that something really good would come out of a project like this.  Thank Goodness Kevin Eslinger, apparently with help from his brother, was the one that put this project together! 

    Imagine a place where an “Indiana Jones” like vigilante goes after the most evil imaginable, yet classic, bad man from the old west, who is hiding a secret weapon right out of classic science fiction horror films. Now picture it set in the one place and time on earth where everyone, and probably the family pets even, would need to have a pair of adventurer’s goggles on them at all times, the dust bowl time period in Kansas.  As this is a “Steampunk Film” the goggles are naturally very decorative and science fiction looking including one pair (that the vigil ante’s partner uses) that appear to be the most elaborate pair of magnifying, telescopic goggles I have ever seen, and I assure you I have seen a lot of them!

    The acting ranged from good/very good (depending on your interpretation of the director’s intent) on the part of some of the minor actors to some of the finest acting I have ever seen on the part of the stars.  The script was also tight, well written, well thought out, and well executed, as it must be when you have only 16 minutes to tell a gripping tale.  All short films try for that perfect blend, but few come up to this one’s high standards of delivering this combination that can make even a very short film something to remember!

        Amanda Bailey apparently (per another reviewer’s comment, as she changed so expertly in her two double roles I actually missed that it was the same actress) plays both Jack’s mother in the opening scene, and Anastasia, the vigil ante looking for her stolen son.  Both were absolutely incredibly well performed in all ways!  To give you some idea of how talented this actress really is, she managed to convey deep love and protectiveness for her son, love and admiration for her man, thanks that he did not object when she gave the lion’s share of their meager food to their child, then fear, grief, shock, and finally abject terror in every possible way without so much as a single spoken line.  She did this as well, in my opinion, as Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, or anyone I have ever seen, and she did this all in about 60 seconds total.  I know this sounds impossible, but if you pay close enough attention to body language (even breathing patterns) and have ever seen real people going through that level of real terror and tragedy, then you will understand when you see her in that scene!  I had to catch my breath again from that alone just to be able to focus on the core film which followed and we were still in the first two minutes or so of the film with almost no spoken lines! The film only got better from there, but first, let's discuss some of the other actors in the film.

    Easton Lee McCuiston plays Jack, a quiet, polite, young boy, whose parents are murdered, apparently just to steal him for the child fighting arena. When I asked the director about the very emotionally restrained performance of this character he gave a very sound and artistic explanation for how this character was directed to perform:  “Easton did a fantastic job at keeping that somber, blank expression, of a kid whose been almost completely traumatized by the events he's witnessed. Almost catatonic shock, he's going through the motions, but not really understanding what is happening. “

 Michael Venter plays his father who manages to convey, without even speaking, courage, despair, love, and tragedy when trying to calculate what will give his family the best chances when a gunslinger comes to destroy them.  While his part was brief, it was very good and very memorable.  Jeremy Snowden plays the evil gunslinger (referred to as “Sherrif” in review info) that rules over a network of child sex slave and gladiator slave rings throughout the territory.  He gives a chilling and very believable performance with excellent attention to even very small details of facial expression, body language, and range of emotions conveyed by the eyes.  Brian J. Lowry was entertaining and interesting as Dr. Montague, the Steampunk inventor and vigil ante accomplice, but he was not given enough of a role in this to evaluate well.  We will see more of him, I hope in future episodes.  Benjamin Wood also did a great job as the evil “Sherrif’s” secret weapon, but I can’t say much about that here without giving away too much in the plot.  I would also like to make a special mention of the fine performance of the ring announcer, his lovely female assistant who exudes greed from her eyes while happily taking money for a child sex slave, and the “Sherrif’s Exotics” a pair of Asian women who show a strong performance of sensual pleasure at watching Jack’s blood being spilled.  

       While the subject of child slavery, especially for sexual purposes, is, or at least should be, repulsive to us all, it was handled about as tastefully as it can be and still get across the level of evil the vigil ante is up against.  Besides, what sci-fi/steam punk/western story could possibly be more enjoyable than seeing the worst scum imaginable get beaten up by the very children they were abusing?   In fact the director, like many before him, insisted that his “evil” actors show as little emotion, either pity or anger toward the children as possible in all scenes of the film.  He said this was completely intentional: “ their lack of emotion is only to show that this is just another day, another betting ring, and another kid. They feel no remorse.”   He said it was important to make the evil characters as evil and predatory as possible so that the children not have any negativity attach to them as characters in later scenes where they violently retaliate against the betting ring staff and patrons.

    On a similar note that would make the Bards of my own Celtic ancestors proud, the director briefly mentioned in an e-mail to me that he actually hoped this film’s story line would help to draw attention to this worst of all modern social problems.  He didn’t make an issue of it, and may not mention it again, but that really caught my attention.  The reason it caught my attention so strongly was that this is a “Steampunk Movie” and from the very earliest beginnings of the 1800s era science fiction that “Steampunk” evolved from, such as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “The Time Machine”, our “Steampunk” sub-culture (and it’s early ancestral sources ) have rebelled not only against the idea of mass production of ugly, shoddy, disposable goods in settings that demean and abuse 3rd world factory workers, but also against the idea of apathy toward social problems and the trials of disempowered classes, including children. 

    In other words, those members of  the “Steampunk  Community”, like myself, who treat it as far more than just a fashion statement, have been progressively making it into a force for positive social change.  Why would this matter to the TV/film industry you may ask?  It should matter, because after the fiasco of NCIS-LA attempting to use an incredibly poorly researched and insulting episode they pandered as “Steampunk” which did bad things to the reputation of the show‘s writers and producers, much more attention is being paid to whether or not writers, directors, and producers take the time and trouble to actually ask members of any given community or subculture for information and assistance in developing entertainment that gives professional results, not to mention responsible and respectful reflection of various cultures and values. 

    Mr Eslinger, and his costumer, and other production staff not only asked for  opinions and help from their local Steampunk Community, but were actually loaned personal items to use in the film with their blessings and support.  The Castle TV series went so far as to hire members of the California Steampunk community as extras and expert consultants for their “Steampunk Episode“.  Why is it so much trouble for people to pick up the phone, or drop a courteous e-mail and ask for support from people so desperately trying to communicate?  When this is not done, it simply shows the writers and developers to be lazy and apathetic about producing good art in a way that is actually in touch with the times and the people represented.  As a film director that is using a truly excellent Steampunk Genre film to tell a fictional tale that attracts attention to the worst of all social evils, I would like to say that I at least consider that sufficient reason to try to claim him, at least in an honorary capacity, as a part of our Steampunk Community!  If any of my readers do not believe that child slavery is still a serious problem worldwide, including in America, I would strongly suggest they take a look at the website of an excellent charitable organization that directly assists these children at http://love146.org/
   
I have to say that while any film (yes pretty much any of them) can be criticized in one area or another if dissected enough, and that all films, including this one, can be polished more or made more smooth and more easily understood if given more screen time to fill and more money to spend, overall I found this film truly enjoyable and a great pleasure to watch!  I also have noted that the comments and responses from literally every viewer I have been able to locate, canvas, or see a review or comment from so far has been unanimously very positive!  I have trouble recalling other films with such a universal appeal although I realize the limited audiences that have been able to see it so far have tended to be persons already seriously interested in the genre or in the film industry in general, but that is still incredibly impressive!  Having already given you my opinion of the acting, I would like to say that the script and the directing are truly outstanding!  I would also like to point out a few items of special interest in the technical areas.
   
The costuming is wonderful!  It ranged from old west, Kansas area, dust bowl farmer/rancher through upper class wealthy family riding/traveling clothes from the time period with the addition of goggles and corsets, (the two steam punk fashion essentials)as well as a few intentionally anachronistic accents.  In spite of what may sound, to persons unfamiliar with the “Steampunk Fashion Aesthetic”, which derives from an 1800’s era genre of science fiction stories. (which surprisingly enough really did begin to be published in that time period, but has changed much over the years)   This may sound rather odd, but assure you, the look and feel of a really good “Old West” movie, like the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” pervades almost every fiber of the short film, aside from the goggles, but even the goggles make good sense in light of the time and place where even Clint Eastwood would find such eye apparel pretty much a necessity if he wanted to hit anything in the daily dust storms. 
   
While I have seen more elaborate and more luxuriant Steampunk ensembles, goggles, toys, backpacks etc., and they looked great in a 21st century “Dream Team” concept version of a “Private Steampunk Nightclub” on a recent episode of the TV serial Castle, such extravagant looking costuming and fabrics would not have been nearly as perfect for this setting and I think such extremely fancy toys would have damaged the realistic, gritty, believability of the film in general. 
   
The soundtrack is also one of the film‘s great strengths!.  Unfortunately my expertise in this area is insufficient to say as much about the details in this area, but it was far more emotionally moving and richer as a soundtrack than I would have ever expected from any low budget short film. 
  
  The cinematography was also really good!  Most, if not all of the shots were in setting where limited and/or muted lighting was used to give an emotionally dark aspect to a very dark themed adventure.  While most viewers have never tried to act or perform in such lighting, I have, and I tell you it was murder!  Somehow the camera and lighting crew of this film found the magic formula to make everything very clear, yet realistic at the same time.  Even in the darkest, dungeon like area where the child slaves were caged, I could see every detail of every facial expression and every line of body language without multiple shadows.
   
The computer graphics that were used in some scenes to add background and depth were also used in one scene to make a very surprising and fairly believable sudden change to the building itself where the fight occurs and to even add an escape dirigible up close and later at a distance. 
   
The acting ranged from good to absolutely superb and the technical work on this short film was impressive as well!  I sincerely hope it was enough to help it win the recognition and support from the film industry and producers or bakers that it needs to make their dream of turning this short film into a Steampunk Serial a reality!  I and pretty much all of my hundreds of Steampunk friends worldwide are hoping his dream will happen as this is the best non-anime, possibly the best ever, Steampunk Fictional story TV or film, I have seen to date!  Best of luck to Mr. Eslinger and all the cast and crew of “Nickel Children”!

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Wow, we’ve reached 50,000 hits! Thanks for all your support. We have a really great contest coming up in a couple of weeks. We have more great guests and I have a special surprise I hope to debut in September. Thank you for making this blog what it is and please keep coming back to see all we have in store for you.

The Last Airbender
In Theaters now.

Okay, I know. The Last Airbender is hardly steampunk. But I took the tot to see it yesterday. Armed with chocolate and the knowledge that it would suck based on all the reviews I’d read, I braced myself for two hours of schlock that would pale in comparative to the cartoon the two of us had watched together, over and over.

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t a brilliant movie that I’d go to the theaters over and over to see, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend two hours and we’ll probably buy it when it comes out on DVD.

For those of you familiar with the cartoon, the move focuses on “Chapter One: Water” which is the first season of the four season cartoon. I didn’t know this and had prepared for them stuffing four seasons into two hours. They didn’t and I’m glad.

There were plenty of times where I wanted to scream “show not tell” at the movie screen. The dialogue often felt very expository. I know trying to cram 11 hours of cartoon into 2 hours of move is difficult, but it’s not an excuse.

I didn’t find the location shifts confusing, nor did I think there were too many. But then again, I’m very familiar with the cartoon, so my mind was able to fill in any holes. Someone who hadn’t seen all four seasons over and over might not be as tolerant.

The movie felt rushed in places…especially the relationship between Sokka and Princess Yue, which was disappointing. That is a very important part of the storyline which continues to impack Sokka through the whole series. Though I still cried at a certain pivotal scene involving the princess, which I though was beautifuly shot and handed well.

Actually Sokka as a character disappointed me. One of the great things about the cartoon was Sokka’s emotion and reactions in comparison to the others, this felt like it was totally lacking in the movie.

But I liked Katara and I thought Uncle Iroh stole the show…but he was always a great addition to the cartoon.

I thought the cinematography was very good…but the cartoon was also very cinematic. I thought the flying bison was a rather good effect. And the fire nation boats. Wow. I thought those were better than the cartoon, as well as the fire nation machines. I would have loved to see more of them.

Sure, this movie lacked a lot of things including the heart, soul, and character development that made the cartoon sparkle. (Which was a little disappointing because it had epic potential) It also wasn’t nearly as dreadful as I was led to believe. I’d go see the next one.

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I’m sorry I didn’t post this over the weekend. Thanks to everyone who contributed to our fabulous Steampunk book discussion.

The winner of the tiara is…

…drumroll please

*~*~*~ANTONIO RICH~*~*~*

Antonio, please contact me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to get your tiara.

I also have more exciting news. April is the one-year anniversary of he Steamed! blog.  One year–can you believe it?  As a thank you to all of you who’ve made this blog a success we’re going to have a month-long birthday party with special guests, prizes, and other fun stuff.

Let me give you a sneak peak of some of the special things we’re doing for Steampunkapalooza!

On April 1st we’re going to kick it off with the fabulous Gail Carriger, author of Soulless and Changless who’s going to stop by and give away a copy of Changeless.

The Fabulous Shelley Adina is going to share with us her adventuress in dressmaking on April 3rd.  The Stellar Jana Oliver will be dropping by on April 8th.

On April 15th Leanna Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker will come talk to us about her newest book  The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker.

Hold on to your fishnets! The Smutketeers will be invading the Steamed! blog to tell us about their new Wasteland series.  Man are the Covers hot!

Emilie Bush author of the feminist Steampunk novel Chenda and the Airship Brofman will visit us April 27th.

Stay tuned. We have many more fabulous things and guests planned and we hope you join us for our Steampunkapalooza,

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***Spoiler Alert***

Okay, so it’s not Steampunk, but Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has generated quite the buzz, not to mention the Disney Chanel is pimping the movie hard. Because there’s such a comprehensive add campaign (at least where I live), the tot really wanted to see it. Despite all the coverage on the Disney Channel and checking out parent-targeted review sites, I still had my reservations about the movie–after all, it was directed by Tim Burton (caveat, I love Tim Burton movies, but the tot *is* only five).

So, I took the tot to see it on Friday after school (non-3D, at her request), fully prepared to leave the theater if it was too scary (I also warned her ahead of time that there would be scary monsters)…

I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was so much more family-friendly then I ever expected. But I was also very entertained by the movie as was the tot (no potty breaks, when you have a five year old, this equates to a five-star rating). She did hang on to me through a few scenes, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think she got annoyed that I kept asking if she was okay.

This version is more of a sequel than a retelling. Here Alice is nineteen and thinks what happened before was all a dream. She goes to a party with her mother only to find out it’s really her engagement party and everyone pressures (and expects) her to just accept the marriage proposal and be happy. She starts seeing a rabbit in a waistcoat and when the proposal happens, she’s just not sure she can go through with it, runs out of the garden, follows the rabbit, and falls down the rabbit hole and the real adventure begins…

As advertised, Alice is a feast of sights and colors. The mundane world is shown in pallid tones, while Wonderland is lush, vibrant, and a bit wild. Color is used to set characters apart–like the Red Queen versus the White Queen. The costumes are amazing–especially Alice’s. My favorite was the one she wore as “Um” in the Red Queen’s palace. But the Mad Hatter’s hat was also something. The acting was amazing, especially the Red Queen and Alice, but the Mad Hatter had some funny bits, too.

They really did a good job of making this movie adventurous, magical, and fresh, as well as enjoyable, but still appropriate for kids. Quite a bit of the movie is computer generated which adds to the fantastical feel of the story–it also takes the edge off the scary scenes and creatures. Even the scene with Alice and the Jabberwocky feels a bit like the scene in Sleeping Beauty where Prince Phillip slays Maleficent. But it’s not a bad thing at all–especially when bringing young children. There is a scary scene where the Red Queen tries to behead the mad Hatter, but it ends happily thanks to the Cheshire cat.

I also thought the story itself was superb. Someone did their research and made it feel as if it were simply the next Alice book. There were plenty of tie-ins to the original story, including reappearances by all the usual suspects. My favorite references include a comment at the garden party about the gardeners planting the wrong roses, the ever present “why is a raven like a writing desk” riddle (for which, i believe, there is no actual answer), and the Mad Hatter reciting the Jabberwocky poem with a Scottish brogue.

An added bonus (especially from the mom perspective) was the theme about finding your own place in the world and making your own path–even if other people are trying to steer you differently. At one point in time the Mad Hatter tells Alice that she “used to be much muchier. You have lost your muchness.” Alice does indeed try to find her “muchness” in the movie. In Wonderland everyone expects her to be the White Queen’s champion and at one point in time Alice says that she’s sick of being told what to do and from now on will make her own path. Even her constant size-changing could serve as a metaphor for Alice trying to figure out where she fits. In the end, she returns to the garden party, the would-be suitor waiting, and taking what she learned about herself in Wonderland, refuses to accept the path laid out for her and goes on to forge her own.

If you’re looking for a trippy adult movie, you might be disappointed, but if you’re looking for some visually-stunning family fare, you’ve come to the right place. Just use your own judgment with very young children since some things can be a little scary at times.

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Today we have a visiting lolita.  Lolita Kristen has a movie review for us on the recent release Sherlock Holmes.

Movie Review– Sherlock Holmes
by Kristen Roach

Sherlock Holmes always was a little before his time. He was an amateur detective before Miss Marple, a forensic expert before Gil Grissom, a criminal profiler before Fox Mulder and a violin-playing, pipe-smoking, cocaine-shooting eccentric before…well…actually, there is no comparison there. Holmes was one of a kind. So devotees of the character can breathe a little easier knowing that as the new incarnation of Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. more than lives up to the legacy…minus the cocaine. He (with a little help from a very handsome Dr. Watson) manages to put just the right amount of the 21st century into the 19th.

This Holmes is a rock star, make no mistake. He has all the delightful arrogance of a man who has become accustomed to always being right in the end. He lives a much rougher lifestyle than his literary counterpart: he drinks heavily, he dabbles in experimental medicines and he boxes men twice his size. Although he holds great regard for human life in general, he thinks nothing of taking risks not only with his own life, but with the lives of those who happen to be around him. Holmes tries the patience of everyone he knows with his antics, none more so than his long suffering best friend and partner in crime-solving, Dr. John Watson.

In this incarnation, Watson is not the shadow of Holmes, but his conscience, constantly trying to turn Holmes into a better man while still struggling to do the same for himself. He is a gambler who fights the urge to play. He is a bachelor who has decided to settle down with a good woman. And he is a reluctant adventurer, a man for whom it is as impossible to turn away from a mystery as it is to say ‘no’ to any of Holmes’ machinations.

Together, this mismatched pair has solved many great, impossible crimes for Scotland Yard, including the case of several pseudo-Satanic ritual sacrifices of young women that appears to be closed at the beginning of the film. But now Watson has decided to get married and move out of the 221B Baker Street flat that he and Holmes have shared…and not only isn’t Holmes happy about it, he’s going to do everything in his power to change his old friend’s mind.

Watson’s attempt to start a new life with his fiancée is really thwarted, however, by the resurrection of Lord Blackwood, an upper-crust villain with an arsenal of parlor tricks and a handful of Masonic-esque gentlemen minions who believe he will help them take over England and reclaim America. At first, it seems as if Holmes and Watson may be in unfamiliar territory. Black magic? Supernatural powers? Secret societies? Are they solving a mystery or investigating an X-file?

But just when it seems as though the writers have gone too far into the paranormal, Holmes explains it all with science, stripping away Blackwood’s mystique and exposing him for the fraud that he is. Of course, there are a few bumps along the way.

The biggest of these is–surprise, surprise–a beautiful woman. Rachel McAdams plays Irene Adler, a con-woman extraordinaire and a one-time paramour of Holmes who comes to him on the pretense of hiring Holmes to find a missing person, but in reality is being used as the puppet of a shadowed figure who wants to find out as much about Holmes as possible. The man’s identity is not revealed until the end of the movie, and although some of the audience may have guessed it early on, it’s a pleasant surprise for viewers who aren’t as familiar with the Sherlock Holmes mythology.

Does Holmes solve the mystery, capture the bad guy and save the Crown? Of course. He’s Sherlock Holmes. The more interesting problems, however, are personal and not so easily dismissed. Can he set aside his own fear of change and fear of loneliness long enough to let his best friend find happiness with a good woman? Will he ever get the upper-hand over the one woman who’s ever held his interest…and would we even want him to? And although he recognizes the underlying threat posed by Irene Adler’s shadowed employer, will he be able to overcome his own hubris in time to recognize that Professor Moriarty will be his greatest adversary and traditionally the man who brings about his death? It’s those questions that fuel the movie and will most likely propel the planned sequel.

But is this film an example of steampunk? In truth, there are only a few elements that could honestly be classified as steampunk-ish. Blackwood’s weapon of mass destruction, for example, and perhaps some of Holmes’s experimental toys. But overall, while some the costumes and hair styles might be a bit too slick and modern for the time period, the movie is definitely grounded in the Victorian age with most of its conventions and limitations.

Sherlock Holmes is a fun romp through history, a well-acted, well-directed and well-produced mystery-adventure-comedy that gives a fresh face to a beloved fictional character. This Lolita says that Holmes and Watson can inspect her gears anytime!

Thank you so much for visiting us, Kristen. What did everyone else think? Did you like it? Did you think it was Steampunk?  How did it compare to previous versions?

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