Thursday, January 19, 2012

Io's shadow on Jupiter

Beautiful isn't it? This is an image taken by the Hubble Telescope. A telescope that has given us a lot of discoveries, a lot of new information on our solar system, on our galaxy, on the universe in which we live.

Jupiter is the biggest planet of our solar system. It is a gas giant; this means that Jupiter does not have a surface as such; its composition is mostly hydrogen and helium.

The image at the left shows the shadow of Io, one of Jupiter's many moons, as it is cast over on the upper atmosphere of the planet. Io is one of the most volcanically active bodies of our solar system.

For more beautiful photos and more information, you can go to the Hubble Site itself: HubbleSite by NASA.

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows

Let's get something clear on this one: I have not seen the first movie. But these are standalone stories and so, even if someone has not watched the first installment, they can watch the second movie without any continuity problems.

I went to see it yesterday, and I must say I was not impressed. Not at all. A nice movie for a couple of hours, but other than that, this is not Sherlock Holmes at all. This is a very very different character from the one portrayed in the A. C. Doyle books, and to my mind totally unrecognizable.

If there are good qualities in this movie, they are its humour and Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes. Yes, this is a general action adventure movie, with the right dose of humour. But, I will repeat this again, it is not Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock was never flamboyant, neither did he flirt nor did he fight like a ninja; his quality and his strength was in his mind. For those who have read the books and/or  have seen the old BBC series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, or the excellent new series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, again from the BBC, will understand what I mean.

I must say one thing though: I loved Stephen Fry in this. He was brilliant and funny as ever, and he portrayed his own version of Mycroft Holmes. I cannot say enough about the brilliance of Stephen Fry. It is always a joy seeing him in a movie, or a documentary, or something.

I knew that I was not going to like it very much; after having seen the new BBC series Sherlock, having read a few of the stories, and remembering Jeremy Brett in the role, this was not what I had in mind for a Sherlock Holmes movie.

Humour and Stephen Fry apart, there was nothing else of interest in the movie. The story was one of thousand others that could make it into a general action/adventure film, and definitely as far away from Doyle's style as it could be. This is a totally americanized ninja action super-hero version of Sherlock Holmes, and it does not look good.

In essence, this is not a movie to spend money on it. If you can watch it for free, on TV or from a friend, then do so, you will have a couple of hours of fun. But going to the movie theatre? Definitely not. Fortunately I had half-price tickets for it, so it was not a total loss.