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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triple Play Versions: Love the films, Hate the UV/Flixster Copy
The good news is that what I actually got in the Sherlock Holmes Collection [Blu-ray] was the Triple Play Editions of both films, including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Version, in a cardboard sleeve. As this is (at time of writing) only a couple of pounds more expensive than the triple play version of A Game of Shadows on it's own.

However, the bad news is that...
Published on 15 May 2012 by testedonpencils

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One surprisingly enjoyable, the other surprisingly poor
One of those really bad ideas that surprisingly turned out rather well, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes doesn't entirely work but offers enough fun along the way for that not to matter that much. Feeling at times like one of producer Joe Silver's projects for his Dark Castle horror label before the budget escalated, it pits a two-fisted Holmes against a supernatural...
Published 23 months ago by Trevor Willsmer


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One surprisingly enjoyable, the other surprisingly poor, 25 Feb. 2013
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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One of those really bad ideas that surprisingly turned out rather well, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes doesn't entirely work but offers enough fun along the way for that not to matter that much. Feeling at times like one of producer Joe Silver's projects for his Dark Castle horror label before the budget escalated, it pits a two-fisted Holmes against a supernatural adversary who has risen from the grave (not the first project to have the idea: Holmes was due to take on Dracula in a rival project at Columbia, and it's perhaps not accidental that Mark Strong's Satanic villain is played as a cross between Dracula and Himmler). The emphasis is on action and comedy rather than sleuthing and intellect, but when a film includes a spectacular setpiece where a giant henchman destroys a shipyard and knocks down a ship (not a boat, a full-sized ship!) in an attempt to crush the world's greatest consulting detective it's hard to complain that you're not getting your money's worth. It's certainly no surprise that while the slew of Homes films over the past century have usually been reliable but modestly financially successful earners, this is the first to do real blockbuster business: it's a crowd-please and no mistake.

While it's good to see the trend of giving Watson his due as a man of action and intelligence continuing here, Holmes doesn't come over quite so well despite Robert Downey Jr's best efforts, the script generally limiting his deductive reasoning to evaluating the most effective way to beat an opponent (not entirely out of keeping with Doyle's stories) with too many of his other conclusions rather too elementary to convince us of his genius. Even a scene where he improvises one of his disguises from items he finds on the street doesn't work as well on screen as it probably did on paper. Instead the emphasis seems more on a Withnail and Watson approach to the mismatched flatmates that offers some amusement but never really takes hold as well as the BBC's engagingly ingenious modern-day updating in Sherlock. Nor does Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler really work here, never given a real chance to demonstrate the genius that made her the only adversary to beat Holmes in favor of a bit on Unresolved Sexual Tension bickering rivalry.

The real star of the film is the city of London itself in the age of Empire, which assumes centre stage as setpieces are set around shipyards, a half-built Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and London's Docklands when they still were docks, and very vividly realised it is too on a scale previously undreamt of. The CGI may not always be 100% convincing and its flaws are magnified on the small screen, but if it had been attempted in an earlier age it would have required model shots and matte paintings that would have required a similar suspension of disbelief. Best of all is the was the film manages to weave the director's love of London lore into the fabric of the action, setting in the most vividly realised depiction of the disparity between the Empire's corridors of power and it's barely working class underbelly since Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade.

A great Holmes film? Certainly not. But for the couple of hours it's on it's far more entertaining one than we probably had any right to expect.

As usual DVD buyers are left with shortv shrift on extras - just a single featurette, with the bulk of the extras - additional 'focus point' featurettes and picture-in-picture mode - reserved for the Blu-ray release only.

While Sherlock Holmes was an enjoyable Victorian adventure that at times owed more to an action movie version of The Odd Couple than Arthur Conan Doyle, the bloated custard pie of a sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows at times is uncannily reminiscent of those messy self-indulgent latter Burt Reynolds-Hal Needham films where everyone was having a good time except the audience. The shift in power from producers and director to star is almost instantly apparent with the horribly overindulged Robert Downey Jr. using the sloppily constructed shadow of a plot as an excuse to dress up in bad disguises - Chinamen, women, pensioners, gypsies, various items of furniture - and indulge in supposedly hilariously slovenly slapstick antics and Jack Sparrow-like eccentricity, so much so that it really should be retitled The Robert Downey Jr. Drunkenly Pissing About for his Mates Show. And what a tiresome show it is too, resembling nothing so much as a bunch of very loud drunks in a curry house after the pubs have shut confusing volume with wit. The main objective here seems to be to engineer situations that will allow Holmes to look ridiculous, which is a joke that outstays its welcome but constantly gets repeated in louder variations in a ragbag of barely connected scenes until you start wondering if you're not watching a sequel to Dudley Moore and Peter Cooke's dire version of The Hound of the Baskervilles (it even shares that film's joke of having Holmes referred to as `Shirley'). On the few occasions he does use his smarts, it tends to be something so ridiculously prescient like predicting exactly which bullet to replace in which rifle to save his life ten minutes later that there's little doubt Ritchie and co. are just extracting the urine at Holmes' expense.

Sherlock isn't the only one of Doyle's giant intellects to get the dumbing down treatment. Jared Harris at least tries to make something of Moriarty, but after his effectively shadowy introduction in the first film he's revealed too soon here and remains in plain sight for much of the movie as an unthreatening presence because the script can't really come up with any evidence of his criminal genius. Only in his last scenes do you get any sense of him as a real danger not just to Holmes but humanity in general. Stephen Fry makes a complete dog's dinner of a now flagrantly gay Mycroft Holmes (no mystery or humorlessness here to Sherlock's indolent but intuitively smarter brother), even throwing in an unwelcome nude scene for no good reason other than to try to get a cheap laugh. But the film is constantly trying too hard to get big laughs out of how ridiculous the Holmes brothers are to ever be genuinely funny, and in the process it completely undermines them as the good guys, let alone a pair of geniuses. Only Watson emerges with dignity intact, albeit reduced to straight man and occasional armed backup for Downey's clowning. As for the women in the film, they're simply a distraction from the boys' night out to be disposed of as quickly as possible (Rachel McAdams), sidelined (Kelly Reilly), worm the goat (Geraldine James) or just there to hold the horses (Noomi Rapace) in thankless roles.

Despite hopping between England, France and Germany, it doesn't even have the strong sense of time and place that was such an impressive feature of the first film, which set the adventure right in the heart of a lavishly recreated industrious London at the height of the era of Empire. Although crying out for a similar treatment with a story hinging on the world rushing prematurely to industrialised world war but which never feels like there's anything real at stake, this just has the odd rather grotty looking master shot of a big building or street before launching into another scattershot comic action scene with the maximum amount of destruction. Even these are pretty tediously executed, with only a standout chase through the woods playing in slow motion and freeze frame to emphasise the firepower and destruction raining down on our heroes really working.

Finally the film finds some sort of shape and plot in the last third as it catches its breath and decides to get round to a genuine battle of wits that depends on some genuine deductions and countermoves. It's not a terribly memorable resolution even if it does pay homage in its own way to Holmes and Moriarty's sightseeing trip to Reichenbach, but in a film as clumsily frenetic as this it's a welcome relief that you can finally find something to mildly enjoy. But ultimately, despite outgrossing its predecessor worldwide, this is the kind of wildly misjudged, joyless and relentlessly in-your-face sequel that not only loses all the gains of the original film but leaves you with no desire for any further adventures from this particular incarnation of Holmes and Watson

Once again DVD buyers are poorly served, with the bulk of the featurettes and maximum movie mode option only available on the Blu-ray, but this time Blu-ray buyers get stuffed as well - many extras are only available via a Movie App, which adds inconvenience (not to mention allows the studio to remove them at any time) to content that should have been on the disc. Poor show all round.
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triple Play Versions: Love the films, Hate the UV/Flixster Copy, 15 May 2012
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The good news is that what I actually got in the Sherlock Holmes Collection [Blu-ray] was the Triple Play Editions of both films, including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Version, in a cardboard sleeve. As this is (at time of writing) only a couple of pounds more expensive than the triple play version of A Game of Shadows on it's own.

However, the bad news is that the Digital Versions are Ultraviolet downloads. If you want to claim them you'll have to: Sign up for a Flixster Account, Install their downloader/player on your computer, install their app on your iOS or Android device and use that and only that to watch your films. The files have been locked against other players. If you want a digital version of these films, you'll have to use their platform.

Obviously, if you like the Flixster app/player, no problem. It downloaded the files and played them just fine. But as consumers who are willing to pay the asking price for legal copies of new films, we don't deserve to be taken advantage of. Which is how I see this. You when you buy a triple play bundle you don't get asked 'Do you want itunes downloads or Ultraviolet downloads?,' you just get what is in the bundle. So we as consumers, don't get a choice of how to watch the films we paid for, on the devices we paid for. Does that sound fair to you? Ironically, you can get exactly what you want, on the platform that you want, if you are happy to download it illegally, (which I'm not.)

Physical discs aren`t tied to a certain manufacturer's players (even if BD technology all gets licensed from Sony) and neither, I think, should digital versions of movies. It doesn't really matter whether one app is better or worse than another. People will have their preferences, and since they are paying, they should have a choice.

I think both films are great and I don't have the heart give them a low rating just because of Ultraviolet/Flixster. You'll find plenty of reviews telling you how good they are, on amazon and elsewhere. I'm not too disappointed, as I primarily wanted the Blu-rays for main TV viewing and the DVDs to watch on my laptop. But, I thought it might be useful to share the above info with anyone else, so they know what they're getting. Personally, I think optical media are still the way forward until distribution companies get their act together. Highest quality, widest compatibility, simple choice.

Update:
After a bit of googling I found that Flixster had given itunes codes to customers who had problems with the Green Lantern and Harry Potter Part 7 back in Nov 2011, so I emailed Flixster support link, to see if they would help me. Their first email was just a generic FAQ and advertising for their app, which appears to be their standard response. I replied that it was a shame that they didn't want to try and solve my problem. They emailed back and asked for a time to contact me. I'm still waiting for the call.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great set of Movies, 15 Jun. 2012
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (DVD + UV Copy) [2009] (DVD)
This is an excellent box set containing both of Director Guy Ritchie's take on the classic character of Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle. The following is my reviews for both films starting logically with the first one.
My thoughts going into this film were this shouldn't work should it? An American playing one of the greatest fictional British characters in History, being directed by the man who brought us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and (Cough) Revolver, Guy Ritchie.

To my pleasant surprise however Sherlock Holmes works as a truly entertaining film. Robert Downey Jnr takes the lead role as the eccentric genius Detective Sherlock Holmes. Accompanying him is his good friend John Watson played by a mostly dead pan Jude Law. Mark Strong is the villain of the story Lord Blackwood who seeks to rule the world through Fear and Black Magic.

This film is clever, action packed and very funny throughout. It is an unorthodox approach to the classic Sherlock Holmes character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but with a strong cast, good story and entertainment factor of ten out of ten and I highly recommend a viewing of this.
The second film `A Game of Shadows' follows on from the action packed first film with Holmes played by an excellent as always Robert Downey Jnr and his long suffering companion Watson played by a humorous and swave Jude Law.

The plot essentially begins with Holmes piecing together several terrorist attacks, murders and business acquisitions across the world which all have connections with a certain Professor James Moriaty played by Jared Harris. Next begins a chase across Europe to thwart Moriaty's evil plot to plunge the world into war and reap the profit's.

I must admit I though this sequel improved on the first film with respect to the growth of the characters of Holmes and Watson as there is a lot more humour and friendship between them evident. It is also a great addition to the film that Holmes Brother Mycroft is featured in this film played a hilarious Stephen Fry.

The only disappointment for me was the character of Moriaty who is obviously Holmes nemesis in the film, but the problem is his character is a little bit one dimensional and in my opinion he doesn't quite live up to the evil-genius he is portrayed as in the Book's and other Television adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

That is only a minor complaint though, and in general Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a greatly film and is worthy of your consideration if you enjoy funny, action packed movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No UV copy, 30 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: 2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (DVD + UV Copy) [2009] (DVD)
Although this states that this is a double box set with UV copy, only 1 of the 2 films has a UV copy, the other is just a normal DVD
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, 29 Jan. 2013
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This was ok the picture quality and sound were great but the films them selves didn't live up to the hype they were given
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock Holmes 2 Film Box Set-5 Star!!, 20 Jan. 2013
This review is from: 2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (DVD + UV Copy) [2009] (DVD)
As usual for Guy Ritchie it's stylish, fast paced and full of great lines! A modern retelling of the classic stories..simply 5 star entertainment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you for the speedy delivery of this brilliant DVD., 19 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: 2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (DVD + UV Copy) [2009] (DVD)
Recommended for fans of Sherlock Holmes. Also recommended for fans of action drama adventures with elements of comedy. Thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elementary my Dears, 12 Jan. 2013
By 
Vivian Thomas "vivt1940" (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (DVD + UV Copy) [2009] (DVD)
A really great Series and a fantastic Actor. Just improves with each Film he does. Robert Downey Jr. does the film great justice.
His Acting Superb.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars first one great, second one bit rubbish., 17 Sept. 2012
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For me, these movies are a little bit Jekyll and Hyde-ish. While the first one is a great period piece, the sequel is not nearly as good. However these films don't have any special features (Disappointing)

Sherlock Holmes 1: What a blast!! I saw this movie twice in the cinema and loved every sceond of it. The acting is fantastic, Rob Downey is great as the unorthodox Holems, my favourite actor at the moment; and Jude Law more or less matches him as the more level-headed Watson. Also Rachel McAdams is great in arole that could have come off as annoying and pointless, almost like a female Holmes. Her performance and stunning good looks make this not the case. Mark Strong also was a good baddie, but he probably should have been in it more.

All in all, this is an ingenious film, packed with stunning action and great acting, much better than Avatar, that was released at the same time!

5/5

Sherlock Holmes 2: Let's start with the positives. Downey is still as good as ever and his chemistry with Law and also with Stephen Fry are perfect (even though Fry doesn't have much of a part). Now to the negatives, Noomi Rapace is a good actress, she was grat in the Millenium trilogy, but she was absolutely wasted here and her and Downey don't have nearly as good a chemistry as he did with Rachel McAdams. Also, I really thought that Moriairty was a rubbish villain especially compared to Mark Strong's Lord Blackwood. Guy Richie uses great sets in the movie and I love the lighting, but is a little too much for me.

2/5
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Streaming ruins a good idea, 14 July 2012
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The films are great. Sherlock is traditionally intelligent with Watson being something of a dunce, but in recent years there has been a leaning to Watson being the brains behind the operation. Particularly the first film has managed to capture Holmes playing both roles. He is certainly the more intelligent of the two, but at the same time is also a complete pillock. This actually works very well and adds something unique to the film. My biggest issue with the product, and I don't want to sound like I am just repeating other reviews, but ultraviolet sucks! I spent two hours trying to set up flixster and ultraviolet accounts, the issue being that they just wouldn't link, inputted one of the codes and pressed play. I could only bring myself to watch about a minute of it before giving up, it's not that it spends ages buffering (in fact some buffering may help it) but the quality of the video is terrible! I know streaming is never going to be as good as blu ray or even DVD, but YouTube, VHS, and an app I have on my iPad called tvcatchup that streams live free view channels all put it to shame. I don't know if it's just my Internet connection, but as I said YouTube looks much better so I think it's the app. The quality may be ok for an iPhone maybe, but on an iPad or laptop you're going to wish you hadn't bothered. I know I can download it, but with limited hard drive on an iPad it isn't ideal. iTunes digital copies are the way to go. They were versatile enough that you could stick them on an external hard drive and bang them on the iPad when needed

Bit of an update, I have just downloaded the film and picture quality is great, but you can't move the file to an external hard drive like you can with iTunes films, and you can only download a film 3 times and on a tablet this effectively mean you can only watch it 3 times as you are probably going to have to delete it after watching unless you only want a small handful of films on. Streaming also only works or three years after entering the code so if streaming works for you, you can only watch it that way for a few years. If streaming is improved and allowed to be used for life, or downloads are allowed as often as needed they may be on to something but as it is if you buy the blu ray and want to watch on a tablet legally, you have to pay for a second time to get a copy off iTunes (something that has been free in the past and should be free. Tablets are becoming a big part of today's life and if you pay for a film companies must enable you to watch them on a tablet)
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