5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
on 1 January 2013
THE SHERLOCK HOLMES MOVIE COLLECTION [2009/2011] [2 Film Collection] [Blu-ray + DVD + ULTRAVIOLET Digital Copy] Make It a Double Shot of Sherlock Holmes Excitement!
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law team up for Two exciting film adventures from the director Guy Ritchie. In the first film ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ Sherlock Holmes [Robert Downey Jr.] and Dr. Watson [Jude law] plunge into a world of dark arts and startling new technologies, and duel against the ruthless Lord Blackwood [Mark Strong] and the brilliant temptress Irene Adler [Rachel McAdams]. Then in, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,’ the duo faces their greatest enemy, Professor James Moriarty [Jared Harris], in a dangerous battle that could alter world history.
FILM FACT Part One: Awards and Nominations: Sherlock Holmes : 2010 67th Golden Globe® Awards: Win: Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Robert Downey, Jr. Broadcast Film Critics Association: Nominated: Best Score for Hans Zimmer. 200982nd Academy Awards: Nominated: Best Original Score for Hans Zimmer. Nominated: Best Art Direction. Empire Awards: Win: Best Thriller.
FILM FACT Part Two: Awards and Nominations: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows : 2012 Saturn Awards: Nominated: Best Action/Adventure Film for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Nominated: Best Costume for Jenny Beavan.
Sherlock Holmes  Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Robert Maillet, Geraldine James, Kelly Reilly, William Houston, Hans Matheson, James Fox, William Hope, Clive Russell, Andrew Brooke, Tom Watt, John Kearney, Sebastian Abineri, Jonathan Gabriel Robbins, James A. Stephens, Terence Taplin, Bronagh Gallagher, Jefferson Hall, Miles Jupp, Marn Davies, Andrew Greenough, Martin Ewens, Amanda Grace Johnson, James Greene, David Emmings, Ben Cartwright, Chris Sunley, Michael Jenn, Guy Williams, Peter Miles, Kenneth W Caravan (uncredited), Sam Creed (uncredited), Radu Andrei Cucu (uncredited), James Currie (uncredited), Paul J. Dove (uncredited), Neil Findlater (uncredited), Andrew Goldfarb (uncredited), Kas Graham (uncredited), Thomas Kadman (uncredited), Brendan McCoy (uncredited), Bryan Samson (uncredited), Robert Stone (uncredited), David Swift (uncredited) and John Warman (uncredited)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Paul Anderson, Kelly Reilly, Geraldine James, Eddie Marsan, William Houston, Wolf Kahler, Iain Mitchell, Jack Laskey, Patricia Slater, Karima Adebibe, Richard Cunningham, Marcus Shakesheff, Mark Sheals, George Taylor, Michael Webber, Mike Grady, Alexandre Carril, Victor Carril, Thorston Manderlay, Affif Ben Badra, Daniel Naprous, Lancelot Weaver, Vladimir 'Furdo' Furdik, Jacques Senet Larson, Nicolas Senet Larson, Sebastian Senet Larson, Alexander Devrient, Fatima Adoum, Thierry Neuvic, Martin Nelson, Mark Evans, Anthony Inglis, Peter Stark, Roman Jankovic, Fredrick Ruth, Carsten Hayes, Jonathan Christie, James McNeill, Maitland Chandler, Joe Egan, Clive Russell, D.J. Bailey (uncredited), Gioacchino Jim Cuffaro (uncredited), Lukas DiSparrow (uncredited), Ray Donn (uncredited), Jeff Lipman (uncredited), Steve Munroe (uncredited), Danny Seldon (uncredited), Alain Stash (uncredited), Charles Walters (uncredited) and Paul Warren (uncredited)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Sherlock Holmes  Producers: Bruce Berman, Dan Lin, Dana Goldberg, Joel Silver, Lauren Meek, Lionel Wigram, Michael Tadross, Peter Eskelsen, Steve Clark-Hall and Susan Downey
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  Producers: Bruce Berman, Dan Lin, Ethan Erwin, Joel Silver, Lauren Meek, Lionel Wigram, Peter Eskelsen, Steve Clark-Hall and Susan Downey
Sherlock Holmes  Screenplay: Anthony Peckham, Lionel Wigram, Michael Robert Johnson, Simon Kinberg and Arthur Conan Doyle (novels)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  Screenplay: Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney and Arthur Conan Doyle (novels)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 and 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese: 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, Polish: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Turkish: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, Italian SDH and Turkish
Running Time: 128 minutes and 129 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 4
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Director Guy Ritchie's version of the great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, is first and foremost an action hero. Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' films aren't anything like the new the British BBC TV shows, 'Sherlock,' where Sherlock Holmes usually sticks to observing rather than fighting. That's not to say this Sherlock Holmes, played superbly by Robert Downey, Jr., is any slouch when it comes to figuring out complicated dastardly deeds, but he is a Holmes for a newer generation of film goers who are used to frantic, helter-skelter action instead of methodical pacing.
Part of the fun with the Sherlock Holmes films is the coy way it plays with the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. These two men are oddly close and Sherlock Holmes usually casts Dr. Watson's, especially in the ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows’ the new bride is out of the picture whenever he finds the time.
The first 'Sherlock Holmes' film from Guy Ritchie cantered around a one-off villain named Lord Blackwood [Mark Strong]. The presence of one James Moriarty [Jared Harris] in the second film was only hinted at in that film. Here the rivalry is front and centre, and the two foes whose conflict has spanned the test of time, find themselves once again facing off against each other, both of them keenly aware of the other's intellect. James Moriarty is a dangerous sociopath, but so is Sherlock Holmes. The only difference is James Moriarty doesn't mind if he kills people to get what he wants, Sherlock Holmes isn't homicidal.
Robert Downey, Jr. picks up right where he left off with the first film, with the second film entitled ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ and maybe even making him slightly more manic this time around. Sherlock Holme’ isn't dealing with the situation at hand very well. In the film ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ Dr. John Watson [Jude Law] is finally getting married, and Sherlock Holmes doesn't like it one bit. He has a deep love for his friend, one that he'd never admit, so he can't really get over the fact that his one and only true friend is leaving him. For a woman!
Much like the first 'Sherlock Holmes' film, in the second film ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ is just as fast-paced and just as action-packed. Even the flashbacks, as Sherlock Holmes works problems out in his mind at lightning-fast speed, are edited in a semi-nauseating way that will remind you of the cut scenes from Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch' and complete with sound effects for camera movements.
The fight scenes in both films, while nicely choreographed, are edited like every other modern action film, but with a lot of panache. There are nearly incoherent bursts of flailing limbs crashing into each other as Sherlock Holmes takes on one attacker after another. I think that since the fight was already shown in slow-motion inside Sherlock Holmes' mind that Guy Ritchie doesn't feel the need for us to watch the entire thing again in regular motion. Instead we get a rapid-fire succession of action shots.
However, like the first film ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ in the second film ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadow’ is carried this time solely on the back of Robert Downey Jr.'s charisma as a manic sociopath who may or may not be going completely delusional. He delivers his lines as fast as Guy Ritchie delivers the action. Sherlock Holmes' mood in this film seems much more agitated most likely due to his best friend getting married and leaving him. Downey is a treat to watch. There are certain things he must retain to make it a believable Sherlock Holmes, but he adds something else to the part that makes him so watchable. He's made the character his own. I hope sometime in 2015 they will release a third Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film, as they are fantastic entertainment.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Both ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ is a very shadowy video presentation that features great detail even though much of the films are spent lurking in dark places. Warner has offered a 1080p encoded transfer that looks, well, perfect. These are both demo-quality transfer throughout. When you can have films of this calibre as dark as this, honestly, I'm pretty sure that there are only a handful of well-lit scenes, especially with the wedding being one of them, the rest of the scenes play out in lots of darkened clubs, alleyways, balconies, parties, and forests. This is a very dark film with a colour palette dominated by greys and blacks. It could've easily been a movie fraught with crushing and banding, but it isn't. Blacks are some of the inkiest you'll ever see on this format. Shadows are perfectly delineated. Just check out the close-ups during the scene in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson sneak into the weapons factory. Even though it's under thick darkness, shadows still accentuate facial features like lines, pores, and stubble. These are easy features to lose in a really dark film, but they aren't lost here. The same holds for textures as well. The woven texture of Dr. Watson's suits stand out no matter what lighting situation the guys find themselves in. To sum up both films, they are well-lit scenes sparkle with clarity. Skin tones appear to be genuinely natural. This is just a great presentation all around. There wasn't one instance of source noise, not one instance of banding that I saw and both Blu-ray discs look one of the best looking Blu-rays to come out in years.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Both film's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is just as impressive as the 1080p video image. Seriously, this is a heavy, thundering audio mix that will grab your eardrums. Booming bass rolls through the soundtrack during many of both film's intense scenes. Especially like the towering structure in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ that comes crashing down in a weapons factory you'll notice the entire room shake like something is falling down on your house. Sound effects are used with great frequency, especially during the slow-motion action scenes in the Sherlock Holmes' films flashback scenes. Whenever Guy Ritchie's signature "wham, bam," sound effects take over they are localised perfectly in the speakers that they need to be in. The slow-motion scene with Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes, and others running away from the weapons factory in the ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,’ being fired upon, features some wonderful directionality. Bullets whiz by, the camera stops and watches a bullet splinter a tree trunk as the sound is produced with perfect clarity in the front channels. Explosions happen in front of, to the side of, and behind the characters, each time with the heft of the sound coming from the necessary place in the sound field. The audio in both films will easily impress. Guy Ritchie's soundtracks have always been chock full of special sound effects and there's no difference here. The entire track, from front to rear, is alive with action and doesn't stop until the credits have finished rolling.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Because there are so many Extras in both Blu-ray discs, I am just listing what they are and if you want to check out each item individually, you will have to check out web sites that list what each extra is.
Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray]
Maximum Movie Mode: Director Guy Ritchie Walk On
Drawbridges and Doilies: Designing a Late Victorian London
Not a Deerstalker Cap in Sight
Ba-ritsu: A Tutorial
Elementary English: Perfecting Sherlock's Accent
The One That Got Away
Powers of Observations & Deduction
Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [Blu-ray]
The Original Dynamic Duo
Beyond Baker Street
The Moriarty Gambit
Holmesavision on Steroids
A Band of Gypsies
Meet Mycroft Holmes
King of Shadows
Finally, Guy Ritchie the director and Robert Downey Jr. actor interpretation is certainly not in adherence with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle original. In this version, Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. put emphasis on Sherlock Holmes as action hero as much as his deductive reasoning capabilities. As a result, both films are somewhat convoluted script-wise, but definitely provides a lot of popcorn film action, including a great slow-motion effects chase and battle scenes. No matter which Blu-ray disc release you opt for, both the video and audio elements of the get high marks for it transfer to Blu-ray, making for great demo material for your family, friends, and neighbours. That is why I am so honoured to have this 2 Film Blu-ray package, as it is total entertainment and will keep you well occupied throughout the two Blu-ray discs and is well worth dipping in now and again, as the first time you view these Blu-ray discs, you miss so much the first time round. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom