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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English, French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 129 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + UltraViolet)
  • Studio: Warner Brothers
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 12th, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

In this sequel to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, we find Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) again battling Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), all while trying to attend the wedding of the newly engaged Dr. Watson (Jude Law) and Mary Watson (Kelly Reilly). It turns out Moriarty wishes to bomb random locations throughout Europe in hopes of creating tension, thus pushing them into war. We learn that he would gain high monetary value from Europe being at war due to his owning of a weapons factory. Will Holmes stop Moriarty, or will war erupt? What results is a somewhat entertaining film with solid acting by Downey.

Serving as a kind of escapist film, with all the action and adventure tones, I view both Holmes films as kind of Indiana Jones-lite movies. Nowhere near as heroic or entertaining as any of the Jones titles (well, with the exception of Crystal Skull, which I still can’t decide how I feel about), the two movies have found audiences worldwide for one reason — Robert Downey Jr. Ever since his rebirth into Hollywood’s arms, he seems to be a non-stop working machine churning out film after film. Obviously his big success has come from playing Mr. Howard Stark in Marvel’s Iron Man. His charm and ability to make even the most tense situations comical, is exactly what makes the Holmes movies entertaining….to a certain degree.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The film’s 2:40:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is quite good. Shot using a variety of Panavision Cameras with Primo lenses, the film’s palette has a very dark look and feel to it. Even though this is the case, DP Philippe Rousselot, who happened to also work on the first film, has quite the keen eye. Dark moments are everywhere; however, detail is never, ever lost. Blacks hold solid detail, and even whites, yellows, and blues impress. Texture detail, flesh tones, facial close-ups are all great. Grain levels are kept in check, while noise, scratches and anything else that may hinder the image, are completely absent. Akin to the audio below, it’s known that the film isn’t the best, but this video transfer certainly is.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The film arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, which is excellent. You know, a few years ago, when Sherlock Holmes was originally released on Blu-ray, I was in Las Vegas for the annual CES event. Walking around the floor, I noticed that many audio companies were demoing scenes from Holmes to show off their equipment. Yes, the track was THAT good. So, it should come as no surprise that the provided DTS-HD track for Shadows is equally as impressive. Dialogue is well reproduced throughout with no instance of drop out. Atmosphere, whew, atmosphere is ever so perfect. Whether it be the quieter moments or the heightened, tense action scenes, every little effect is perfectly placed to give the viewer a true aural experience. Look left and you hear dialogue. Look right and a gun shot has zipped by your ear. Awesome stuff. LFE is deep and immersive providing us some solid bass response. I could go on for sometime, but I’ll just say that (even though the movie didn’t do anything for me), this track has earned a place on the ‘demo’ shelf.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The provided supplements are shown in HD:

  • Inside The Mind of Sherlock Holmes – This runs the entire length of the feature film and is your picture-in-picture mode that WB typically uses on their releases. Actor Robert Downey Jr. offers up information on filming, why he decided to make a sequel, as well as just giving us a funny, informative chat.
  • Focus Points – Roughly 35 minutes of Focus Points are shown, covering varying topics from the film.
  • DVD – A DVD of the film is included on an optional disc.
  • Ultraviolet – An Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film is included.
  • Shadows Movie App – This is an optional app fans can download from Apple’s App Store. I tested the app on the iPad 2 and noticed it gives us a bit more behind-the-scenes action as well as script-to-scene comparions. For fans of the film, this is definitely a worthy download.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

While I’ve never been that enamored with either of the Holmes films, I can certainly see how audiences have been. Downey Jr., simply put, is ever so charming in this role. Warner has delivered a fine technical Blu-ray for this film with great video and demo worthy audio. A few features round up  a package that I’d recommend as an evening rental.

Additional Screen Captures

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Download Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on iTunes

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Download Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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