The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner Bros. - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 30, 2010
"Nothing escapes him"
The game is afoot – and astounding! Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law put memorable imprints on the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in a bold reimagining that makes the famed sleuth a daring man of action as well as a peerless man of intellect. Guy Ritchie directs this dazzling adventure.
I saw Sherlock Holmes last year during its theatrical run and walked away from it having a lukewarm reaction to both the film and its audio/presentation. I wasn’t especially looking forward to watching it again but since I didn’t dislike it originally and I recalled enjoying seeing Downey and Law together I figured another viewing might make a different impression on me. As it turns out I was right. The second time around this was a more memorable and enjoyable film. Thinking back my only real experience with Sherlock Holmes prior to this was watching Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce portray Holmes and Watson on TV reruns hen I was a child. I actually enjoyed those old serials and found the characters and stories fun to watch. Not unlike them this reinvention of Holmes/Watson features a whodunit/mystery with a black magic type spin that requires Holmes superior powers of deduction and the capable assistance/muscle of Dr. Watson in order to spare the lives of the members of Parliament and stop the evil Lord Blackwood. A strong female character in Irene Adler is introduced into the fold. Her presence helps to muddy the water while providing a romantic interest for Holmes. I appreciated the sort of up to date take on the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Watching Holmes’ masterful and endearing manipulation of Watson and their seemingly irreverent banter proves gratifying and entertaining as Downey Jr. and Law pull it off skillfully. The screenplay has a slick swashbuckling overtone that helps drive the story without making it feel campy. There is a wonderfully infectious air of humorousness that never feels inappropriate thanks to Downey’s superlative timing and onscreen charm. Jude Law and Rachel McAdams are perfectly cast and seamlessly integrate with their characters while playing off of Downey. Mark Strong is equally adept as the dark Lord Blackwood with honorable mention going to Eddie Marsan as Holmes/Watson’s law enforcement sidekick Inspector Lestrade. The ending clearly leaves the door open for another adventure which is a good thing. My only request is that the next installment contain more of Irene Adler/Rachel McAdams as she just wasn‘t in this one enough for me.
The rating is for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material,
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Sherlock Holmes comes ot Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.
This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red, and muted sepia tones. Warm golden accents are used to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. The film was largely shot against green screens which softened some of the background elements during wide angle pans but I never found it to be excessive or distracting. Overall I found the quality of the video to be high. It wasn’t always razor sharp but it was cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement that increased the perception of fine detail. Blacks were dynamic and gradationally revealing and shadow detail was just as strong. I was enamored by the film’s deep grays, rich contrast and intriguing use of color. Framed at 1.85:1 its images had excellent depth and a stimulating visual aura that accented the story. I didn’t see any overt signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. It looked great.
It is hard not to be impressed with the potential and innate quality of lossless surround sound. Warner is frequently utilizing DTS-HD Master Audio sound on their Blu-ray Disc releases and this is the type of film that can truly benefit from its inherent attributes. Unlike my recollection of its theatrical presentation this makes for an engaging and active surround mix that has extended dynamic range that renders the film’s action based elements with aplomb. The are several sequences, such as the extended fight scene that concludes in the shipping yard, that rock as the room is transformed into a three dimensional sound field filled with immersive 360 degree surround activity that engages the listening position from multiple directions. Low frequency effects frequently produces deep, authoritative bass that pressurizes the room and occasionally approaches infrasonic levels. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers. This is an wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, seamless integration, and rhythmically charged bass extension that is guaranteed to stimulate the senses. My advice is to crank this one up, sit back and enjoy.
- (HD) Maximum Movie Mode - An in-depth look at the film/production and an interactive viewer that includes walk-ons with director Guy Ritchie, Focus points, PiP, Storyboards, still galleries and more. It is far from your everyday run of the mill BonusView track and is broken down into 8 segments that can also be viewed independently.
(HD) Focus Points: (30 minutes)
- Draw bridges and doilies: Designing a late Victorian London
- Not a Deerstalker cap in sight (Costume design)
- Ba-ritsu: A tutorial on the imaginary martial arts form developed for the film
- Elementary English: Perfecting Sherlock‘s accent
- The one that got away
- Powers of observation & deduction
- The Sherlockians
- Future past
- (HD) Behind the story: Sherlock Holmes reinvented - 14 minute featurette
- WB BD-Live enabled
- DVD Bonus Disc of Sherlock Holmes
- Digital Copy of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a reinvention of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character that gives it a spirited and stylized spin that works thanks to the slick direction of Guy Ritchie and the entertaining performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. My theatrical experience with it left me wanting however this second viewing proved more rewarding. Part of the reason for this is due to its top flight presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Warner. I found that its excellent high definition video and reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio sound made for a great home theater experience. The inclusion of a solid set of interactive Blu-ray Disc bonus features enhances the quality of an already strong offering that comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
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