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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
a82a9ab5_1000204277BRDFLTO.jpeg
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Warner - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 129 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


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, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris,
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Michele Mulroney & Kiernan Mulroney
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 12, 2012







"Let the game begin.."


Film Synopsis:

The game is afoot as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprise their memorable imprints on the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes a game of shadows where they match wits with the man of cloak and dagger from the first film, Dr. James Moriarty.



My Take:
Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective. Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate… No one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty. Holmes' investigation into Moriarty's plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.

As I stated in my review of the original Sherlock Holmes I appreciate 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. Game of shadows feels much the same in that is shares a commonality with the original’s wit, action and terrific chemistry between the two principle stars. The screenplay picks up where the first film left off and introduces us to the mysterious Dr. Moriarty and his diabolical plan. We see some new faces along with a few old ones which is fine.

The story has ample substance as the cat and mouse narrative is executed via entertaining banter, respectable action set pieces and engaging visuals. The problem is A game of shadows really doesn’t up the ante and lacks the freshness of the original. The pacing works but barely and the slow motion “Holmesavision” that seemed cool before is oft used and old hat here. Mark Strong’s Lord Blackwood proved a viable villain where Jared Harris’ Dr. Moriarty lacks the chops to come off as truly nefarious. There is still plenty of fun to be had especially for fans of the first film. This is my first experience with Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows. I suspect that similar to my experience with its predecessor the second time is the charm so I look forward to watching it again. For now I would say that it is certainly worth checking out but not quite up to the level of the original.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of violence and action and some drug 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)

Audio: 94

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692




(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Video: 88


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows comes ot Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p AVC 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 3.8 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 with 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 2.40:1 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. This presentation makes for an engaging and active surround mix that has extended dynamic range that renders the film’s action based elements with aplomb. There are several sequences 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 produce deep, authoritative bass that pressurizes the room. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression, exacting clarity and excellent room penetration. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, and rhythmically charged bass extension that is sure to stimulate the senses. My advice is to crank this one up, sit back and enjoy.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Maximum Movie Mode - A look at the film/production hosted by Robert Downey Jr. via an interactive viewer. It is far from an in-depth look behind the curtain but Downey puts his entertaining spin on the proceedings.

  • Focus Points: (34 minutes)


    1. (HD) Holmesavision on steroids
    2. (HD) Moriarty’s master plan unleashed
    3. (HD) Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson: Perfect chemistry
    4. (HD) Meet Mycroft Holmes
    5. (HD) Sherlock Holmes: Under the gypsy spell
    6. (HD) Guy Ritchie’s well oiled machine
    7. (HD) Holmes without borders

  • Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows App – Download the free app for your tablet or mobile device and enjoy a complete behind the scenes interactive experience that includes Storyboards, interviews, character details and more.

  • Bonus DVD of Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy
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Final Thoughts:

Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows is the follow up to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes which featured Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in an updated take on the iconic characters of Holmes and Watson. While this sequel doesn’t quite live up to the original it has enough polish, action and proven chemistry between stars Downey/Law to be worthy of your time. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video in a nicely balanced package that features top flight video, reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio sound and a decent supplemental offering. If you’re a fan this is an easy recommendation. Otherwise toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 21
Great review as usual. I was severely disappointed by this movie and hope its the last one from Guy Ritchie. That guy can make some gritty movies but Sherlock Holmes needs to be treated with a little more respect. I liked the new BBC series much better than these movies!
post #3 of 21
Thanks for your insight Ralph! I really enjoyed this movie in the theater, and I am pleased to read that the blu-ray disc delivers the goods. The movie seemed a little dark on the big screen, so I missed a couple of action sequences. I will be purchasing this flick on release date.
post #4 of 21
Thanks for review Ralph fantastic films Sherlock Holmes are RDJ does an excellent job hope there is plenty more to come.
post #5 of 21
Thanks for the great review. Looking forward to getting this on BD. I enjoyd it in theaters very much despite the horrible shape of the print my local had and always use to get. Fortunately they recently went all digital with new Barcos.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tornadog View Post

Great review as usual. I was severely disappointed by this movie and hope its the last one from Guy Ritchie. That guy can make some gritty movies but Sherlock Holmes needs to be treated with a little more respect. I liked the new BBC series much better than these movies!

I completely agree that the new BBC series with Sherlock Holmes and Watson in current day London is far superior to the two recent Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Maybe I am a traditionalist, but Robert Downey Jr. is a pale shadow of Jeremy Brett who played Sherlock Holmes in the 1980's era BBC series.

Cal68
post #7 of 21
I also was not impressed with the Sherlock movies.
post #8 of 21
I actually liked this movie and thought this was on par with the first one. Will definitely buy this.

Cheers

P.s. The new forum format sucks!! Bring the previous one back.
post #9 of 21
This was miles better than the first one. Audio is the highlight of the presentation.
post #10 of 21
Well I thought the review was well done and thorough, but I must disagree about the movie as a whole. I felt it a much lesser offering than the first, mainly for the poor storyline which was not only convoluted, but lent itself to stretches of boring. Action is not exciting out of context with story. The girlfriend disappeared after the first 20 mins of the film and never got brought back, a huge misstep, and as a whole the film suffered greatly on the story meanderings.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are incredible actors, but even they could not salvage such a poor offering.

No flames please; I know some of you really liked this; this is just my opinion.

Mike
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrazemaster View Post

Well I thought the review was well done and thorough, but I must disagree about the movie as a whole. I felt it a much lesser offering than the first, mainly for the poor storyline which was not only convoluted, but lent itself to stretches of boring. Action is not exciting out of context with story. The girlfriend disappeared after the first 20 mins of the film and never got brought back, a huge misstep, and as a whole the film suffered greatly on the story meanderings.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are incredible actors, but even they could not salvage such a poor offering.
No flames please; I know some of you really liked this; this is just my opinion.
Mike

Greetings,

No flames allowed here Mike. wink.gif

As for your take on the film, no worries there either. Opinions like these are purely subjective. Sorry we didn't agree on this one...smile.gif


Regards,
post #12 of 21
As a big fan of Guy Richie I found both of these movies outstanding with both about equal in quality. True, it's not the traditional Sherlock Holmes but man, are they fun!!! Day 1 purchase!!!
post #13 of 21
I'm going to get this one today. I didn't have time to see it on the big screen so this will be my first viewing. I loved the first one and can't wait to watch this one. It will have to wait until Friday or Saturday, though. Watching the NBA finals Thursday night. THUNDER UP!!
post #14 of 21
I think I saw parts of it on SD - but not quite sure. Now that I've read the review, I'll give it another spin.
post #15 of 21
correction - it was the first SH I saw on SD.
post #16 of 21
Pre-ordered this film a couple of months ago and finally got around to watching it last night. I like the first film a lot and I thought this was comparable and a very good sequel. Great acting, lots of action with some amazing CG used in re-creating 18th century Europe. Happy to add this one to my Bluray collection.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMK! View Post

Pre-ordered this film a couple of months ago and finally got around to watching it last night. I like the first film a lot and I thought this was comparable and a very good sequel. Great acting, lots of action with some amazing CG used in re-creating 18th century Europe. Happy to add this one to my Bluray collection.

Greetings,

Glad to hear it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts RMK. smile.gif

Regards,
post #18 of 21
I liked the first one better but it was woth a RedBox rental.
post #19 of 21
Was sad to see Best Buy had the steelbook available today while looking for other movies. I bought the single disc version on release day but fortunately haven't opened it yet. I plan on going back and exchanging for the steelbook. FYI for those interested in the steelbook version (really cool looking in my opinion).
post #20 of 21
I watched this the other night and found that the sub was overpowering and had to turn it down -2.0db. Has anyone else had this experience? I was less than impressed with the audio on this one.
Edited by triumphrider74 - 7/29/12 at 10:20am
post #21 of 21
Watched the bluray rental last night, and am watching it some more in the bedroom while I drowse off. I put it in my purchase queue at the end of the first viewing. The audio was particularly stellar (Triumphrider, I upped my subs a coupla db smile.gif ). Personally I like most if not all of the different tv/movie productions of Sherlock Holmes out there, but the books will always be the best way to experience Holmes IMHO. Nice review as usual, Ralph.
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