[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3763&w=o[/img]Title: Sherlock Holmes
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Written by: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: 3/30/2010
I didn’t get a chance to see Sherlock Holmes in theaters but have been looking forward to its Bluray release since reading Dave’s Box Office Review back in January. Luckily it prepared me for what I was going to see and I think it actually made the film a bit more enjoyable.
If reinventing one’s self is a daunting task then reinventing the world’s greatest fictional detective must boarder on maddening, especially when that detective is Sherlock Holmes. After all, any character with his own society and museum will obviously have a fairly rabid fan base. Luckily Guy Ritchie’s version of the world’s greatest detective is an excellent update to a character that is just shy of 125 years old.
Sherlock Holmes starts with Holmes (Downey) and Dr. John Watson (Law) tracking Lord Blackwood (Strong), a suspected murderer and the villain of our tale. They arrive at the scene just in time to stop Blackwood from sacrificing yet another young woman in a series of ritualistic murders that are designed to give him supernatural powers. Months later, as Lord Blackwood is awaiting his execution, he reveals to Holmes that he will return and that his death is just the beginning. Soon after Blackwood’s execution, Holmes and Watson are summoned to a graveyard to investigate what turns out to be the disappearance of Lord Blackwood’s body from its crypt causing speculation that Blackwood has indeed risen from the grave.
As Holmes begins his investigation into the strange occurrences at the graveyard, he is visited by Irene Adler (McAdams), a woman that clearly holds a special place in Holmes' past. The two enter into a back and forth exchange of innuendos that ultimately leads to Adler asking Holmes to help her discover what happened to a colleague of hers. It’s not long before Holmes starts to assemble the pieces and discovers that the two cases are linked and pose a great threat to Adler and the human race. Now with Adler caught in the middle and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Holmes and Watson must unravel the mystery that lay before them before it is too late.
Moving Sherlock Holmes out of the typical mystery/thriller genres and into the action/adventure genre was a bold and risky move that I personally think pays off big time. I really enjoyed this movie for several reasons. The cast performances were spot on as Robert Downey's portrayal fits the character of Sherlock Holmes perfectly. The combination of candor, wit and arrogance that he brings to this depiction of Sherlock Holmes not only serve to show Holmes’ brilliance but also highlight the detective’s shortcomings. Jude Law and Rachel McAdams performances were every bit as sincere as Downey and Strong’s performance as Lord Blackwood was sinister and menacing making him a great villain.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3765&w=o[/img]I thought that the film was very well written and directed. The story was easy enough to follow but also kept a small amount of complexity you would expect from a Sherlock Holmes story. I am not suggesting that this is the best story to ever grace the silver screen; I am merely stating that I think it is perfect for what the filmmakers were trying to achieve. I am a Guy Ritchie fan and it was really great to see him do something new and step outside of his normal British gangster type of movie. I didn’t care for ‘Swept Away’ or ‘Revolver’ but ‘Lock Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels’, ‘Snatch’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Rolla’ rank very high on my list. In Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie does an excellent job of pulling the pieces together at the necessary times to shore up plot lines and progress the character development that help move the story along. At just over two hours, I never felt the movie "dragging on" in the least, nor did I feel that there was ever a mad dash to explain everything at once. The pace was smooth and fluid throughout which always makes for a better experience.
I thought the action sequences were executed very believably without coming off too pretentious and the way Ritchie highlights Holmes’ ability to work things out in his head through confrontation was just short of brilliant. The set designs in the movie were wonderful to look at and the special effects and CGI never came off fake looking. True popcorn eating movie fans will like this movie for what it is, a good old fashioned and very solid action/adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material. As always, use your best judgment. I didn’t find anything in this movie to be offensive in the least and I compare the “intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material” to that of a movie like The Mummy or Indiana Jones. I was very pleasantly surprised by the lack of profanity in this movie as I always hate it when coarse language is used as a crutch in a movie.
This Bluray sports a 1080P/AVC-1 transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I am glad to report that the transfer is definitely a site to see. The shadows and blacks of the film are extremely deep and detailed. The image is clear with no noticeable delineation which was a relief considering how much of the movie was shot on green screenss. There didn't appear to be any unintended grain or noise and the occasional colors standout without being overly bold when present. Overall this is an excellent looking transfer that isn't what I would call reference quality but could easily be appreciated by most videophiles.
Sherlock Holmes hosts a DTS-HD Master Audio codec that is sure to please. Surround effects were subtle most of the time but came to life in action sequences as well as scenes in the streets of London. There is also a scene involving Holmes, Watson and Lord Blackwood that really utilizes the surround speakers to its fullest advantage. The fight scenes were impactful and I wasn’t expecting the amount of LFE present in the movie. It wasn’t bombastic at all but was definitely prevalent throughout many scenes of the movie. There is one scene in particular toward the end of the movie that the low end was so subtle but encompassing at the same time that it gave me chills, I think it was around the 1:56 mark. Overall this was an extremely immersive sound design that is brilliantly reproduced on the Bluray.
Sherlock Holmes boasts several extras listed below, though I haven’t had time to go through them all, the ones I did check out were pretty good.
Warner’s Maximum Movie Mode with Director Guy Ritchie walk on, PIP, Focus Points, Storyboard Comparisons and Still Gallery Timeline.
- I started watching this version and actually think it is a pretty good alternative to the typical audio commentary. Enough so that I plan to finish it eventually.
- I watched about 5 minutes worth before deciding it wasn’t something that really interested me.
WB BD Live
- I am signed up to be part of the live event on April 1 with Robert Downey Jr. and will post my opinions in an update.
- Warner has included as separate DVD and Digital Copy with this release which I personally appreciate very much. Even if it is about $5 more than a standard new release, I feel it is well worth the price.
I think this adaption of Sherlock Holmes could do for the character what Batman Begins and Star Trek did for those franchises. Yes, I know many will say “Blasphemy!” but it does accomplish the task of bringing one of the most recognized fictional characters in history into the 21st century in a fun and entertaining way without being disrespectful to the source material. I am very happy that I decided to buy this one instead of renting it for the review and am looking very forward to the sequel.
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