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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray, DVD)
Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray, DVD)

The rare sequel that improves on the original with even more Holmes mythology, made better with an amazing Blu-ray presentation that does both movie and the format justice.

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When Guy Ritchie’s action-packed – yet surprisingly faithful – take on Sherlock Holmes hit theaters back 2009, I didn’t think it would be possible to top it. But its 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, is that rare sequel which hits all of the right marks to make it a worthy successor to the original in every way possible. Even better is that you’ll have none other than Robert Downey Jr. hosting a revolutionary special feature that sets this Blu-ray apart from the others, making it elementary to add it to your collection.

Fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi was a fan of the original theatrical release, as evidenced by the snippet below, and those interested in following the clues can read his full review right HERE:

“A Game of Shadows is, naturally, a sequel to the 2009 blockbuster Sherlock Holmes. Both films are directed by Guy Ritchie, allowing for some rather interesting spins on the original stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For these reboots, the title character is a bit more bohemian, the plots are a bit more action-oriented, and the special effects are a bit more showy and expensive. Ritchie turns up the volume in A Game of Shadows with a story intended to be funnier, trickier, and literally more explosive than its predecessor. That it’s a great deal of fun, there can be absolutely no question. One wonders, though, if some audiences will find the plot a little difficult to follow, as it works in twists, turns, and misdirection the way artists work in oils or acrylics.”

Built around one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most memorable stories, The Final Problem – including the heart-pounding climax of the Reichenbach Falls – I can honestly say this film lived up to all my expectations of a great sequel and then some. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law play off each other exceptionally well with their great chemistry, while Noomi Rapace of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy does a great job in her first American role as a gypsy that helps our two heroes. The always great Stephen Fry does a fantastic job as Holmes brother – and frequently nude – Mycroft. But the real thrills comes from watching Holmes intellectually sparring with his most iconic and dastardly foe, Professor Moriarty, played to sinister perfection by Jared Harris (Mad Men).

And seeing all of this unfold in high-definition is a sight to see, as Warner Bros. has done an amazing job with the picture quality here. Details and colors show up sharply as they should, even during some of the night scenes featured throughout the film. The outstanding use of the DTS-HD 5.1 audio is just as amazing, as every piece of dialogue and sound effect is heard perfectly. It’s a good thing too, as you’ll want to have crystal-clear picture and sound to notice all of the clues as Holmes and Moriarty match wits throughout.

At first glance, you would think that only having one special feature on this Blu-ray is a huge disappointment. But this is probably one of the greatest extras to come out in quite some time. “Maximum Movie Mode with Robert Downey Jr.” is a feature-long extra where the insanely popular actor watches the movie along with you in an enhanced version of a picture-in-picture commentary window. As you watch, links will appear to other extras such as image galleries, interviews with the cast and crew, as well as behind-the-scenes footage that comes along at their respective parts. Of course, he also provides plenty of wisecracks throughout the experience as you watch, making for an awesome time as you’re essentially watching the movie right along with him. I can only hope that more Blu-rays in the future can put together fun extras such as this.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is not only an amazing film and sequel in its own right, but also an equally amazing Blu-ray. Built around the tale The Final Problem this action-packed thriller adds even more of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mythology, including the great Stephen Fry as Mycroft and Jared Harris as Holmes’ most famous villain and intellectual equal, Professor Moriarty. Those who enjoy mystery, action and adventure should enjoy watching things unfold, even more so when watching along with Robert Downey Jr. in the remarkable extra featured here. With all of that being said, it’s only elementary that you should add this disc to your collection, as the game is definitely afoot here.


About the Author: Chris Mitchell