Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 10-May-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Main Menu Audio
Audio-Visual Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-7
More…-Interactive Tablet App
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 128:44
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Guy Ritchie

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Robert Downey Jr.
Jude Law
Noomi Rapace
Rachel McAdams
Jared Harris
Stephen Fry
Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans Zimmer

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In)
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Sherlock Holmes character would have to be one of the most used in the history of television and film production. Right at the moment we have two very interesting renditions of the character, this one by Robert Downey Jr. on the big screen and the excellent BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. They are both quite different and both worthwhile. I previously reviewed the first film in this series, Sherlock Holmes back in 2010.

     I found that film very entertaining and this film continues in the same vein but probably not at the same quality. This time a series of bombings around Europe are being blamed on anarchists but Holmes is convinced that his nemesis Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) is actually behind it all. As he investigates his friends and acquaintances such as Dr Watson (Jude Law) and Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) come under threat. He also meets and joins up with a gypsy, Madame Simza (Noomi Rapace) whose brother seems to be involved in some way. Dr Watson is also getting married and expects Holmes to organise a stag party and plans to go to Brighton for his honeymoon with his new wife, Mary (Kelly Reilly). Nothing goes according to plan of course. This second film also introduces the character of Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft (Stephen Fry) which is a nice addition.

     There are lots of enjoyable things about this film, well-staged action sequences, amusing dialogue, some interesting cinematography and quality music. The element which I most miss from the first film, however, is an interesting mystery. The plot is fairly obvious and a showdown with Moriarty is clearly coming from early in the film. There is certainly a lot of rushing around across Europe which keeps the film moving but there is not a lot of plot development. It feels like an excuse to string a load of impressive action sequences and amusing meetings together rather than a good story. The action sequences are undoubtedly a lot of fun and the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot (who also shot the previous film) is very interesting indeed. The music by Hans Zimmer is also an important component of the overall viewing experience especially the nice theme.

     Since the first film in this series the bar has certainly been lifted with the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Sherlock Holmes and my current view would be that that version is leading the way over this movie series. Another film in this series is on the way and it will be interesting to see what they do with this series as well. They are certainly different enough to each other that both will continue to get an audience. This film made over $500million at the global box office just going past the first film in total global receipts.

     An entertaining, action focused Sherlock Holmes which lacks somewhat in plot terms.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is very good. The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout although not quite on a par with the best Blu-ray can deliver. Shadow Detail was good but not spectacular.

     The colour is quite good but this is a deliberately dark and muted colour scheme for most of the running time. I would guess it was digitally colour graded.

     There are no obvious artefacts.

     There are subtitles available in English for the hearing impaired and burned-in subtitles for the French spoken during the film.

     There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is also very good, providing an enveloping surround experience.

     This disc contains a English soundtrack in DTS-HD MA 5.1 plus an English Audio Descriptive track .

     Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand however the subtitles proved useful at times.

     The music by Hans Zimmer and the other music used sounds great and plays an important role in the aural landscape of the film.

     The surround speakers were used constantly for horses’ footfalls, voices, explosions, action scenes, train crashes, gunfire and more.

     The subwoofer was also used very well for explosions, gunfire, train crashes and the like, along with supporting the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There is quite a lot of extra material here presented in a very interactive manner.


     The menu included music and allowed for scene selection.

Maximum Movie Mode

     This is the major on-disc extra which is a combination of a video commentary by Robert Downey Jr. and also an interactive set of extras. Basically as the movie plays, Downey Jr. discusses the various parts of the film as they play behind or beside him. Unlike some video commentaries which just have a box in one corner of the screen, this is mixed in with the film itself providing a more interesting experience for the viewer. To me, this sort of extra really shows off what can be done with a Blu-ray disc. As the movie plays various other extras are also available for access including all the featurettes (which I will detail in the next section) plus stills galleries and interviews snippets with cast and crew. Some play automatically as the movie progresses whereas others require the viewer to press enter. This is a high quality extra.

Focus Points (34:59)

     This is a set of featurettes which are available through Maximum Movie Mode or separately via this menu option. There is a play all option of they can be chosen separately. The featurettes are

iPad & Tablet App

     There is a movie specific iPad and tablet app available which uses your home wireless network to connect your Blu-ray player to your tablet. The app has extra material not on the disc and allows you to control the disc and investigate the locations and more information about the characters and story. Well worth a look but not up to the standard of apps like PocketBlu certainly in terms of disc control from your tablet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This Blu-ray release is the same globally.


     An action focused Sherlock Holmes which is a little lacking in plot terms.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

     The extras are high quality and well worth your time.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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