Sherlock Holmes (Blu-ray)
Before I sat down to watch SHERLOCK HOLMES (finally), someone had described to me that Robert Downey Jr. basically played Sherlock Holmes as a British Tony Stark. I can safely say that my friend was absolutely correct in his assessment as there are many similarities between RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes and RDJ’s Tony Stark. As it turns out, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing as the suave and charming RDJ carried the film with an ease that only an A-list actor can.
We begin the story with Sherlock Holmes foiling a murder by the evil Lord Blackstone (Mark Strong). But after Blackstone is hanged for his crimes, word gets out that he may have resurrected himself to carry out an evil plot against England. Luckily, Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) are available to once again foil Blackstone’s plan. While they’re on the case, Holmes can’t help but be distracted as his former love Irene (Rachel McAdams) returns with motives of her own.
The basic idea for the film and the mysteries surrounding Blackstone are actually very fascinating and fun to witness unravel onscreen. I enjoyed the ride that Guy Ritchie took us on as Holmes used his brilliant deduction skills to unveil the various clues as the mystery was solved. However, the film began to slow down when the focus was shifted from the main plot and aimed towards the subplots with Holmes and Irene or between Holmes and Watson. It’s not that either supporting character did a bad job, because they actually performed very well, it’s that there wasn’t enough time to juggle all three stories and the subplots were distracting from the overall point of the film.
Even though the run-time of 128 minutes is a bit long for a film of this nature, it moved along at a brisk pace and the action kept coming. Even though the highlights of the film came as Holmes ran us through his logic and deduction of the situation (we needed more of that), the action scenes were very well done and well executed. When it comes to action scenes, fast and frenetic editing seems to be the norm, but thankfully Ritchie ignored the trend and actually filmed some action scenes that audiences could follow. In fact, I have to give Ritchie credit all around for a job well done. I’ve been hard on him lately for some of his lackluster films, but he did a great job with SHERLOCK HOLMES.
But Robert Downey Jr. has progressed to a point in his career where just about everything he touches turns to gold. The guy is as charming as they come and he commands the screen whenever he’s in front of the camera. I say that to point out that if you don’t agree with my assessment of RDJ’s acting, you may not enjoy the film as much as I did. This is his movie and how much you enjoy it may depend on how much you enjoy him as an actor.
Video: The film is dark and grainy at times (as you can see by the pictures in this review), but that’s clearly how Ritchie intended it o look. So any gripes about the grain and darkness should be shelved because the Blu-ray does a wonderful job of preserving Ritchie’s film.
Audio: The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track was also wonderful and featured some of the best subwoofer use I’ve seen in a while. This is a great audio track.
Maximum Movie Mode: This is just truly incredible. It’s better than any featurette or commentary you could possibly hope for. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that if you’re disgusted by the fact you have to wait 4 weeks to watch this from Netflix, you should feel very comfortable buying this disc for this special feature alone. Basically, Guy Ritchie sits between two monitors, one playing the film and the other playing various features. He talks about various scenes at a super-fast pace and even pauses the movie occasionally to talk in depth about a certain scene.
Focus Points (31:00): These are various featurettes that were also included in the Maximum Movie Mode, but they cover the issues you expect. I just watched all of these, along with the movie, so I wasn’t interested, but if you want to skip the other feature, this is a good alternative.
Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented (14:01): This is just your generic fluff piece, designed to get you to watch a movie you just saw. The money is in the Maximum Movie Mode.