1,305 of 1,437 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
While the movie is certainly worthy of praise and is a very excellent sequel to the first one, my review will be focusing on what now has become a monumental case of false advertising about getting a "Digital Copy" product. To be fair to the movie, I did give this a 5 star rating. There are other excellent descriptions of the movie already published under reviews so I am focusing on the product.
What you are getting with this and any other "Ultraviolet" product is NOT a digital copy. You don't get a copy of anything. All you get is the right to create an account to access the servers of the so called "Ultraviolet" system. Hence, if you are at an airport, you get the joy of using your data plan to capacity (and paying actual additional dollars if you have exceeded capacity) only to realize that while on the plane, you have no access to your purported digital copy. This is one of the biggest scams in the digital age. Advertising to let you think that you are getting a "copy" of a movie, when all you get is access to a web site, when it is up, using your own internet bandwidth and the dollars that go along with it. If consumers don't fight this severe advertising deception, soon true digital copies will be a thing of the past and you will be stuck with Bluray vs. iTunes. Buyer beware. Stand up to Ultraviolet and don't let them ruin the digital copy experience. We are all paying good money for these. The least we could get in return is a digital copy to take with us, legally on a plane ride or traveling otherwise.
Again, remember, all you get is access to the Ultraviolet website with no guarantee of its continued existence. That is not getting a copy of anything at all. Just a promise that as of today, you will be able to access a web site owned by a greedy conglomerate of movie studios who want to prevent you from having a portable copy of the movie so they don't have to share any profit with companies like Apple.
126 of 149 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
After the very good opening film in the Guy Richie Sherlock Holmes franchise- A Game Of Shadows takes the series to another level. There is a real feeling that the actors have a firmer grasp on their characters. It can also be said that Richie seems to be in more of a flow in this second installment. How many times can we actually say that a second film in a series improves upon the first?
First and foremost, Robert Downey Jr is an extremely gifted actor. Most people know that, but his command of this role is exceptional. You have probably seen the extent of his preparation in regards to the proper English accent he had to master- before ever getting infront of the camera! His acting in this film is up there with Chaplin and his other great performances. He is Sherlock Holmes and I believe any version of Sherlock in the future will be hard pressed to equal Downey's version. And Sherlock definately needs a worthy Watson. Enter Jude Law. The perfect sidekick, who has to shake off Sherlock's barbs at times, but is equal at firing back. Its part of the charm of these movies. When the going is rough they are a perfect team. When they are at each other's throats- they're just as perfect.
Watson's wedding and honeymoon should have been great memories for him- too bad Sherlock is working on "the single greatest case" of his career! That means- edge of your seat action, mystery and not the least of all ruining poor Watson's honeymoon! The scenes where Sherlock and Watson are on the train are some of the funnier moments of the film. "I'm on my honeymoon!" "Did you just kill my new wife!". To top it off, Sherlock's disguise!
The men are in pursuit of Professor James Moriarty. A challenging opponent for Sherlock, which is proven countless times throughout the film. Mr.Moriarty is waiting for an outbreak of war, because he owns a large weopons cache/factory. Sherlock must get to the professor before France and Germany put Europe in turmoil. There are some classic confrontations between Sherlock and the professor. Great dialogue and witty banter back and forth. The two men finish a chess game without even looking at the board, while talking about their own personal moves in the next room. That is a great scene.
Not to be forgotten in all the excitement- are the scenes with the gypsies. Sherlock's interest in the gypsies is for the sister of Renee. Noomi Rapace -from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- is excellent in this role. And a natural fit with the other actors. There are several great scenes with Sherlock and Watson trying to mix with the gypsies. Then theres the case of how Sherlock will travel across the countryside- have to see this!
Lets hope there is a 3rd installment. It looks like a sure bet, but things can change. I think Downey and Law have great comedic chemistry. It would be great to see these guys atleast one more time playing these iconic characters. And adding another chapter in Sherlock lore.
124 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Well this film is that level of fun. After kicking into gear they quickly take an old and familiar setting and bring it into the modern day (figuratively that is, since this is actually set in the late 19th century). They manage to do this without making it too youth oriented. The true fun in this film will be in rewatching it, the quick banter and fun plot twists that turn out to be thought out well in advance (for the most part), will only be more enjoyable upon multiple viewings. The layers, much like those found in the Pirates script, are multiple and cerebral. They hit the viewer without our full awareness and when we later realize this it brings a smirk if not a smile to the face. Many plot points that seem by chance or appear to be toss away jokes end up returning and playing a larger role in the story, it's nice to see some effort in a big budget blockbuster - especially when its a sequel.
The action and staging of set pieces might not properly belong in the era portrayed (according to some critics) but it makes for a fun and well balanced film in my opinion. This isn't meant to be historically accurate, its meant to be a version of history much like Gladiator or Pirates. The performances are excellent and I found RDJ to be even more comfortable in his role as Holmes, surprising since he has so many other films and franchises now on his plate. Having laid the groundwork in the first film he spends more of the film flexing Holme's emotional levels, mainly regarding his relations to Watson and Irene Adler. Jude Law becomes much more familiar as Watson and thus becomes much more likable because this time he adheres to the objective with much less resistance (possibly because he has a chance to really let out his frustrations with Holmes early on). The two obviously have that strong relationship that goes beyond friendship, something Ritchie quite enjoys playing with but that makes for something different and refreshing while allowing for moments of strong humor.
Also compelling was Noomi Rapace, filling a space left by McAdams departure after a short but meaningful cameo early in the film. Noomi is given somewhat of a small role and largely facilitates plot purposes but her character does have an arc and emotional stakes that make her important to the story, if not always fully utilized. She of course develops an interest in Holmes but again this is well justified given the events that transpire and doesn't feel as forced as one would assume. Another new face is Jared Harris, who is a very cerebral Moriarty. I really enjoyed his performance but was prepped for it, having enjoyed him on the series Mad Men. For those not familiar with his "proper/formal" Englishman style I'm not sure if he will come across as menacing as some might hope or expect, even based on the first film. I thought he played the villain in a unique way and did so quite well.
In short, if you enjoyed the first you will enjoy this, at least I don't see how you couldn't. If you didn't enjoy the first because of the occult vs. science storyline, the pacing, or perhaps the uneven still developing characters, I will say I personally found this one to be much improved and much more comfortable with itself all around. I did enjoy the first but never thought I'd need to see it again, but I found myself rewatching it after seeing this sequel, and this film I want to own and rewatch, again and again, just as I do with Pirates Curse of the Black Pearl.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
Guy Ritchie's first 'Sherlock Holmes' was a decent, if completely forgettable attempt to reboot/remake the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle characters for a modern-movie audience. Now 'Sherlock Holmes:Game of Shadows' is out and while I don't think it comes any closer to successfully rebooting the franchise, as a sequel it makes a remarkable number of improvements and ends up being a very entertaining film.
The main story of 'Game of Shadows' has Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson investigating a series of bombings and assassinations that put them on the trail, and in the cross-hairs of arch-criminal Professor Moriarty and master sniper Sebastian Moran. The plot in this film has some fun twists and turns as Holmes and Watson team up with a mysterious gypsy and Holmes' older brother Mycroft, but it's the battle of wits between Sherlock and the Professor that keeps this film engaging; Moriarty is a dangerous and diabolical adversary which raises the stakes in this film head-and-shoulders above it's predecessor.
The acting in 'Game of Shadows' is much more level-headed than the first 'Sherlock Holmes' and therefore easier to swallow: Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law's Holmes and Watson act less like a bickering couple and more like long-time friends who actually care about each other. Stephen Fry brings dry-wit and welcome comic relief as Mycroft Holmes. Noomi Rapace is great but seems wasted in a smaller part as the gypsy. Rachael McAdams, who I couldn't stand as Irene Adler in the first film makes a surprisingly welcome (if brief) appearance in the film. As good as these actors are however it's Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty who ignites the screen and the scenes between him and Downey Jr. are nail-bitingly tense.
As with everything else in 'Game of Shadows', the camera-work is an improvement over the original 'Sherlock Holmes' though is still a bit overblown. The slow-motion, rewinding-hand-to-hand combat scenes are much more fun as things don't always go the way Holmes plans. The more open environments in this film add to the atmosphere and make the action seem less artificial. Ritchie still favors super-close-ups and a bit too much slow-to-fast motion (I couldn't tell what was going on during one particular chase scene through a forest) but overall the movie stays coherent from beginning to end.
As I've said: Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows' is far from a successful reboot of the Holmes/Conan Doyle characters (and still carries a lot of pointless disguises and sight-gags), but as a sequel that gets right what it's predecessor got wrong it stands as a very fun movie experience.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
Okay, so if you liked the first one chances are you'll enjoy this one. It's not quite as good but a worthwhile sequel. If you're questioning buying this because you see lots of low starred reviews give them a read first. A majority of these people aren't reviewing the movie, rather they're upset about the UltraViolet copy. Which by the way you can use to download the movie to your device. Yes, it's a pain because you can't just do a direct transfer from the disc to your computer/device but you still can get an actual copy of it.
So back to the movie: it's fun, well acted (Downey as always is fantastic) and has the great action scenes we've come to expect from Mr. Ritchie. If you're like me and have read the books (practically free on kindle THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE COMPLETE TALES OF TERROR AND MYSTERY (All Sherlock Holmes Stories and All 12 Tales of Mystery in a Single Volume!) ... Conan Doyle | The Complete Works Collection)) you'll see lots of nods to different stories, primarily "the final problem". Moriarty is as devious as ever and you really start to wonder if Holmes is in over his head. The final fight was very unexpected and quite fun. Finally, those who think the original films were true to the books should give the books a read (ie: Holmes never ever says "Elementary my dear Watson" nor is he some stuffy old man). The books/short stories are classics for a reason and still have relevancy. I found many more connections in the first & second Downey Holmes movies than a lot of those older movies.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2012
Sherlock Holmes was one of my favorite movies of 2009, so my expectations for this film were high. I was not disappointed in the least. Though the first film was tighter, I enjoyed this one far more. Game of Shadows has a very ambitious plot, that falters somewhat half way through. Holmes and Watson's trip to Germany, while host to the most exciting scene in the movie, is a bit cluttered story wise. Everything makes sense, but it isn't until the end of the movie that you find out why.
Robert Downey Jr. is compared to Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the excellent BBC show "Sherlock: Season One [Blu-ray]", a comparison which I find unfair. While Cumberbatch is indeed brilliant in his portrayal, Downey is equally so in a completely different way. Their performances are apples and oranges, with the only similarities being that you will enjoy both. Jude Law, once again, shines as Watson. Him and Downey have chemistry, the likes of which I have never seen on film. The term bromance is tossed around too frequently these days, but it fits Holmes and Watson to a tee.
The villain of this film, Moriarty, played to perfection by Jared Harris, elevates an already entertaining film to something with some weight behind it. He is a foe of intelligence on par with Holmes and the game they play is fascinating to behold. While there may be one too many action sequences, the fight at the stag party, and the always wonderful Noomi Rapace is given nothing of real importance to do, this is, as stated above, an unfailingly fun, and wonderfully enjoyable movie, well worth your time and hard earned dollar. Highly Recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2012
When this "New" Sherlock Holmes movie series was first announced, I thought old Doyle would be turning over in his grave, but I gave it a viewing and appreciated this new "style" of Sherlock Holmes obviously designed to appeal to a new younger generation. This second installment had the usual "Explosions and chases" of our modern movie system, where even the year 1891 can be made to look very fast paced with modern morals and Victorian style "warrior women", the fictional mythology of modern cinema.
These things being said, the movie is remarkably plotted, taking a new angle on the "Final Problem" of the original written account. Downey and Law work very well together and the supporting cast is excellent. This movie follows the first in visual effects of the dirt of London street life, the peculiar Zimmer music hinting at Bohemian melodies, and conveys a sense of class in scenes from Mozart's Don Giovanni drama (imitating Amadeus?) with the exact scene of King Leopold and subsequent dragging down to hell. Another scene seems to be stolen straight from "A Beautiful Mind" where Watson's former room has been converted into a "conspiracy map", similar to the garage scene in the Russel Crowe movie.
There are several curiousities in this work, one of which is the use of an 1889 Oswald Wirth Tarot Deck by Holmes when he consults a gypsy, and camoflauge techniques by Holmes that in the beginning are a reminder of "Robin and Marian" with apologies to Sean Connery. We are given a hint of the Diplomacy era prior to World War 1 (The Fall of Eagles?) The Arms of Krupp? As Holmes races across Europe trying to figure out the plan of the Evil mastermind. The result is a final encounter at a new and fashionable castle overlooking "Reichenbach Falls". A Chess match (late 1800s style pieces) between Holmes and the Professor transfers to a mental game and the end is , well if you had read the original work you know the ending!
There are a few interesting Bonus materials included! Nicely done overall.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
By Jim Clark, publisher, Lee County Courier, Tupelo, MS
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is successful largely because of good story line, breathtaking effects and the superior acting of Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Dr. Watson.
It's so refreshing to see Robert on his game after several years of sorting out his problems with alcohol and drugs.
The story, loosely based on Conan Doyle's short story The Final Problem, puts our heroes in an all out war with a cunning adversary, Professor Moriaty (Jared Harris). Producers and directors made the decision to make Game of Shadows a stand-alone film, which didn't require viewers to have seen the first one, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock is his usual quirky self working on interior-camouflage, secretly trying to sabotage Dr. Watson's wedding, thinking through outcomes of fights before they happen and even donning women's clothing, as a means of keeping his identity secret.
"I just put on some make-up. I thought I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger's dwarf brother, or the lead singer of The Cure, Robert Smith," Robert said.
The first movie grossed $209 odd million, the second was commercially successful with a worldwide gross of over $540 million. We all know what that means.
Warner Bros. has announced that the first draft for Sherlock Holmes 3 is being produced with screenwriter Drew Pearce writing the script.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
Ordered this for Father's Day. Hubby loves it. Would have NEVER bought this version ii I realized I couldn't download the film from the disc.
Never again will I buy a film with an Ultraviolet download.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Students of history will enjoy the newest Sherlock Holmes installment. Not only are you taken back to late 19th century Europe, but it has a plot that involves the national tensions in Europe that lead to WWI. A more down to earth plot versus the secret society of the first in the series, I think that gives the movie a better footing, although Sherlock Holmes did have brushes in his novels with topics that touched on the paranormal or fringe. This movie has more laughs than the first. Downey Jr and Law's chemistry is better than in the first movie. IF there are any weak spots in the film, I think its the casting of Professor Moriarty. I think Gary Oldman would have been a much better choice or Ben Kingsley. Jared Harris comes across as a weak pick, Mark Strong did much better in the first of the series. I went into this movie jaded by the overall rating here and I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the movie.
My true wish was that release week on Blu-ray, that WB would have another BD Live cast event with Robert Downey Jr like the first movie did. Alas, instead it has something that is called "Maximum Movie Mode" where RDJr gives some background into the making and writing of the movie, the importance of certain scenes, why some scenes came out like they did and the historical background of things seen in the film. It also has B roll and stills at certain points.
I don't think that the the Maximum Movie Mode has the same impact as a BD Live screening, you really feel like you are a part of of a live, historic event because WB added it to the BD Live content so it can be experienced by those that missed it. Although, Maximum Movie Mode wraps several types of extras into one mode (commentary, B Roll and stills) while a live screening only has the commentary.
I am not sure that Maximum Movie Mode, a DVD and UV are worth the extra $10 at release. At least not to me. But I think the movie is great and if you look at the negative reviews, most are about a dislike of Ultraviolet vs the movie.