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5.0 out of 5 stars "Sherlock Holmes" Blu-Ray Review, March 30, 2010
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
First of all, as of this writing, Amazon still states that this item is a three disc set, but this is not the case. The DVD and digital copy are included on the same disc, while a second disc contains the Blu-Ray version. This isn't an issue, of course, just a small clarification. Speaking of which, I've seen a significant number of complaints regarding the inclusion of the DVD/digital copy in the Blu-Ray version, with many complaining that they want neither and it's needlessly driving the cost up.

A simple comparison of this item against other Blu-Rays on Amazon proves this title costs no more than any other new release, and the DVD/digital copy is actually a very nice bonus for those who buy the film early. I, for instance, plan to loan out the DVD to friends who don't own Blu-Ray players. The digital copy is nice, I suppose, but I've never been bored enough to want to watch a film on my iPod or laptop. Besides which, like all digital copies, it expires a year from now. I'm actually glad it's included on the same disc as the DVD, because all other digital copies included on a separate disc I've ended up tossing out.

Upon loading the Blu-Ray into the player three trailers will run. This is, of course, typical practice. The irritating part is that the disc will not allow the user to access the menu from the trailers, and the user is forced to manually fast-forward through each trailer. A minor complaint, to be sure, but irritating nonetheless. The film runs 02:08:24 and the Blu-Ray includes ten bonus features (the DVD doesn't contain a single special feature). The included audio tracks and subtitles are in English, French, and Spanish. The first eight features are all collected in the "Focus Points" section and consist of eight 3-5 minute featurettes exploring a specific facet of the film (there is a "Play All" function included). Most of the titles are rather self-explanatory, but here's a complete rundown of the featurettes:

1) "Drawbridges & Doilies: Designing a Late Victorian London" (5:00) - This feature highlights how the production designers suffused life into their vision of Victorian London with an acute attention to detail.

2) "Not a Deerstalker Cap in Sight" (4:15) - This feature explains how the filmmakers decided to take the Holmes character back to his roots in the original Arthur Conan Doyle tales and compare the Downey interpretation against past cinematic versions of Holmes.

3) "Ba-ritsu: A Tutorial" (3:58) - This feature explores how the filmmakers blended various real-life martial arts into the fictional version featured in the film, along with explaining how Holmes was a former fighter well-versed in martial arts in the original Doyle stories.

4) "Elementary English: Perfecting Sherlock's Accent" (4:04) - This feature explores how American Downey refined his English accent for the film. Director Guy Ritchie observes that he preferred an American because it gives the Holmes character an "international" flavor.

5) "The One That Got Away" (3:44) - This feature delves a bit into the psyche of Holmes, particularly his stance on love and his relationships with women.

6) "Powers of Observation & Deduction" (4:01) - This features Lionel Wigram (writer & producer of "Sherlock Holmes") explaining why he was attracted to the project, along with what makes Holmes such an enduringly fascinating character.

7) "The Sherlockians" (3:03) - The feature explores the diehard, borderline obsessive Holmes fans who organize annual meetings to discuss Doyle's life and works.

8) "Future Past" (3:08) - This feature highlights how, with the aid of both sets and modern technology, the filmmakers were able to recreate the glory and grime of Victorian London.

The ninth feature is included in the "Behind the Movie" section and is called "Sherlock Holmes Reinvented" (14:06) - This is a more involving feature which functions as an extension of the other featurettes. The filmmakers discuss why they felt attracted to the project and how they desired to stay true to the source material, as opposed to the cinematic versions of the past.

The most celebrated special feature here, prominently featured in the television ads, is the "Maximum Movie Mode". This is a sort of interactive film commentary with director Ritchie (running slightly longer than the film itself) that includes picture-in-picture still images, behind the scenes videos, cast and crew interviews, technical details of the film, and of course Ritchie's commentary. It's this sort of feature that truly makes a Blu-Ray special, aside from the enhanced high-definition image, of course. A typical film commentary simply has the director talking over the film, which can be informative but distracting. The "Maximum Movie Mode" is a much more entertaining commentary that even includes the option for user interactivity.

The content of the film itself is highly subjective, particularly with a character as famed and revered as Sherlock Holmes, and I don't feel particularly compelled to add my thoughts. As a Blu-Ray release, however, this title is every bit as impressive as it should be. I particularly appreciate how the special features didn't just shed light on the filmmaking process, but spent ample time discussing Doyle's stories, the various interpretations of the Holmes character, and the lasting legacy of it all. I'm proud to include this film in my collection. Five easy stars.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 19, 2010 7:38:38 AM PDT
Daniel says:
You say the DVD does not include a single special feature. Well, on the back of the DVD case, it says it includes the Sherlock Holmes Re-Invented special feature.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2010 7:53:15 AM PDT
I was referring to the DVD included with the Blu-Ray, which does not contain any special features, not even the "Sherlock Holmes Reinvented" one.

Posted on Apr 23, 2010 9:52:05 AM PDT
TJV says:
Thanks for listing the specific disc features. I really wish Amazon did a better job with this in their descriptions. It would be much easier to decide if I wanted to splurge on two-disc or blu ray versions. And I like that the regular DVD is included as we only have one blu ray player and this gives us the option to play the movie anywhere else (or loan it out). I agree that it doesn't seem to affect the cost much anymore.

Posted on May 10, 2010 6:47:47 PM PDT
Craig F. says:
"like all digital copies, it expires a year from now"

I can't tell by this comment, but I'd like to clarify that it's the redemption of the digital copy that typically expires a year after release, not the digital copy itself. The file, once transferred to iTunes or Windows Media Player, is playable as long as you have devices that support it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2010 6:57:11 PM PDT
Yeah, I was referring to the code expiring within a year. Still, I had assumed there were some sort of limitations on the digital copy, so it's nice to hear that isn't so. Thanks for the clarification, it's a good selling point for those who are interested in the digital copy.

Posted on Sep 22, 2010 10:07:12 PM PDT
ScorpioMoon says:
Great review of the blu-ray....Thank you! I especially appreciate the comparison to the dvd =)

Posted on Sep 23, 2010 11:56:56 AM PDT
Native Texan says:
this is far more than I wanted to know. I'm sorry now that I bought the DVD. I'll probably leave it sealed and tuck it away to give as a Xmas gift.

Posted on Jan 6, 2011 7:44:39 PM PST
Tec says:
I was wondering is Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray] the product that you purchased? I would love to get the same product but I checked the product details and it says it just contains 1 disc.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2011 8:19:49 PM PST
Yes, it's the Blu-Ray I purchased. Either Amazon's listing is incorrect, or perhaps the copies available now do not have the extra disc. I'm only guessing. I only know that my copy has two discs: the Blu-Ray, and the DVD/Digital Copy together on another disc.

Posted on Aug 13, 2011 11:09:16 AM PDT
You ordered this exact item then? And it came with the slip-cover? For a crazy reason I would like to get it with the slip cover. Your pictures show it but the main picture doesn't look like it.
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