In "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows," around the globe headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon: a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate...no one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.), who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty (Harris). Holmes' investigation into Moriarty's plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson (Law) out of London to France, Germany, and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but also will alter the course of history. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the Bonus View Maximum Movie Mode: "Inside of Sherlock Holmes" hosted by Robert Downey, Jr.; Focus Points featurettes: "Holmesavision On Sateroids" (HD 04:02), "Moriarty's Master Plan Unleashed" (HD 07:09), "Sherlock Holmes And Dr. Watson: A Perfect Chemistry" (HD 05:18), "Meet Mycroff Holmes" (HD 05:30), "Sherlock Holmes: Under the Gypsy Spell" (HD 04:02), "Guy Ritchie's Well-Oiled Machine" (HD 03:04), and "Holmes Without Borders: (HD 05:51); A "Game Of Shadows" Movie App for a mobile device or tablet; and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Kodak Vision3 film stock in Super 35 using the Arriflex 235, Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 and Phantom HD camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. While sharing some of the visual qualities of "Sherlock Holmes," this is a far superior picture. The picture is stylized with a filtered effect to suggest the late 19th Century Victorian England (1891) setting. The photography of the locations and sets is spectacular and fill the screen with image complexity. The imagery appears dense with at times compressed HDR contrast that results in either crushed blacks and shadows exhibiting poor or no delineation or deep satisfying black levels and shadow delineation. Fleshtones are skewed in brownish hues with a desaturated appearance. Color filtering emphasizes browns, grays, and blues, and otherwise earthy dark and sepia tones. No bright colors are evident, with even reds deep and subdued. Philippe Rousselot's cinematography creates dismal, drab, overcast visuals that project the sense of the time period. Yet, unlike the original, the picture exhibits an overall brighter presence throughout. Resolution is generally well defined, with excellent detail exhibited in close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture. As with the original, due to the dark nature of the cinematography, viewing is optimized in a darkened environment, preferably a black room with a display capable of good black-level reproduction. The stylization is effective and the production design is visually engaging. This is a wonderful presentation. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is from the original Blu-ray Disc release, except that the 4K Ultra HD disc is 16 bit, while the original 1080 Blu-ray had a 24-bit rendering. Still, the soundtrack delivers a strong, aggressively enveloping directionalized holosonic® surround presence. The orchestral music score spans a wide and deep soundstage, but instrument timbres are not distinct. Instrumental bass sounds perfectly natural and provides an impressive foundation to the music score. Dialogue is generally well produced and presented with effective spatial integration. The realistic sound effects and atmospheric effects are effectively directionalized and panned, which enhances the sense of dimension and appropriately expansive space when the scene suggests. Foley and sound effects are effectively executed and directionalized, with extension to placement in the surrounds as discrete elements. At times, during the action sequences, the SPL is at full-reference engagement in all channels, for dramatic effect. Bass extension is deep and powerful, especially in the .1 LFE channel, which extends to sub-25 Hz frequencies during several intense action scenes and explosions, such as the rumbling firepower of "little Hensel." While the soundtrack was not released in Immersive Sound, this is a soundtrack that immensely benefits from the application of AuroMatic or DTS Neural:X processing, extending the sound elements to the height layer. When the height layer is excited, there is strong presence that dramatically enlarges the soundfield. This is a dynamically exciting and creative soundtrack that is engaging and reference quality, especially with Immersive Sound processing applied. (Gary Reber)