Sherlock Holmes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good representation of the material.
Sharpness was solid. The movie offered good clarity and definition from start to finish, as I noticed no issues with softness.
I saw no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, at least, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws were non-existent.
In terms of palette, Holmes stayed with a decidedly chilly set of colors. Only shots of Irene boasted any moderately vivid tones, as purples and reds appeared in her scenes.
Otherwise, this was essentially a monochromatic, sepia affair. The disc replicated the tones appropriately, and the disc’s HDR gave the hues additional impact.
Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were well-rendered. I thought some low-light shots could be a bit too thick, but they weren’t a significant problem, and they appeared to represent the source.
HDR made contrast and whites more dynamic. Overall, this became a strong presentation.
I felt thoroughly impressed by the lively DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Holmes, as it offered more than enough pizzazz to merit “A”-level consideration. The soundfield created a terrific sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate.
The movie’s various fight/chase sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a lively manner. In particular, the battle at the shipyard was a winner, as it used the speakers to serve the material in an exciting manner.
Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.
Audio quality always excelled. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch.
Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added a lot to the movie.
How did this 4K UHD compare with the Blu-ray? Audio remained identical, as both brought the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack.
Shot Super35, Holmes finished at 2K, and that meant we didn’t get a notable jump in resolution. Still, the 4K UHD felt a bit more stable and tighter, and the HDR added oomph to contrast and colors – well, as much as the severely limited palette allowed. Due to the film’s visual choices, I wouldn’t call this a significant improvement in picture quality, but the 4K became the appealing version.
No extras appear on the 4K UHD disc, but the included Blu-ray copy comes with a mix of materials, and first comes Maximum Movie Mode. This provides a mix of different components that accompany the movie.
“Director Walk-Ins” feature Guy Ritchie and act as a semi-commentary, as he trots onscreen to point out various tidbits and introduce some behind the scenes footage. In addition, we find still galleries with costume sketches, character designs and production photos.
Storyboards also run across the screen at times, and a “Sherlock Holmes” timeline lets us understand when various events occurred in the series’ world as well as real-life moments.
In addition to Ritchie’s 12 “Walk-Ins”, we get picture-in-picture interviews. These provide notes from Ritchie, co-producer Steve Clark-Hall, production designer Sarah Greenwood, set decorator Katie Spencer, location manager Giles Edleston, producers Lionel Wigram and Susan Downey, costume designer Jenny Beavan, armourer Nick Jeffries, location manager Mark Somner, and actors Mark Strong, Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams.
Across the elements, the participants the film’s approach to the source material, visual techniques and cinematography, the crew and their jobs, cast, characters and performances, effects, sets and locations, costumes and period details, stunts and action, and other production areas.
At times, “Maximum Movie Mode” can be a little inefficient, as we find more empty spots than I’d like. However, these aren’t a serious problem; to be sure, the “Mode” fills the space much better than many other similar programs from other studios.
And the content is usually quite good. The various bits cover a wide variety of filmmaking elements and educate us in a satisfying manner. I must admit I’d still prefer a more traditional commentary, but I can’t complain much about the “Mode”, as it’s a good way to investigate the flick’s creation.
We can check out the eight Focus Points on their own or as branches of “Maximum Movie Mode”. These run a total of include “Drawbridges and Doilies: Designing a Late Victorian London” (4:59), “Not a Deerstalker Cap in Sight” (4:16), “Ba-Ritsu: A Tutorial” (3:59), “Elementary English: Perfecting Sherlock’s Accent” (4:04), “The One That Got Away” (3:45), “Powers of Observation and Deduction” (4:02), “The Sherlockians” (3:03) and “Future Past” (3:08).
Across these, we hear from Ritchie, Greenwood, Clark-Hall, Law, Spencer, Downey, Beavan, Downey, Strong, McAdams, producer Joel Silver, dialect coach Andrew Jack, stunt coordinator Franklin Henson, fight consultant Eric Oram, fan gathering organizers Laurie Manifold and Carol Fish, “Baker St. Irregulars” secretary Peter Blau, writer/editor David Stuart Davies, Mysterious Bookshop’s Otto Penzler, “Irregular” Steven T. Doyle, and editor Roger Johnson.
The shows look at sets, locations and production design, costumes, adapting the source material, fight scenes, Downey’s accent, some story/character areas, diehard Holmes fans and their appreciation for the series, visual effects and recreating period London.
The “Focus Points” add a little dimensionality to the set. None of the featurettes offers a whole lot of depth, but taken together, they give us some nice little insights. They’re consistently enjoyable and reasonably informative.
Next comes a featurette called Sherlock Holmes Reinvented. In this 14-minute, six-second piece, we hear from Ritchie, Wigram, Downey, Clark-Hall, Silver, Downey, McAdams, Law, Henson and Oram. They discuss adopting the novels for a modern movie audience, what Ritchie brings to the project, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations.
Expect a highly promotional piece. While I don’t expect a 14-minute featurette to boast great depth, I’d like more concrete info than what I find here. Honestly, we learn next to nothing about the film’s creation in this thin, fluffy program.
A few ads open the Blu-ray. We get clips for Clint Eastwood: A Retrospective and Invictus. No trailer for Holmes appears here.
Sherlock Holmes provides an effective updating of an old, legendary character. While this may rub some fans the wrong way, I like the film and think it gives us an exciting, entertaining experience. The 4K UHD offers strong picture, excellent audio and a good collection of supplements. The 2009 Holmes creates a fun reimagining of the franchise, and this 4K UHD delivers the film in a consistently satisfying manner.
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