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Guy Ritchie
Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Writing Credits:
Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Box Office:
$90 million.
Opening Weekend
$62,304,277 on 3626 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Quebecois French Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Castillian Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 128 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/1/2020

• “Maximum Movie Mode” Interactive Feature
• “Focus Points” Featurettes
• “Sherlock Holmes Reinvented” Featurette
• Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Sherlock Holmes [4K UHD] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 2, 2020)

Back in the 1990s, filmmaker Guy Ritchie became something of an “It Boy” with the cult hit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. This led to a somewhat bigger release – and an actual movie star lead via Brad Pitt – with Snatch.

Apparently poised to become a major director, Ritchie faded after that. Over the years that followed Snatch, Ritchie became better known as Madonna’s husband – and a punch line when he directed the missus in the much-lambasted Swept Away. Ritchie continued to work but he didn’t recapture the momentum he’d boasted in the 90s.

All of those struggles disappeared in 2009 with Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The director got big stars and a big budget to reinvent the famous detective – and he delivered a big hit. Avatar earned all the attention during the 2009 holiday season, but Holmes still managed to earn a solid $209 million.

Which I thought it deserved, as the movie offered a fun reimagining of the franchise. On a case to save a kidnapped girl, super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downer, Jr.) and his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) find her about to be sacrificed as part of a dark magic ceremony.

They save her and arrest Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Blackwood hangs for his crime, and Watson declares him dead on the scene.

However, Blackwood doesn’t stay dead for long. He breaks out of his crypt and enacts a plan to achieve world domination.

In the meantime, Holmes attempts to cope with the potential loss of his partner. Watson plans to leave the wild world of detective work and settle down with his fiancée Mary (Kelly Reilly). This causes Holmes to attempt many different methods to ensure that his partner stays with him.

Like 2009’s Star Trek reboot, one may argue that Holmes takes a lot of liberties with its subject. I hesitate to make too many assumptions about how Guy Ritchie’s version differs from its predecessors, mostly due to my own lack of great familiarity.

When I reviewed Trek, I did so after having seen everything else that’d come as part of the franchise: every movie and every episode of every TV series. I can’t claim nearly the same familiarity with the world of Holmes.

That said, I have to imagine that the 2009 Holmes treats the franchise in a similar manner. Like Trek, it boasts definite connection to its forebears, but it also takes on a much more 21st century feel.

Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your point of view. Like Trek, I enjoyed Holmes, but I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t really need to be a “Sherlock Holmes” movie. Sure, it hits on some general character traits, but it doesn’t offer the kind of tone and impression one might expect from a Holmes production.

Never having read the books, I have no idea how good or bad Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was at storytelling. I do believe that he must’ve done way better than the tremendously muddled affair we find here.

In truth, the entire “plot” is little more than a MacGuffin. The story makes very little sense, and even the parts we do understand don’t matter. The tale is a framework Ritchie uses to stage many action scenes and character interactions.

And it truth, he does quite well, as at no point in Holmes does the movie sag or threaten to lose our attention. While I can – and will – question the flick’s real connection to Doyle and its scrambled plot, I certainly can’t deny that the sucker entertains.

Based on a number of factors, some will compare Holmes to the 1999 Wild Wild West movie, and I totally understand that line of thought. It definitely occurred to me as I watched Holmes, but I think this movie provides a substantially more engaging affair than West.

In truth, I didn’t hate West. I thought it was undeniably silly – giant mechanical spider indeed! – and rarely better than mediocre, but it was watchable.

Holmes manages to work a good sight better. While it has its flaws – mostly connected to the shoddy story – it still comes across as a quality effort that doesn’t threaten to alienate the viewer with its stupidity.

It helps that the cast treats it well. Fresh off Iron Man and an Oscar-nominated role in Tropic Thunder, Holmes continued his hot streak.

Downney doesn’t go far to stretch his usual big screen personality, though at least he doesn’t make Holmes as glib and cynical as the usual Downey character. His Holmes isn’t exactly super-serious, but he lacks the modern sense of snarkiness that would’ve marred the presentation.

This may sound like faint praise, but Sherlock Holmes avoids becoming the disaster it could’ve been. It’s not the smartest, most intellectual film you’ll see, but it’s darned entertaining. If you’re willing to accept Sherlock Holmes as an action hero, you’ll enjoy this one.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/Audio A/ Bonus B

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.

To rate this film visit the original review of SHERLOCK HOLMES

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main