Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [Blu-Ray] Guy Ritchie

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [Blu-Ray] Guy Ritchie
For all the threatening intimations of two great minds playing with lives like chess pieces ― a metaphor taken literally in A Game of Shadows ― fun is the name of the game in this even more highly stylized sequel to Guy Ritchie's action-comedy take on Sherlock Holmes. The logical next step for the franchise was always to formally introduce the eccentric detective's arch-nemesis: Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris, Fringe). As thrilling as that adversarial relationship is, this picture's primary appeal still lies in the chemistry between Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law). Eager to take on the responsibilities of a family man, Dr. John Watson tries to extricate himself from Holmes's frequently dangerous, self-absorbed adventures in light of his impending nuptials. Instead, Watson and his young wife become the targets of conniving academic sociopath Moriarty, in his bid to keep Holmes committed to their strategic sparring match. The movie feels a bit long and the plot a little self-indulgently complex at the expense of clarity, at times, but Guy Ritchie and his charming leads seldom give the audience a chance to be lulled, utilizing inventive camerawork and never missing an opportunity to play up the silly comedic aspects of Downey's quirky, hyperactive performance against Law's straight-man anchor. Harris plays a first-rate villain and the addition of Stephen Fry as Sherlock's less adventurous, but no less intelligent older brother, Mycroft, was a sensible choice, but as appealing a performer as she is, Noomi Rapace's Madam Simza is more of a plot device and excuse to involve gypsies than a fleshed-out character. Proving to be the ultimate team player, Robert Downey Jr. "shows up for you like you've showed up for the movies" to host "Maximum Movie Mode." His affable charm, keen character insights and sense of humour about elements of the film conceived solely for entertainment value make it one of the most thoroughly enjoyable enhanced viewing experiences I've seen. In addition to the picture-in-picture and split screen behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards, still galleries and cast and crew comments, there are a number of "Focus Points," which are essentially production features that include bloopers, tech talk with Ritchie about his love of camera tricks, a great deal of verbal fellating of Stephen Fry, and good-natured on-set ribbing, especially between Downey and Law. It's abundantly clear that everyone is having a heck of a good time, and that absolutely comes across on screen. (Warner)