A Game of Shadows Is Afoot: Sherlock Holmes Sequel Arrives on Blu-ray and DVD with Added Movie App
06.12.12 by Ryan
When released last December, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows outperformed 2009's Sherlock Holmes ($543M in worldwide box office compared to $524M). However, the franchise wasn't just successful in theaters. Sherlock Holmes had an excellent run on home video, with DVD/Blu-ray sales earning back half of the movie's budget alone at $45 million. That trend should continue with today's DVD/Blu-ray/digital download Combo Pack release of A Game of Shadows, which includes some of the same extras that made the Sherlock Holmes disc a success, and ups the ante with a Game of Shadows movie app.
Cineastes have enjoyed Warner Bros' "Maximum Movie Mode" feature on their Blu-ray since its induction on the 2009 Watchmen disc, with director Guy Ritchie providing the in-depth commentary on the Sherlock Holmes disc, while A Game of Shadows utilizes the wit and charm of star Robert Downey Jr. to host behind-the-scenes content that includes — in addition to still galleries, story boards, and other promotional materials — seven "focus points," otherwise known as video featurettes. If it's confusing for a viewer to see Downey Jr. step out from behind the footage of the movie to then discuss it, the focus points are also available through the special features menu option. While this all sounds fairly familiar to the avid home video buyer, the real bonus is the companion Movie App (for the cost-conscious among us, it's available free from iTunes).
In a world continually being dominated by hand-held technology, Warner Bros has integrated the Blu-ray disc with a Game of Shadows Movie App that will synchronize with an iPad or Kindle Fire. Essentially a coffee table book distilled into several chapters, the app includes sections about the sequel's characters (including their real world or literary inspirations), storyboard breakdowns, script comparisons, and an extensive timeline of Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which includes input from noted Sherlock Holmes expert Leslie Klinger.
Learning about where the characters are derived and the historical elements included in the sequel are certainly of interest, but arguably the most attractive feature is the way viewers can synch scenes and videos from their tablet to play on their Blu-ray player (as long as there's WiFi available), making the experience a more interactive one by turning the tablet into a remote control of sorts for the multitude of extras included in the Movie App and Blu-ray. Viewers can nerd out on scenes such as the train sequence, with a beat breakdown available via the App, which can then switch to the "second screen" (the TV) where pre-visualization videos as well as the finished product can be viewed. Take that, film school!
For those without a Blu-ray player, the App's contents will also work with a digital copy purchased via PS3, XBOX Live, Vudu, or CinemaNow. The only difference is that it won't sync to a TV via the Blu-ray player that isn't there. Currently, there's synching whatsoever for those still using VHS.
A Game of Shadows sees Holmes (Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) tackle Holmes' most infamous nemesis, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Along the way, the crime-solving duo are aided by a gypsy named Simza (Noomi Rapace) and Holmes' brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry).