The Hughes brothers’ first film in nine years didn’t exactly burn up the box office, but thanks to the star power of Denzel Washington, it did manage to turn a respectable profit. Apparently, it was even enough to convince Warner Bros. to go all out with the film’s Blu-ray, because while some of the studio’s more recent releases didn’t really feature much in the way of special features, “The Book of Eli” is loaded with them.
“Maximum Movie Mode”
It’s nothing like the incredible presentation hosted by Zack Snyder on the “Watchmen” Blu-ray, but this picture-in-picture video track is still a pretty cool supplement to the film. Designed more like Universal’s U-Control feature – where a small box pops up in the corner of the screen at various times throughout the movie – the Maximum Movie Mode features interviews with the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage from production, as well as concept art and screen to storyboard comparisons. Additionally, you can branch off to mini-featurettes called…
…or you can view them on their own without having to sit through the entire movie. There are ten in all, each running about 3-4 minutes in length. Though each Focus Point covers a different aspect of the film, most of them fall under one of three categories: Production Design, like “Building Carnegie’s Town” and “Apocalyptic San Francisco”; Stunts, like “Underpass Fight,” “Shootout at George and Martha’s,” and “Solara Causes Mayhem”; and Character Profiles, including a look at “The Motorcycle Gang.”
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When a movie makes as much money as “Sherlock Holmes” did at the box office (certainly not “Avatar”-sized numbers, but still respectable for its budget), you expect the studio to reward its audience with some cool DVD bonus features. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here, as Warner Brothers has only included a 14-minute making-of featurette called “Sherlock Holmes: Revisited” that, although not as shallow as the typical EPK, doesn’t go into nearly enough detail for being the only extra on the disc.
Among the topics discussed include how this rendition of Holmes is actually closer to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original vision; Guy Ritchie’s originally plans to cast an actor in his late 20s to play the title character before meeting Robert Downey Jr.; and why Jude Law’s Watson is unlike any other we’ve seen before. In other words, it’s information that anyone following the film would have already read about, rendering the featurette fundamentally pointless. It’s a real shame, too, because there had to be some other bonus material (like bloopers or deleted scenes) sitting around in the vault that fans would have liked to have seen. Though the Blu-ray edition gets the added incentive of WB’s awesome Maximum Movie Mode, even that seems a bit light for such a major release. The history behind Holmes is simply too rich to receive such a lackluster treatment, and though I’ve never been a very big proponent of studio double dips, this time around, it’s almost necessary to make up for such a major blunder.