Sherlock Gnomes

 

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The sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet heads to London for an underwhelming adventure featuring a 

pint-sized version of the noted detective.

 

Sherlock Gnomes

Common and garden shenanigans: Gnomeo, Sherlock and Juliet 

 

Some national treasures are not meant to mix. Here we have a film executive produced by Elton John, complete with a slew of his greatest hits, propping up a story featuring Shakespeare’s star-cross’d lovers and Conan Doyle’s iconic detective. Throw in the voice talents of Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Michael Caine and Ozzy Osbourne and you have the recipe for a cultural Hiroshima. A sequel to 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet, the cartoon switches its locale to London where the gnomes now have to make do with a much smaller garden and where Juliet and Gnomeo are put in charge. The former (Emily Blunt) takes her new responsibility very seriously, whereas Gnomeo (James McAvoy) just wants to bask in the honeymoon glow of their affaire de cœur. However, their clash of priorities is put to one side when all the garden ornaments go missing thanks to the dastardly plan of Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou), a baby-faced pie mascot with evil in his plastic coating. Of course, it’s all a wheeze to bamboozle Sherlock (Johnny Depp), the “sworn protector of London’s garden gnomes.”

 

With the puns flying thick and fast – it’s a wonder Sherlock doesn’t proclaim, “it’s ornamental, my dear Watson” – the film aims to appeal both to children and adults. At the outset, one gnome suggests Game of Gnomes might make a good sequel, but Sherlock is whom we get while we await future editions starring Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch. And so we are promised a “tale of suspense, intrigue and mystery,” which is fine if you’re a lawn figurine, less so if you’re a grown-up cinemagoer. There’s enough action and colourful characters to distract the very young, but the level of wit and charm is decidedly under-par. The musical cues are hackneyed, the dialogue uninspiring and the story, cooked up by four different writers, a little too congested for its own good. Still, the animation is bright and the assembled vocal talents on top form, with Johnny Depp proving to be surprisingly accomplished in the title role. However, in light of the sophistication of current computer animation, the film is hardly a cause for celebration.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, Johnny Depp, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Stephen Merchant, Ozzy Osbourne, Jamie Demetriou, Julie Walters, Richard Wilson, Kelly Asbury, Dexter Fletcher, James Hong, John Stevenson.

 

Dir John Stevenson, Pro David Furnish, Steve Hamilton Shaw and Carolyn Soper, Screenplay Ben Zazove, from a story by Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Emily Cook and Kathy Greenberg, Pro Des Karen deJong, Ed Prakash Patel and Mark Solomon, Music Chris Bacon.

 

Paramount Animation/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Rocket Pictures-Paramount Pictures

86 mins. UK/USA. 2018. Rel: 11 May 2018. Cert. U.