Film Review: Sherlock Gnomes

Frances Winston reviews this latest animated film which is a belated follow-up to Gnomeo & Juliet. 

Directed by: John Stevenson –  Starring the voices of: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, Johnny Depp

If you remember a film called Gnomeo and Juliet from 2011, chances are you are now the parent of a just-about teenage child. Which means no matter how much they loved the movie, they are now likely to be too cool to have any interest in this sequel.

Mind you, the film has been in development since 2012 – it’s just taken this long to hit screens. Of course, you could just bring them along for the nostalgia. Or perhaps you have other LOs who get a kick out of the first movie on DVD, and therefore would love to see the eponymous heroes on the big screen.

James McAvoy and Emily Blunt reprise their voice-roles as Gnomeo and Juliet, who this time around find themselves at the centre of a missing person mystery (well actually a missing gnome mystery) when their friends suddenly vanish.

They team up with the Sherlock Gnomes of the title (voiced by Johnny Depp) and his sidekick, Gnome Watson (Ejiofor) to try to discover what happened to them. Along the way they encounter mishap and adventure, before finally coming face to face with the kidnapper.

Obviously, Sherlock Gnomes was never going to be a supremely complex plot, given that the movie is aimed at children. However, at times it does feel as if the plot is merely a means to shoehorn in certain scenes and cultural references that the director or writers found funny.

As is the norm in these kinds of movies, there is an attempt to layer the jokes so that the adults also get something from them. This doesn’t always work successfully however, and many other movies are far cleverer in their attempts at this (Disney Pixar pretty much have it down pat at this stage).

They do have a surprise twist, which is enough to re-engage the most jaded of adults near the end of the movie. It’s influenced more by Scooby Doo than Sherlock Holmes, but it works. Overall though, this is just OK. It’s not as sweet or charming as the original, and there is a lot going on that doesn’t always feel interconnected.

Sherlock Gnomes is extremely colourful, the animation is lovely and LOs will no doubt be drawn to that, and it should keep them amused for 88 minutes, but adults are unlikely to engage with this.

In Cinemas Now!


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