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Sherlock Gnomes (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Sherlock Gnomes


Featuring the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, Jamie Demetriou, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Julie Walters, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant, James Hong, Matt Lucas, Kelly Asbury and Elton John.

Screenplay by Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Ben Zazove.

Directed by John Stevenson.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures. 86 minutes. Rated PG.

Be still my fangirl heart.  The garden gnomes have done it again, and our dynamic duo, Gnomeo and Juliet (voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) are as cute as can be. Their honeymoon phase is over, and they must deal with not only their missing friends and family, but how to navigate their relationship.

I know other reviews so far for this movie have not been glowing, but my guess is that the reviewers didn’t love or appreciate the original? Maybe they’ve never watched BBC’s Sherlock? As a fan of both, I felt that Sherlock Gnomes captured the best of both fandoms.

In this adventure, the household has moved from Stratford-on-Avon to London with most of their garden buddies. The new garden is a fixer-upper and the torch is passed to Gnomeo and Juliet to lead the design. Unbeknownst to them, their garden is in peril as the next victim of the mysterious garden gnome kidnapper – with the suspect being none other than Moriarty (voiced by Jamie Demetriou), the infamous villain of the Sherlock Holmes world. While stressed and super focused on the new garden, Gnomeo & Juliet find themselves entrenched in a Sherlock Gnomes whodunit!

Sherlock (voiced by Johnny Depp) is as aloof and thankless as ever towards his ever-faithful counterpart, Dr. John Watson (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor). As in other renditions before this, their relationship plays like a story within a story, while we wonder what it will take for Sherlock to recognize Watson’s worth. (PS…he always does.)

There are some great black and white animation moments in an attempt to portray the inner workings of Sherlock’s mind, including an M.C. Escher-esque representation.

Irene Adler (voiced by Mary J. Blige) has her scorned-ex fiancé moment and helps Juliet on her path back to Gnomeo. There are plentiful Sherlock references throughout; even Mrs. Hudson (as portrayed by Mrs. Udderson – you’ll know her when you see her) gets her screen time. Moriarty is played as over the top as we’ve grown to love/hate and is portrayed as a pie maker ornament (looking more like a small version of a Bob’s Big Boy figurine).

Aside from wondering what became of Tybalt from the original Gnomeo & Juliet (alas, he must have been left in the move), it seems most of the memorable gnomes have returned, and with them, the fun freeze effects in unfortunate positions when in viewing proximity of a human. The dialogue remains tongue-in-cheek and the side characters ridiculously creative. Menacing gargoyles and a Maneki-Neko lucky cat army are some of the cool new additions to the Gnome world.

Elton John became our cameo favorite of the year with his Kingsman: The Golden Circle walk-on. As executive producer, it feels like the Elton John flair is woven all through Sherlock Gnomes. He has a “cameo gnome” appearance and his songs are spread throughout.

Admittedly, garden gnomes come to life are not everyone’s cup of tea. After all, the first Gnomeo & Juliet movie rests with a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But, I stand with the 54% of viewers who appreciated the original and suspect they will also be pleased with the new addition to the garden gnome storyline.

Bonnie Paul and Leni Paul

Copyright ©2018 All rights reserved. Posted: March 23, 2018.

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