Rob Reviews "Sherlock Gnomes"
One phrase that has really made its way into my vernacular is “I see what you did there”. I am a big fan of the play on words, so one would think I would be more jazzed for films like “Gnomeo and Juliet” as well as its sequel, “Sherlock Gnomes”. Honestly, it really didn’t as I felt like this was a grasping at metaphoric straws to find a brand to latch onto, since this is the Hollywood way as of late. Luckily, my aversion to the latter of the two was pretty much unfounded. (Full disclosure: I have not seen “Gnomeo and Juliet,” and if you haven’t don’t sweat it. You don’t have to.)
In this retelling of the classic series of stories about the world’s most famous detective, Johnny Depp voices the main character with Chiwetel Ejiofor playing his faithful sidekick and partner, Dr. Watson. (Know that there is not much play on words with the characters themselves.) In modern day London, the characters from the first film, led by Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) move to the city into a garden that is less than desirable from their old one. When garden gnomes start to disappear all over the city, including their friends, Gnomes and Watson, who fear that their greatest enemy has returned in Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou) team up with Gnomeo and Juliet as they journey to save the day.
I love the fact that studios that don’t have “Disney” or “Pixar” attached to them are catching up to the House of Mouse in the animation category. This adds to the competition, and the fact that the storytelling is also getting stronger as the years go on makes even more strides to give audiences everything they want for their entertainment dollar. The fact that this is truly a telling of Sherlock Holmes and not just “borrowing” the property was very refreshing for me. As a fan of all things detective novel growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on, which made me a little apprehensive going into this. With a lot of small nods to the source material including some story elements straight out of certain stories, I found myself highly entertained for the 86 minutes that I was in the theater. We were also fortunate enough to see this film in 3-D, which is always beautiful to see in CGI animated features.
There is also a strong supporting voice cast here as well featuring the likes of Mary J. Blige, Michael Caine, James Hong, Stephen Merchant, Ozzy Osbourne, Maggie Smith, and Julie Walters. The animators truly work well taking their vocal characteristics and applying them to the characters they represent, and there also seem to be some live-action elements in the backgrounds that bring things to life even more. Elton John is also an Executive Producer, so hearing his music accompany the story (even though a bit awkward in a couple of spots that can only be noticed for those who pay close attention) upped the fun level even a little bit more for me.
I truly enjoyed “Sherlock Gnomes” so much that I am actually intrigued to go back and watch its predecessor in order to possibly gain more perspective on this film. This is a family film that all can enjoy together and even though there may be a bit of more mature humor in some places, there isn’t really anything that I felt would make parents uncomfortable in front of their children, so go make a day of it!