When you have a cast comprised of Maggie Smith, Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine, Stephen Merchant, Julie Walters, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mary J. Blige you have some kind of talent stash. Even if it is an animated film. A big part of an actor’s arsenal is their voice. How they use it tell the story and convey emotion. This is doubly true of actors performing in an animated film. That is all they have to illuminate their character. The rest is in the hands of the animators. Here we have a great cast (well, maybe other than rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, but he is actually great in his small role) it is the story which lets us down.
Moving is always a little disconcerting. You can double that if you happen to be a garden gnome. As you have no choice where you end up. Still the gnomes try to make the best of things. That is the case with the group that includes Gnomeo (James McAvoy – Atomic Blonde, The Last King of Scotland) and Juliet (Emily Blunt – Sicario, The Girl on the Train). Juliet’s parents have decided that it is time for them to step aside as leaders of this group of gnomes in favour of the younger Gnomeo and Juliet. Buckle up as it is going to be a bumpy ride for the new leaders as as they take over it is a time in which their relationship is undergoing some trials and tribulations as well as garden gnomes are disappearing in large numbers.
As for the disappearing gnomes this is a case for one man – Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp – Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). Sherlock and his trusted assistant Dr. Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave, The Martian) have solved many cases of the sorts as they are the protectors of garden gnomes all over. The stakes are raised when Gnomeo and all the other gnomes except for Juliet are taken. Sherlock believes the perpetrator is his nemesis Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou – Paddington 2). The clock is ticking if they want to get the gnomes back and it is up to Juliet, Watson and Sherlock.
Often when animated films stumble it is due to trying too hard to live in two worlds. They try to be everything to kids and adults. Tricky proposition that. This John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) directed film falls right into that pitfall and ends up not really satisfying either population. Especially the older ones. While some kids might just be distracted by the poor potty humour, a little bit of action and bright colours, the adults will be rolling their eyes for the most part.
The animation is great, but the story is lacking. It’s major downfall is that it is completely predictable and when it isn’t they try to cram too much in, so it becomes a mess at times. The whole tone is off. Maybe it is the attempt to merge garden gnomes with Sherlock Holmes that causes the problem. One is filled with heart and fun while the other is morose and dark. Not exactly a marriage made in heaven if you want to remain true to them. The original film had charm and plenty of heart this one is lacking in those departments.
-Gnome is Where the Heart Is
-All Roads Lead to Gnome: London Locations in Sherlock Gnomes
-Gnome Wasn’t Built in a Day: The Design and Art of Sherlock Gnomes
-Miss Gnomer: Mary J. Blige and the Music of Sherlock Gnomes
-Stronger Than I Ever Was
-How to Draw
-Animating Sherlock Gnomes