'Sherlock Gnomes' Just Isn't As Fun As the Original

If you watch the trailer for Sherlock Gnomes, the latest animated musical adventure to hit the big screen, you’ll be subjected to three fart jokes within those few short moments. Let’s just say it’s not exactly the most high brow adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to come along.

This lively feature is a sequel to the widely panned Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), but in this case the star-crossed, ceramic lovers Gnomeo and Juliet (voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) team up with Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp). The dour detective takes command—along with his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor)—and sets about solving the most vexing mystery behind a series of thefts. The team tracks a trail of clues left by supervillain Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou) and the game is afoot! (Or, afart… as the case may be.)

While the filmmakers didn’t bother to look outside the box for their paint-by-numbers presentation and cheap laughs, Sherlock Gnomes isn’t a bad movie—though it’ll probably please younger kiddos over more discerning viewers—and the classic-style mystery is a lot of fun. Holmes thinks in black-and-white, while the rest of world flows in brilliant and vibrant color and shows off the gnomes’ garden abodes in their blooming best. We also get a cluttered but cool tour of London ranging from the Natural History Museum to a speakeasy cabaret where Holmes’ gal-pal Irene (Mary J. Blige) sings.

Speaking of tunes, there are a few classic Elton John songs (and in-jokes) sprinkled throughout the score (because kids are big Sir Elton fans these days, right?) and Ozzy Osbourne (because kids are big Ozzy fans these days, right?) lends his bleary voice to a character called Fawn.

The animation is undeniably wonderful and the attention to detail is admirable (chipped, scuffed gnomes bearing hairline cracks, and the like). The spectacle almost manages to overshadow the fact that most of the characters don’t have any, well, character. I’m a sucker for Sherlock, having read the books when I was young and subsequently watched any and all onscreen offerings, but this new version of the world’s greatest sleuth is just ho-hum. Depp’s vocal talents are always welcome, but his accent and delivery is pretty standard-issue.

Sherlock Gnomes is OK, but it’s not worth paying to see on the big screen. Wait for it to come to the streaming services.

Tags : movies   films   animated movies   

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