- Emily BluntJohnny Depp...
- 3DAction & Adventure...
- John Stevenson
- In 1 Cinema
For animated features, even more so than others, having characters be memorable, relatable, and even extraordinary is necessary, especially if the feature exclusively targets children. Sherlock Gnomes, however, paid much more attention to word play, and Elton John songs, than it did to its characters.
Sherlock Gnomes is actually a sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), and is home to the same set of protagonists: Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt). The addition this time around is Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp): “the sworn protector of all gnomes in London.” The sequel also saw the addition of Gomes’ ill-treated sidekick Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Gnomes’ arch enemy Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou). The group go around London following clues -that the evil Moriarty has left behind- in an effort to rescue Gnomeo’s family.
The film relied mainly on a standard plot structure: a rescue mission, with some complications and obstacles here and there. This was a bit disappointing, especially considering the limitless potential of the animated cinematic medium. This point, however, wasn’t essentially the film’s biggest problem.
The real problem was how the characters were developed and presented. Children remember films through their main characters: The Lion King (1994) is Simba, Frozen (2013) is Elsa, The Little Mermaid (1989) is Ariel, and so forth. For starters, while the dynamic between Gnomeo and Juliet was appealing, the characters did not look, sound, and/or behave extraordinarily enough to keep a young child’s attention (nor an adult movie reviewer’s attention for that matter).
As per Sherlock, he was also very much a jerk throughout the film’s entirety; he was not lovable by any means. Yes, he is a genius, but that does not give him the right to behave like a bully and a jerk. Gnomes’ assistant, Watson, was quite unremarkable. Finally, Moriarty was a very strange type of villain/lunatic; the kind of insanity he exhibited was a bit too much for an animated children’s movie.
All in all, the film slacked out: the filmmakers put limits on their imagination, where there should have been none, thereby making the effort that could have been exerted to better the film very evident. If you are a parent with a very young child and/or you just want to distract your kids for an hour and a half, this film may do the trick, but that’s just about it.