“Sherlock Gnomes” is the sequel nobody asked for

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“Sherlock Gnomes” is the sequel nobody asked for

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

Trevor Tyle, Campus Editor

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There’s a very good chance somewhere, way in the back of your mind, you have the faintest recollection of an animated film called “Gnomeo and Juliet,” right? The film wasn’t quite bad enough to be forgotten, but it also wasn’t good enough to be remembered.

But unfortunately for the people who probably forgot about it since they watched it back in 2011, there’s a sequel, and—spoiler alert!—it’s just as forgettable.

Directed by John Stevenson, “Sherlock Gnomes” is a direct continuation of the previous film—basically, “Romeo and Juliet,” except with a happy ending and garden gnomes—and unsurprisingly introduces its titular character as the gnome equivalent of Sherlock Holmes.

Shortly after Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) get married, they and their friends are relocated to London when their owners move. After the inhabitants of their garden mysteriously disappear, they must join forces with Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) and his sidekick, Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who believe their friends have been taken by Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou).

Needless to say, the story is pretty straightforward and despite all its faults, you’ve gotta give the film some credit. Clocking in at 86 minutes long, it’s fast-paced enough to avoid any enduring suffering for agitated theatergoers.

Though much of this was accredited to the casting of the first film, it is truly surprising to see a film as lackluster as “Sherlock Gnomes” acquire such a star-studded cast. Led by returning stars McAvoy and Blunt, they do the most with the very least in the relatively uninspired roles they’ve been given. Blunt is particularly charming, and if nothing else, listening to her Julie Andrews-esque chops in this film only further validates the decision to cast her in the titular role of the upcoming “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Depp is also fantastic, though one can’t help but wonder why an actor of his caliber was cast in this in the first place—especially given his recent domestic abuse controversy, Paramount made a bold move in attaching him to its film.

The film also includes a small role for Mary J. Blige as Sherlock’s bitter ex-girlfriend, Irene—she even gets her own musical number, though given Blige’s immense talent, it’s not much.

Following in its predecessor’s footsteps, the film heavily relies on the catalogue of pop icon Elton John for its soundtrack. As forced as it may seem, it’s probably one of the more enjoyable parts of the film, because who doesn’t love Elton John?

As for the humor, I can probably count the number of times I actually chuckled—or even smirked, for that matter—on one hand, but it’s not entirely cringe-worthy. There’s some rather witty adult humor thrown in, but for the most part, “Sherlock Gnomes” never rises above fart jokes.

That being said, audiences should take “Sherlock Gnomes” for what it’s worth. This is an animated kids’ movie, so there wasn’t bound to be much substance. Though it’s far from Pixar-level quality, “Sherlock Gnomes” actually boasts some truly impressive animation skills and a few moments of genuine excitement—emphasis on “a few.”

In general, “Sherlock Gnomes” is a forgettable sequel no one asked for. It’s a bad version of “Toy Story” with a villain no one will take seriously and a predictable plot. In spite of this, most kids will leave the theater pleased with the final result. Even if they don’t remember it for long, that in itself proves the film does what it set out to do.

The best part was still the Elton John music, though. I guess the garden gnomes were alright, too.

Rating: 2/5 stars