A belated follow-up to 2011’s cute but forgettable Gnomeo & Juliet, this animated adventure catches up with a family of garden gnomes just as they’re moved by their human owners to London. The timing couldn’t be worse, however, as someone is stealing all the gnomes from the capital’s gardens and, you guessed it, Gnomeo (McAvoy) and Juliet’s (Blunt) friends and relatives are among those that are snatched. But don’t worry, because renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes (Depp) and his assistant Dr Watson (Ejiofor) are on the case.
Like the first movie, this has some similarities to the Toy Story films (the gnomes only come to life when humans aren’t present, etc) but lacks both the clever humour and adorable charm of them. While the plot zips along and it looks colourful enough, there’s not much to care about as couple Gnomeo and Juliet have fallen out (and both being rather stupid about it) and Sherlock is about as likeable as a squashed garden snail.
A trip to an old toy shop that has surprisingly sexy entertainment provided by Mary J Blige as a vampy character named Irene seems out of place, while the use of executive producer Elton John’s songs that was fresh in the first movie only works from time to time here (opening the movie with ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ is nice, but the use of ‘The One’ is just painful).
Ultimately, it’s a sweet but bland diversion for little ones that doesn’t offend but won’t exactly enthrall anyone either.
Is Sherlock Gnomes suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young and sensitive children may find bad guy Moriarty – who looks like a freakish yellow baby crossed with the Ghostbusters Mr Stay Puft – quite scary.
There are also stone gargoyles that come to life and capture the gnomes that may frighten the under-7s.
At one point, the gnomes are trapped and about to be crushed which may worry very young viewers.
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