*. Sometimes audiences get it right. Gnomeo and Juliet, a retelling of Shakespeare played by a bunch of lawn ornaments, chiefly garden gnomes, had been a big hit. So the call went out for a sequel. Many properties must have suggested themselves, and the movie even begins with a roll call: Game of Gnomes, The Gnome Ranger, The Twilight Gnome, and Spider-Man: Gnomecoming. But they settled on Sherlock Gnomes.
*. The box office, however, was disappointing. I think for the simple reason that it’s not as much fun. Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) are back, and all but married, but Juliet has turned into a career woman and just takes Gnomeo for granted. Which would be a cliché but for the switching of gender roles. Meanwhile, Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are trying to unravel a plot that has Moriarty trying to steal all of London’s garden gnomes.
*. My first thought in seeing the interplay between Gnomes and Moriarty was how much it sounded like the bickering going on between Batman and The Joker in The Lego Batman Movie. Which made me wonder at how we are now getting infantilized versions of cultural products that have always been popular with kids. If we’re moving toward some kind of lowest common denominator then we haven’t got there yet.
*. A second thought: the gang is pretty much all back again. Including Michael Caine and Maggie Smith as the elder gnomes. But along with the addition of Depp and Ejiofor I had to wonder why an animated film would bother with celebrity voices anyway. They’re not that recognizable, and Jamie Demetriou, who I’d never heard of before, is perfectly fine as Moriarty. Perhaps it’s just a way of getting people’s attention, but is it worth the expense? I guess Mary J. Blige (playing the Irene Adler character) gets to sing a song, so that’s something.
*. Blige’s song, by the way, struck me as unnecessary, and just another patch in a totally patchwork plot. As with Gnomeo and Juliet, several Elton John songs are sampled for musical cues that don’t make any dramatic sense. As the rescuers are flushed through a sewer we get “I’m Still Standing.” Escaping from another tight spot we get “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” Why?
*. Mike McCahill in the Guardian: “after two films, this still looks and feels like a franchise driven more by commercial calculation than creative inspiration.” Hm. I wonder if there has ever been a franchise driven more by creative inspiration than commercial calculations. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any. So that’s sort of a dry point being made.
*. The lesson to be learned is that you should be nice to your friends. Sherlock is a jerk, but accepts a more equal partnership with Watson at the end, just as Juliet commits to being nicer to Gnomeo. That’s kind of thin, but even so the movie lets it down. As noted, Sherlock just isn’t a likeable, interesting, or funny character. Gnomeo and Juliet seem like add-ons to a plot that doesn’t need them to do anything. Nanette the frog is even more annoying than she was in the first movie. This is a movie that we didn’t need, and in the event few people wanted.
Hadn’t heard of this gnome franchise until your reviews. Not my kind of thing at all. I think Pixar are better at this kind of thing.
The first one wasn’t bad. This one basically put an end to any notions of a franchise.
That’s for the best I think. Stick with Critters and Leprechauns, gnomes are obviously not up for the job.
They’re too darn cute. But not as cute as puppies.
And kittens, don’t forget the kittens!
I had a Wheaten puppy jump on me and lick my face this morning, so all is right with the world.
Had to ggogle that, they’re so cute! What’s your one called?
She wasn’t mine. I wish I still had a dog. I had Newfs years ago. This was a puppy I met just as I was walking across the park. It was going crazy trying to jump all over me and I told the owner it was fine so we got all friendly. I didn’t get her name.
Love meeting friendly doggies.
Jamie Demetriou from Fleabag? BAFTA winning comedian? Research mucxhx? I get it, he’s not in any Charlie Chan films, but the rest of the world watches lots of stuff, we’re not all hermits in caves.
I’m sure very talented, and I said he was good here. But not a household name. And what’s a BAFTA? Sort of like a pool noodle?
I’m guessing from the way you write that awards for excellence are things you’re unlikely to come across.
Maybe this guy isn’t a household name for you, but then again, you barely have a house.
I tend to look the other way when awards are announced. I leave them for the hacks who write industry ad-copy.
Aw, did Alex not win any awards? Never mind, your conspiracy theory must help you sleep at night. Terrible slur on McAvoy, not sure what he did to incur your pointless wrath.
No slurs against McAvoy here. He’s one of the good Scots. Unlike the barking mad variety that hate gnomes.
So, no awards for Alex? Cupboards are bare?
Oh, wait, this just came in…Alex Good, Nominated for Best Drivel about Gnomes (out of date category). Congrats, Baldy!!
I did win that award, thank you. Also took home the Slayer of Presumptuous Scots Award. Got a special commendation for that one.
Pics? If there’s no pics, it didn’t happen, hahah hoist again, baldy! What’s next for you, more Charlie Chan movies? More urine-soaked gnomic bedsheets from the kids playroom? More fascist newspaper idols?
Perhaps crushing another quiz. I got 24 on Otsy’s last. What did you get? Let me check . . . oh yeah, none. Zero. Way to go! Must be an award for that . . .
I think I got 25, hahaha!
No, you got zero.
I got more correct answers than anyone else, so I am the winner!
You were late. You clearly cheated from other loyal readers. You came last.
Details. I won.
In fairness I had’nt heard of Jamie Demetriou either, and I have a house.
No, I’ve never heard of him either, I’m not some Bekgravia posho who knows what Fleabag is. Just winding up Alex to sit back and watch in amusement as he makes a colossal knob of himself.
*sigh* This coming from the lad who runs around blogs like a six-year-old on a sugar high screaming Hahahahahha! Forget about therapy, I should be getting paid for daycare having to babysit your shenanigans.
Haha Bunty! Back to the gnome cartoons for you, just press the baby minder button if you get scared. Can I trust you to watch them by yourself?
Game of Gnomes would of been good. This one I hadn’t even heard of.
I see you quoted Michael McCahill here today. Decent, decent. Ever quoted Robbie Collins? We all know how quality his insight is. Perhaps it could even bring his attention to this blog? We really should get in contact with him.
I’ve never been in contact with Robbie. It would be nice to have an educated, well-spoken Scottish film critic engaged here.
It certainly would. I bet I could find his email somewhere online. May be worth checking in…