Sherlock Gnomes

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Sherlock Gnomes
"You may suffer mild face ache. This is caused by persistent smiling"

Horticultural snobs treat garden gnomes like ducks on the wall - lower middle class naff. What they don't know, or care to find out, is that they have a life of their own.

Sherlock G admits that his sole purpose in the ceramic world is to keep London gnomes safe. From whom? Thieves and bin men? The name on the shop front is MORIARTY PIES. That's the guy! The bad baby.

Copy picture

Moriarty is yellow. He is big like a blow-up doll and has a sick sense of humour. He talks like Alan Carr's camp cousin and is voiced by Jamie Demetriou. He is not the same as the gnomes. He's from a different imagination and has an agenda that tickles his fancy, to wipe the gnomes off the lawns and backyards of the capital city forever.

The gnomes are like family, at least the ones we get to know, which could have been the equivalent of a double cheese topping but isn't because of Ben Zazove's witty script.

Sherlock (Johnny Depp) is caught in the trap of his own iconic history and appears less effective than his rotund sidekick Dr Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) with his all-purpose walking stick. The central couple is Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) who attempt with only limited effect to outsmart the mocking yellyness of Evil M and his giant gargoyles.

Animation has become boundless in its opportunities to excite and experiment with computer-generated everything. Sherlock Gnomes does not shake the tree, however. It is conventional, like Paddington, without live people popping up all over the place and yet sharing the Peruvian teddy's warmth and affection.

The cast is stellar. With cameo vocals from Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Richard Wilson, Matt Lucas, Mary J Blige, Stephen Merchant, Ozzy Osbourne and Dexter Fletcher, you could hardly ask for more.

HEALTH WARNING: on leaving the cinema you may suffer mild face ache. This is caused by persistent smiling which can be cured with a spoonful of reality.

Reviewed on: 10 May 2018
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The garden gnomes of London are in mortal danger from a yellow blow-up baby. Sherlock and Dr W to the rescue! Ceramic animation rules, right?

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