A crime is being committed and the world is in need of a super sleuth detective to crack the case, writes Matt Adcock.
The main crime here alas is the fact that they have chosen to make a sequel to distinctly average novelty-garden-statue-em-up Gnomeo & Juliet.
Yes, in what must be one of the least anticipated sequels ever we are once again blessed with a kid-friendly sub-Pixar animated comedy effort that brings the star-crossed Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) face-to-face with the infamous pint sized detective Sherlock Gnomes (voiced by Johnny Depp).
The plot is about a dastardly plan to kidnap all the gnomes in London, so the heroes team up to investigate the crimes and save the day for tacky garden ornaments everywhere.
Can Gnomes and his trusty sidekick Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) solve the case – or will they be buried under an avalanche of very hit and miss gags, some of which are adult natured so hopefully only there for the unfortunate parents who get dragged along…
To be fair, it’s not all terrible. If you set your expectations to ‘low’ and consume enough sugar you will at least probably laugh a few times. And if you’re a fan of Sir Elton John’s music then there is plenty of that including Rocket Man and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.
Also, the cast is pretty strong including Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Mary J. Blige and my personal favourite Ozzy Osbourne all putting in good shifts and trying their best with the average writing.
The animation of the vaguely annoying heroes is done as well as you could hope, it does seem like overkill to have super high-resolution sheen and chips / scratched textures on a gnome wearing a mankini. There are also some effective flights of fantasy into Sherlock Gnomes’ puzzle cracking mind which are rendered in a cool 2D hand-drawn kind of creative cheat sheet.
Director John Stevenson, the guy who made the much more awesome Kung Fu Panda, has stumbled with this Arthur Conan Doyle inspired gag fest. But amazingly there are worse animated films out there.
In the end, only you know if this is the sort of film that is going to ring your bells – and if it is there is even a post-credits tease for potentially more to come!?