June 11, 2018  (Web Review)

Sherlock Gnomes

Paramount, 96 min., PG, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, June 12

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

In this animated sequel to 2011’s Gnomeo & Juliet, it seems that all the London gnome lawn ornaments are being stolen, including Lord Redbrick (voiced by Michael Caine), Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith), and Fawn (Ozzy Osbourne). So the legendary sleuth Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) and his long-suffering assistant Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) arrive to help Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) search for the missing gnomes. Looking for clues, Sherlock visits a doll museum, where he runs into his ex, a self-obsessed Victorian doll (Mary J. Blige). Utilizing deductive logic, Holmes suspects his perennial adversary, maniacal Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou), who is disguised as a little yellow pie-boy mascot. Elton John (who lends many songs to the soundtrack) can be glimpsed in a cameo as a pink, piano-playing gnome. Working from a bare-bones screenplay, director John Stevenson pads the story out as much as possible, but aside from some imaginative black-and-white sequences showing what Sherlock is thinking, the animation here is not remarkable. A disappointing follow-up, this is an optional purchase. (S. Granger)