Wednesday, June 06, 2018

'Sherlock Gnomes' Is Mediocre, but I Still Enjoyed It

There are two reasons why I just had to watch Sherlock Gnomes.  First, I love Sherlock Holmes.  He’s probably my most favorite literary character ever, and not only that, I’m also fond of checking out different re-imaginations of him in various media, even those that are far-fetched or silly.  Second, even though it seemed like a Toy Story knock off, I actually enjoyed Gnomeo and Juliet, the 2011 animated movie it is serving as sequel of.

So in Sherlock Gnomes, Gnomeo (James McCavoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), along with the rest of the blue and red garden gnomes, have moved to London.  Upon arrival, the former star-crossed lovers are declared as the new leaders by their respective parents, Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) of the blue-hats and Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine) of the red-hats.  Meanwhile, someone is kidnapping gnomes all around London, and one day, when the couple returns home, they discover that their friends and family are gone.  To rescue the missing gnomes, Gnome and Juliet have to team up with the legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) and his partner Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
The portrayals of Sherlock and Watson are slightly out of character.  Being obnoxious is a known flaw of Sherlock, but with Sherlock Gnomes, it’s somewhat turned up to eleven.  Meanwhile, Watson is (spoiler?) uncharacteristically rancorous.  I wasn’t okay with what was done with the character in one specific part, though I learned to be fine with it at the end since he eventually redeemed himself.  Still, considering that they are simply re-imaginations – even parodies, in a lot of ways – all are forgiven.  Overall, they are more amusing than annoying.  Also, I liked the 2D animation sequences that illustrate Sherlock’s mental process.

Johnny Depp did surprisingly well voicing Sherlock.  He didn’t phone it in.  He was genuinely invested.  It was like playing Sherlock Holmes was a dream of his, and since this could be closest chance he would get in realizing it, he gave it his best.
As for the rest of the movie, well, nothing else is worth commenting on, really.  The voice cast has so much star power, but it doesn’t feel like it.  The animation is good, but just the ordinary kind of good.  The story is stupid and clichéd, and the attempts to surprise are way too obvious right from the start.  It’s objectively mediocre.  For a sequel that took seven years to arrive, it’s devoid of any impact.

However, I won’t deny that I enjoyed it.  I took some pleasure in recognizing its assorted nods on Sherlock Holmes mythology.  I laughed at several of its bits, physical comedy, and puns – regardless of whether they were juvenile or clever.   I appreciate its guts to be anti-PC at one point.  And there were certain aspects that I thought were truly interesting and adorable.

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