Photo: Left to right - Sherlock Gnomes, Gnome Watson, Gnomeo and Juliet
Sherlock Gnomes is a full-length animation feature film and can be summed up as “Sherlock Holmes set in the world of garden gnomes”! It is a sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), but you don’t have to have seen the first film to appreciate Sherlock Gnomes. If you are a Sherlockian, you will find plenty to keep you entertained.
All our favourite Sherlockian characters are here – Sherlock Gnomes, Gnome Watson, Moriarty, Gregson and Irene Adler. Sherlockian references abound – keep your eyes peeled for Sherringford, Wisteria Lodge, the Hound of the Baskervilles, Reichenbach, Mind Palaces, disguises, and many more. And finally London, with its landmark buildings (the Natural History Museum, the Shard, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge), has a starring role in the film, as it did in the original stories.
When we first meet Sherlock and Watson, Sherlock is incredibly arrogant, completely undervaluing Watson. Watson in this version is a gnome of many talents, possessing insight and intelligence. He is much more than a mere sidekick, as he amply demonstrates over the course of the film. There is a strong supporting cast. Moriarty is entertaining and funny, constantly wisecracking and full of mischief, but also sinister and frightening. Irene Adler’s “turn”, fully embodying “the Woman”, has to be seen to be believed. I was left thinking … what a Woman!
The film has just the right mix of detective story and adventure, as in the original stories. There is a mystery to unravel and a puzzle to solve. And along the way there is plenty of adventure, with Sherlock and Watson causing complete mayhem in a Chinese Emporium, careering through London’s sewers pursued by rats, and fighting a duel with Moriarty on Tower Bridge. The film is also very funny, jam-packed with one-liners, laugh out loud jokes and visual gags.
There were two Sherlockian aspects I really enjoyed. Sherlock’s Mind Palace sequences were done in black and white, and in a very specific style, bringing to life the way Sherlock’s mind works - his logic and his deductions. The disguises were joyous – and the sequence where Sherlock and Juliet disguise themselves as a squirrel was hilarious!
The two key relationships are Sherlock and Watson, and Gnomeo and Juliet. These characters, and their journeys, form the heart of the story. Sherlock and Juliet fall into the trap of taking their respective partners for granted and then realize, over the course of the film, how much they rely on them. Both relationships are tested and emerge stronger, and children are taught an important lesson about the true value of a life partner.
Although the film is primarily targeted at younger children, any Sherlockian will find plenty to enjoy and admire, and so I am recommending this excellent adventure to adults and children alike – great fun for all the family!