The sequel to the hit film Gnomeo and Juliet titled Sherlock Gnomes takes another literary classic and fills it with those lovable garden creatures that supposedly protect our yards and plants. In Sherlock Gnomes, we find Sherlock, Watson, Gnomeo, and Juliet searching for the rest of their gnome friends who have vanished mysteriously. Through some adventures, they all come to find out just who is behind the madness. This sequel leaves the plot, character development, and charm at the door and focuses more on action sequence after action sequence to get to the end of the film. The movie plays to a younger crowd for sure as well. The video and audio presentations are both very good and the short bonus features will be enjoyed if you like the movie. If you have young ones, this would be a good rental.
In 2011, we received a sweet and charming take on Romeo and Juliet, but with actual animated garden gnomes, titled Gnomeo and Juliet. That film made a ton of money, which garnered a sequel that took another piece of literature and gnome-i-fied it, which is called Sherlock Gnomes. The first film was something new, filled with silliness, puns, and a decent story with good characters, even if it was mostly geared towards kids.
This sequel though is as corporate and lazy as it can get, with all of the things we liked about the original film thrown out the window. While all of the actors do a great job with their vocal performances, it's just one animated set location adventure to the next, without rhyme or reason or any fluid story or dialogue. In Sherlock Gnomes, we follow the title character Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp), who has just defeated his arch nemesis Moriarty with his assistant Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
Meanwhile, Gnomeo and Juliet have moved to a less-than-stellar garden with all of the other gnomes, where they are tasked with keeping it up nicely. Soon enough, all of the gnomes go missing, which leaves Sherlock, Watson, Gnomeo and Juliet looking for their fellow gnome friends to solve the mystery of their disappearance. It's a simple story, but there is no substance to it. It's all surface material that takes all of the fun out of the actual film.
The animation looks incredible, though, with bright and wondrous colors at all times. It's fluid and smooth with some great animated detail. Visually, the movie looks excellent. In the end, Sherlock Gnomes lacks any sort of engaging moments or true story arcs. Instead, we get one big action adventure sequence, then it's straight on to the next one, as if we can't handle something with depth or meaning.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Sherlock Gnomes comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film, along with a DVD copy. There is an insert for a digital download code as well. The discs are housed in a hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Sherlock Gnomes comes with a fantastic 1080p HD transfer. The animation and detail is top notch with realistic looking gnomes around every corner. The weathered look of some of the gnomes with some of their cracks and chipped paints is amazing, and the detail really shows all of the imperfections in these animated objects. The animation is smooth as well and never choppy.
The background and environment textures all look splendid with detail in the tree bark, brick gardens, while plant life appears vibrant and natural. Colors are bright and bold at all times. The primary colors of the gnomes, including deep greens, reds, blues, and yellows all look striking, even in night time scenes. Big action sequences never look pixelated either. Black levels are deep as well. There are no real issues with this video presentation.
This release comes with an equally wonderful DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix that is a joy to listen to. The small audio details are excellent and robust at all times. The nature sounds in the garden and gnomes wandering around all sound great and lively. The clanks, footsteps, wind, and trees rustling all have great dynamic sound that creates a good immersive experience.
There is the sound of thunderstorms that brings the bass quite well that never sounds rocky, but rather smooth with directionality of the rain drops. Other big sound effects are loud and can be heard easily through surround speakers, meaning the rear components will sound off quite often. The music and score always adds to the silliness of the film, which kids should enjoy. The dialogue is always clean and clear, and free of any pops, cracks, or hiss. This is another very good audio presentation from Paramount.
Gnome is Where the Heart Is (HD, 7 Mins.) - Cast and crew discuss the characters, the scenery, and voice acting in the movie. This is general EPK fluff.
All Roads Lead to Gnome: London Locations in Sherlock Gnomes (HD, 3 Mins.) - A short discussion on how some real life London locations made it into the film.
Gnome Wasn't Built in a Day: The Design and Art of Sherlock Gnomes (HD, 6 Mins.) - Another discussion with some crew about the character designs and backgrounds.
Miss Gnomer: Mary J. Blige and the Music of Sherlock Gnomes (HD, 4 Mins.) - A bit about the music in the movie.
Stronger Than I Ever Was Music Video (HD, 4 Mins.) - The song from the film set to some clips from the movie.
How to Draw (HD, 18 Mins.) - There are 4 different segments in which the character designer of the film teaches you how to draw four of the main characters from the movie.
Animating Sherlock Gnomes (HD, 2 Mins.) - A very quick look at the animation process that shows how the film was made from hand illustrations to CGI.
You know, you'd love to see more sequels in the gnome universe such as Eyes Wide Gnome or Inglorious Gnomesterds, but I'm willing to bet we won't get that far, since this sequel fails expectations in all circles. I can dream though! Sherlock Gnomes should satisfy the kids enough for a couple of hours, and adults might enjoy a reference or two, along with the good animation, but the heart and soul, along with any real story plot is long gone unfortunately. It's all about the action sequences and how we can get to the next one as quick as possible. The video and audio presentations are both excellent, though, and there are some short, yet interesting bits in the bonus feature section. All that being said, this is worth a rental if you have young kids who like these sorts of movies.