Somewhat unfortunately, my nickname at university was Gnomi – all because of that one time that I entered my name into my friend’s phone incorrectly in freshers week – and as a result I’ve always felt a certain attachment to Gnomeo and Juliet (which, incidentally, was released in the February of my first year, way back in 2011).
Directed by John Stevenson, of Kung Fu Panda fame, Sherlock Gnomes is the sequel to that ridiculous, Shakespeare adaptation of joy with its wonderful Elton John (and Bernie Taupin) soundtrack and delightfully British cast. Gnomeo (James McEvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) are still a couple, and they’ve moved to a brand new garden in London.
One day, they return from a trip out to find that everyone has been kidnapped by a mysterious foe. Worried about their friends, they contract the services of the renowned private investigator, Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp), and his sidekick, Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Mary J. Blige and Stephen Merchant also star in this animated masterpiece of charming ridiculousness.
Despite having loved the books, which are serious and actually quite dark, this is how I like my Sherlock Holmes adaptations: ridiculous, comic and a little too clever for their own good. Here’s my controversial ranking for the last three big (and small) screen adaptations of the popular detective stories: Sherlock was alright, Elementary’s good fun and the Downey Jr version is bloody genius.
I remember feeling stupidly happy and uplifted after seeing Gnomeo and Juliet, and I have no reason to believe that I’m going to feel all that different this time around. Sequels are always difficult but there are reasons to be optimistic. The trailer is quite brilliant – packed with puns that somehow don’t fall flat – and the majority of the rather perfect cast is back. Sadly no Jason Statham this time around though.