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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Sherlock Gnomes (Blu-ray)
Sherlock Gnomes (Blu-ray)
Paramount // PG // June 12, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $19.90 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted July 27, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Did you know there was an animated film called Sherlock Gnomes? Well, did you know that the 2018 film is in fact a sequel to the 2011 film Gnomeo & Juliet? Well, aren't you something, I'm just wondering why it took seven years to make a sequel that was perhaps a questionable idea when the first film was made, but that's why I didn't get into the good schools I guess.

Nevertheless, John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) directed the film based on a screenplay from Ben Zazove (Tooth Fairy 2). Gnomeo (James McAvoy, Split) and Juliet (Emily Blunt, Sicario) are the most prominent amongst a set of garden gnomes who occupy a space in a London yard. Then run into Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows) and Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Martian), who encounter them while trying to find Moriarity (Jamie Demetriou, Paddington 2), who is stealing gnomes in order to break them. So the two sides team up to try and find the baddie.

The film brings back the gnomes from the first film, so Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Stephen Merchant, Ozzy Osbourne and Julie Walters (to name a few) bring their voices back for this one, and their return is welcome, but the story is fairly pedestrian, strung together by a chain of slightly interesting action sequences. In my short but growing experience of watching children's animated films, there seems to be the tendency to throw the characters into fish out of water action sequences that are presumably designed to captivate and make the target demo laugh. But I think all it does is distract without any sort of motivation to continue. These action sequences are here for the sake of presence and emphasis, the story is perhaps a little erratic for the chilluns.

The moments designed to make people laugh certainly do that, and it was fun to hear Ozzy do this character than I wasn't familiar with before, and Blunt in particular may be the best of the vocal ensemble. When given the chance to chew on a little computer generated scenery the cast manages to not fumble the job, with Merchant and Matt Lucas being ones that I laughed at more than I was expecting, and they play up the songs in the film as one would anticipate. But as you go along in Sherlock Gnomes, these things feel less like moments and more boxes on an imaginary list on making a children's film that the production was looking to tick off. More of an obligation rather than a chance to get the audience to get into and enjoy the ride.

I don't mind sitting through kid's films as my toddler grows into a young boy but rest assured he's going to get a discerning palette as much as I can provide. And I'm sure there may be a chance that these Gnomes films are good, but I'm going to bite the bullet and check out the first film (of a presumed trilogy) to see if it's worth it before whatever Sherlock Gnomes is is dispensed to him.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

The 2.40:1 widescreen looks great and a lot of detail on the gnomes like chips, nics and such all look really good. There was a sequence where the gnomes were out in the rain and the rain drops were ponding on the ground and roof very well and for a moment I thought those particular exteriors were practically shot. The colors of the gnomes in the evening and the lights of the London buildings appear natural and vivid and altogether, Paramount does a very good job by this cute little gnome movie.

The Sound:

Speaking of doing a very good job, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless surround also brings a lot of sonic goods too, with the numerous Elton John songs getting modernized and causing ample foot tapping, along with a song by Mary J. Blige, who voices a character for the film, an old romantic choice of Sherlock's. Dialogue is well-balanced throughout, and channel panning and directional effects are ample and convincing, particularly through the sewer sequence and the aforementioned rain ones. The film may be a little modest and unassuming but the lossless track is spot on.

The Extras:

A series of small featurettes about the film and making of, starting with "Gnome is Where the Heart Is" (7:00), on where the characters are at now, and showing some actors in the voice studio and their thoughts on the characters they portray. "All Roads Lead to Gnome" (3:10) looks at the notable London hotspots, and how the cast were inspired by them. "Gnome Wasn't Built in a Day" (5:59) covers the design and art of the characters and how they were illustrated, while "Miss Gnomer" (4:09) looks at the music and shows Mary J. Blige and others in studio recording. "Stronger Than I Ever Was" (4:05) is a music video, and 4 segments on how to draw characters in the film follows (18:40). "Animating Sherlock Gnomes" (1:36) is a child-friendly version of the previous pieces, and the film comes with an iTunes code, which I mention because it's much welcomed in this house.

Final Thoughts:

Sherlock Gnomes takes almost a decade to follow-up on Gnomeo & Juliet and it seems to wonder why it is it's here, and I'm wondering the same, as it is a stereotypical flash over substance effort that is hollow and disappointing. Technically both audio and video presentations are stellar, and the extras are quick and somewhat forgettable. If you want to put your kid in front of this movie for 90 minutes when other better similarly made films are out there, I'm judging you.

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