SHERLOCK GNOMES (G, 86 MINS) DIRECTED BY JOHN STEVENSON
Seven years after Gnomeo & Juliet, the porcelain pair and their pals are back for another adventure.
This time, the action shifts from Stratford to London, as our dynamic duo prepare to take control of their new garden. But the pressure starts taking a toll on their relationship, with Gnomeo (James McAvoy) finding Juliet (Emily Blunt) not quite as attentive as she once was.
At froggy friend Nannette’s (Ashley Jensen) suggestion, he decides to rectify things with a visit to the florist across the road. But while he’s away, something terrible happens – all the rest of the ornamental clan are kidnapped.
Fortunately, he is able to call on the services of the ‘‘sworn protector of London’s garden gnomes’’.
If anyone can solve the case in time, it’s Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp). With the help of Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), he quickly finds a clue – one that suggests it’s the work of his old adversary, Moriarty.
The pernicious pie mascot was presumed dead in a National History Museum mishap, but this ‘‘Sistine Chapel of evil plans’’ (naturally needlessly complicated) bears his unmistakable calling card. Or does it?
Despite some impressive visuals (the animated gnomes have a satisfying porcelainity about them and there’s a nice use of a different animation style for Sherlock’s ‘‘mind palace’’) and a vocal cast to die for (everyone from Michael Caine and Matt Lucas to Maggie Smith and Mary J Blige), you have to feel some sympathy for director John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda).
Despite some impressive visuals and a vocal cast to die for, Sherlock Gnomes offers only middling entertainment.