Sherlock Gnomes

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: GSherlock Gnomes

Directed by: John Stevenson

Screenplay by: Ben Zazove

Produced by: David Furnish, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Carolyn Soper

Executive Producer: Elton John

Voices provided by: Emily Blunt (Juliet), Johnny Depp (Sherlock Gnomes), James McAvoy (Gnomeo), Michael Caine (Lord Redbrick), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dr Watson), Maggie Smith (Lady Blueberry).

With a vocal cast of A-grade actors most other films can only dream about, those entertaining garden gnomes are back in a sequel to the 2011 animated comedy Gnomeo and Juliet, which borrowed freely from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Sherlock Gnomes, the 3D computer-animated comedy sequel, you guessed it, uses a lot of the ideas and characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic crime sleuth Sherlock Holmes, along with his partner Dr Watson and nemesis Professor Moriarty, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of garden gnomes.

Since the first film the gnomes have been forced to relocate to a new garden in London, where Juliet is so focused on getting everything sorted out or tidied that she has little time for Gnomeo, who tries to keep the romance alive in their relationship.

This situation helps to emphasise the importance of not taking what you have for granted, with Gnomeo and Juliet’s relationship subtly mirroring that of Sherlock and Watson, although the latter relationship is not romantic but more a partnership based on friendship and intellect. It takes a major threat to make Sherlock appreciate Watson’s equal contribution to their crime-solving escapades.

Adults accompanying their children don’t miss out entirely on being entertained, as there are plenty of references throughout the film to classic Sherlock Holmes stories and characters, not that the mostly young audience will be aware of this!

While this film has a fairly straight forward plot, what distinguishes it from other animated fare is the way it doesn’t dumb down the clues, which are quite complicated for Sherlock Holmes to figure out, ensuring audiences are kept engaged and guessing throughout its entirety.

Children will be entertained by the colourful and varied inanimate objects that come to life, and how they interact with each other. The backgrounds are beautifully realised and the animation of the characters is suitably cartoonish as one would expect. The film is quite fast-paced and seems to cram a lot of action, plot and subsidiary characters into its running time, so at least it doesn’t drag.

The catchy soundtrack music is provided by Sir Elton John, the executive producer, who also sings some of the songs, along with other artists who do cover versions from some of his extensive catalogue.

I haven’t seen the first film, but I gathered from my young companion’s comments that unlike Gnomeo and Juliet, which was apparently light and fun with some nice puns and an entertaining supporting cast, Sherlock Gnomes is darker, with less use of the supporting cast from the previous film and more focus on solving the crime, fixing mistakes and renewing relationships that are endangered. Younger viewers may find some of the scenes slightly scary, such as those involving the gargoyles (which look large and menacing but whose personalities balance out their appearance) or Moriarty’s penchant for destroying garden ornaments (although this is never done on screen).

While this film is obviously aimed at a young audience, the presence of such skilled vocal talent, along with lots of sly references to Sherlock Holmes, will hopefully ensure that adults will be entertained as well and not feel punished by having to sit through this animated offering.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA15+Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Written by: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Produced by: Adam Bohling, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Edward Holdcroft, Michael Gambon and Poppy Delevingne.

I like to think I have a dark, somewhat, twisted sense of humour, but about 15 minutes into, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it stopped being funny and became ridiculous.

As with the first, Kingsman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), there is the intentional push into the bizarre with sociopathic villains sporting robotic attachments – akin to a Bond film, yet modernised.

Which led to the huge success of the first Kingsman: entertaining action with a spot of difference that refreshed the British Secret Service while retaining all the charm.

The attempt to modernised the spy genre here, however, was a script filled with the cliché and the just plain stupid.

The inclusion of the Glastonbury Festival and the aged-before-her-years bimbo and terrible dialogue with pick-up lines such as, ‘My crow is looking for a place to nest’, led to confusion with a blurred line between the film making fun of itself and being silly, or not, and therefore coming across as stupid, try-hard and gross.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Funnily enough (ha, ha, there’s my lazy pun for the day), the apparent obsession with the sh#tter was some of the most amusing parts.

Following on from Clara (Poppy Delevingne), the Swedish Princess getting it Greek style at the end of, The Secret Service, we now have Eggsy (Taron Egerton) swimming in a sh#t filled sewer, an old man having the best sh#t in two weeks, and Elton John offering a backstage pass if Eggsy once again, saves the world.

So, you can tell the style of humour… And those were the funny bits…

The storyline had holes (ha, ha, just can’t stop those puns) as well.

Enter Eggsy, battling Kingsman-rejected, Charlie (Edward Holdcroft) leading to the Kingsmen being hacked by drug lord, Poppy (Julianne Moore) – a woman stuck in the 1950s, living her days in the jungle in a replica of the setting of, Happy Days, but with robotic killer dogs and a drive to serve-up minced human flesh as prime hamburger meat.

This is a super-successful business lady who’s getting no cred.

So, Poppy decides she wants illicit drugs legalised and therefore taxed to get credit for being a successful business woman?  And to give the government control of the drug trade?  The elaborate plot Poppy, the drug lord, devices is not going to give Poppy more money or a prize for, Business Woman of the Year.  It doesn’t make sense.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Add the American branch of independent secret service, resplendent with cowboy hats, code names like, Whisky, and the sound track of Country Road that seems to be following Channing Tatum around after, Logan Lucky, you’ve got the original idea of Kingsman, a modern James Bond, to modernised B.S. (the sh#t included).

What I did like was the amazing camera work with the audience being spun around and skidding and kicking and Kung Fu fighting right along-side Eggsy.  And the character, Eggsy, was still likeable here.

But instead of the class of the iconic British gentleman, it felt like the entire cast was given a touch of the idiot.

Even Colin Firth as Harry Hart played a doe-eyed, brain-damaged, butterfly enthusiast for most of the film.

So, yes, there’s explosive, huge-budget action, but riding on a patchy plot, filled with the ridiculous.