Odd for a movie whose original grossed nearly $200 million, with songs by Elton John, and voiced by Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and a host of others, this movie only has 17 reviews. Why? Was Paramount afraid of its reception? Granted, I think it would have helped to see Gnomeo and Juliet which was a spoof of the fight between the Montagues and the Capulets. At the end of that movie, our heroes married. Now. they are moved to a new weedy backyard and adventure in London.
This was a tough movie for me to grade. Very colorful with some nice music, it has its clever points. But at times, it seems to try too hard, as with the introduction of Sherlock’s ex-girlfriend. Lots of kids were at the showing I attended, and I wondered if they were as lost as I was trying to understand the indecipherable clues. Sherlock, through most of the movie, is pretty much an insufferable character.
Someone is taking, and smashing, all the gnomes in London. Sherlock is London’s self-proclaimed protector of all things gnome. Gnomeo and Juliet are having a lover’s spat and are not in the backyard when their friends go missing. Sherlock dismisses their request to help him, but they are not about to step aside, not when Gnomeo has already named Juliet as the toughest gnome in the yard. Sherlock suspects his nemesis, Moriarty, is involved even though he and Watson previously watched him die. Their quest will take them through many recognizable tourist spots in London.
Depp is Sherlock and his upper-class condescending voice is superb. Blunt is Juliet, McAvoy is Gnomeo, and they seem to be having fun. Chiwetel Ejiofor is Watson and Jamie Demetriou is Moriarty. Mary J. Blige vamps it up very nicely as Irene, Sherlock’s ex-girlfriend, even if she didn’t seem to fit in the plot. Listen carefully and you might recognize the voices of Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Ozzy Osbourne.
The first picture had a budget of $36 million, this one raised to $59 million. It is projected to gross $15 million this weekend. Will that number be affected by the producers changing its opening from Thursday to Friday? With an audience score of 41% and looking at their comments, they also seem conflicted, either loving it or hating it. My guess is that children will like it because of the color, the music, and the funky characters. Adults may be a little less forgiving. Although this series has lots of possible directions that it might pun, e.g., the Gnome Ranger, or Show Me The Way to Go Gnome, I agree it should not lose its focus on the main characters, Gnomeo and Juliet. It is their interplay that saves ultimately this movie.