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Cinema Review: Sherlock Gnomes

You have to wonder, don’t you – how many people have actually read those wickedly clever novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s that ultimately would create literature’s most famous detective? Certainly none of the little kids at whom this terribly disappointing cartoon is aimed. The time-honoured image of Holmes, drawn in the nineteenth century by the stories’ first illustrator, Sidney Paget, and adhered to in Basil Rathbone’s classic portrayal of him onscreen in the twentieth, is toted out again, as is short and portly Watson’s. Moriarty, Holmes’s mortal enemy, is a different kettle of fish altogether. He is depicted as a weird, plastic yellow baby-like figure in a sort-of nappy – I didn’t get it at all. What I did get and agreed with absolutely, was when Moriarty looked into the camera near the end and admitted, while speaking to Holmes, that the plot that he had hatched to bring down his opponent was ‘needlessly complicated’. Otherwise, it is quite incredible to think that the producers of this mash would have paid squillions to Johnny Depp and Chiwetel Ejiofor to do the voicings of the sleuth and his sidekick. What is the point of actors’ interpretations of character for a child who is simply needing to be turned on by a visual narrative? There is an interesting twist, in that a peeved Watson has finally got the hump with Holmes’s superior attitude towards him and planned a ‘worm that turned’ revenge, and among the garden gnomes in whose world they move there is a ‘gnomeo and juliet’ romance happening, with the bloke being fashionably the lesser in cleverness and even strength of the two. But it all moves at such a hectic pace and is so unforgivingly noisy. London of the period is recreated to a nicety – particularly Tower Bridge and its mechanical workings – but as a fan of the new animation I found it bum-breakingly boring and, worst of all, without a laugh.


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