It’s been a not-so-stellar year for animated films. I can’t really think of any that have stood out from the crowd or been anything more than passable. With the likes of The Emoji Movie taking up a lot of the conversation for all the wrong reasons, it appears the big studios Disney and Fox have saved the best until last with the releases of Coco and Ferdinand looming on the horizon. So, today’s trailer talk is focusing on poo-pun fest Sherlock Gnomes. What? You thought I was going to talk about ‘Coco’ or ‘Ferdinand’? Well, I’m apparently here to torture myself, and I wouldn’t want to watch a trailer for something I actually might enjoy. Sherlock Gnomes is a sequel (yes you read that correctly, a sequel) to a film which I had never heard of called Gnomeo and Juliet, originally released six years ago. Sherlock Gnomes presents us with, incredibly surprisingly, a star-studded cast. The title character is played by Johnny Depp, a man inching so far out of popularity you can understand him taking such a role, but we also have Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maggie Smith, Matt Lucas, and more… all of whom still have relatively successful careers. So, with a cast so talented, what could go wrong?
We get the premise at the start of the trailer—it’s Toy Story but with garden gnomes. The plot? All the gnomes have gone missing, so Gnomeo and Juliet hire Sherlock Gnomes to find them. As the plot is so simple, the majority of the trailer consists of fart jokes. As this leaves me with very little to break down in my usual fashion, I thought I would spare you the watch and just transcribe each of the jokes.
Joke #1: The Tone Setter
The first joke should set the tone of a comedy. Oh boy, does this one. A gnome jumps in a puddle, mistakes it for a pool, and sinks in until it’s above his head (a la quicksand). Rather than showing the gnome drown (which would be much more satisfying), we see him fart in the puddle, for ten seconds of the trailer’s two-minute runtime. It felt like an eternity, and I may now just hear gnome farts as I try to sleep at night.
Joke #2: The Sherlock Hypocrisy
Sherlock Gnomes enters, knocks over a gnome, breaks it, then exclaims how he is the protector of all gnomes. Another character points out his hypocrisy. Nobody tries to arrest Sherlock for grievous bodily harm. A gnome is left tortured without his head. This is apparently supposed to be funny, and not nightmare inducing.
Joke #3: The Ears
A few gnomes whisper to one another about the terrible kidnappings (gnomenappings?) unfolding, but they don’t want the others to hear because, apparently, mass hysteria can be a problem in the gnome community. Anyway, a gnome with gigantic ears hears it from across the room and proceeds to tell everyone. Mass panic does ensue. We do not see whether this causes gnome riots, but I like to think it does.
Joke #4: The Technological Incompetence
A gnome tries to use Google Maps and doesn’t understand how it works. That’s it. How did he get a laptop? We don’t know. Why would he need a laptop? We also don’t know. He also seems to not understand how the real world works but he can be excused for this because he is, in fact, a garden gnome.
Joke #5: The Mankini
This one’s as hard to explain as it is to watch. There is a cut-away to a gnome dancing in a mankini. It’s exceptionally weird.
See the above list as the main, ‘tentpole’ jokes, but it doesn’t include many of the quality puns such as “what the fertilizer,” “into the great un-gnome,” and my personal favourite brain-cell killer,“no ship Sherlock.” A comedy trailer can live or die from its first joke. For me, this one was definitely dead on arrival. Animated films are not ‘just for kids’, as adults must watch the film with their spawn when this thing hits cinemas. I feel sorry for the poor families that will be subjected to this film, as merely watching the trailer made me cringe unbearably.
If a gnome dancing in a mankini does something for you (who am I to judge?), and you want to see the trailer for yourself, watch below.