Sherlock Gnomes

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Sherlock Gnomes Movie Poster Image
More peril, action in sweet but unsurprising sequel.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 19 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn some basics about Sherlock Holmes and other characters from the classic detective stories, like Watson, Moriarty, and Irene Adler.

Positive Messages

The story promotes teamwork, appreciating others, and not taking the people you love for granted. It also advocates healthy romantic relationships in which the individuals are partners who encourage and help make each other stronger.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Juliet and Gnomeo are strong, courageous, kind gnomes who love each other and their garden. Sherlock is a genius who's often curt and dismissive but realizes he's been taking Watson for granted and needs his help and friendship. Watson is smart and thoughtful but makes an error in judgment. All admit to their shortcomings and learn from failures. Juliet holds her own while working with Sherlock; she's strong and capable. Some stereotyping in the way a Chinese toy/gift shop ("Curly Fu's Emporium") and its inhabitants are portrayed.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent peril, with chases, fights, pursuits, and close-call getaways. Gnomes disappear and are kidnapped/kept captive by scary gargoyles. Moriarty smashes and injures gnomes and then looks as if he's been smashed/killed himself. Gnomes are in danger and will be smashed all at once unless the heroes intervene; at one point, it's believed that an important sympathetic character has been smashed/died. A stampede of rats passes by and nearly tramples the protagonists. There's a climactic battle in which there are many close calls, but ultimately all the heroes are fine.

Sexy Stuff

Gnomeo and Juliet kiss and hold hands. Irene flirts with Sherlock. Another gnome is in love with a frog but doesn't want to kiss her in a play, because he wants their first kiss to be "real." (It happens later.) One gnome wears a thong bathing suit, and his buttocks are seen several times. A character says firmly "Don't call me 'Tiny D'" in a manner that could be interpreted as suggestive. Moriarty is technically naked (he looks like a baby/toddler), but nothing is shown.


Swear stand-ins include "fudge," "fudge buckets," "heck," "fertilizer," and "cheese and crackers." Also "dumb," "stupid," "loser," "ugly," and "big, hairy bum." Ornamental bunnies speak by clacking together; at one point, the translation is rendered in asterisks.


Nothing on-screen, but there are offscreen merchandise tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sherlock Gnomes is the follow-up to 2011's Gnomeo & Juliet. It introduces the titular detective (voiced by Johnny Depp), the "sworn protector of London's garden gnomes," to the star-crossed lovers from the first film. When nearly all of the city's gnomes go missing, Sherlock and his partner, Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), are on the case, with Gnomeo and Juliet (James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) along to help rescue their friends and family. Expect more action and peril than in the original: A few gnomes are injured, maimed, or even smashed by the main villain, characters take part in action-packed chases and pursuits, and there are potentially frightening gargoyles and a stampede of rats. There's also a little romance (not just between Gnomeo and Juliet, but also between supporting characters), including kisses and flirting; one gnome likes to wear a thong swimsuit (putting his buttocks on display), and another sits on the toilet. Language is mostly insult words and a few swear stand-ins ("fudge buckets!") and rude jokes. Families who see the movie together can discuss its themes of teamwork, friendship, and equal partnerships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMnjeh7041 July 16, 2018

It’s terrible

This movie has no good messages and they make references to bad language the first movie was definitely better in this movie someone thought it was a good idea... Continue reading
Adult Written byunslopogaas. April 25, 2018


This movie is tedious and unimaginative, but it's biggest problem is that it fails to make you empathise with the main characters. You just don't care... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBored_Strawberry June 13, 2018

Definitely better than Gnomeo & Juliet

This is an exciting and entertaining movie for kids! I personally thought this was way better than the first movie, Gnomeo and Juliet. Parents need to be aware... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNatasha1019 May 27, 2018


Wayyy too cheesy and really cliché
Could see the ending from a mile away

What's the story?

In SHERLOCK GNOMES, Sherlock Gnomes (voiced by Johnny Depp) -- the "sworn protector of garden gnomes" -- and his partner, Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), investigate gnome-nappings carried out by the villainous Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou). Moriarty is fatally wounded during a big confrontation, and Sherlock and Watson believe they've saved the day for good. Meanwhile, the garden gnomes from Gnomeo & Juliet move from the country to London, where they get settled in their new, much smaller garden. After the group's two leaders, Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) and Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine), announce their retirement, they appoint Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) as their successors. The pair disagree over the best way to lead, and soon a new outbreak of gnome-nappings puts their relationship to the test. After everyone in their garden goes missing, Gnomeo and Juliet force Sherlock to let them join his mission to figure out what's happened to all of London's gnomes.

Is it any good?

Aimed at young kids, this amusing but unsurprising sequel offers an easy-to-follow introduction to Sherlock Holmes' sleuthing genius. Depp voices the master of deduction (here named Sherlock Gnomes) with just the right amount of detached arrogance, and Ejiofor's Watson is appropriately patient and long-suffering. The missing gnomes mystery is intriguing, but the secondary drama surrounding Gnomeo and Juliet's relationship stress may fall flat with younger audiences -- especially considering how happy the couple was at the beginning of the story. Some of the jokes and one-liners are clearly targeted at adults (like when a male character demands not to be called "Tiny D"), and Mary J. Blige's performance as Irene Adler (who sings the mature post-breakup song "Stronger Than I Ever Was"), is going to go above kids' heads. That said, Blige's cameo as a Barbie-esque doll is one of the movie's highlights, and Demetriou's clever-and-crazy Moriarty is reminiscent of Andrew Scott's take on the villain in Sherlock.

Blunt's Juliet is a fine example of owning up to your mistakes, displaying courage under fire, and recognizing that a true partnership requires trust and communication. McEvoy's Gnomeo is good-hearted and utterly in love with his gnome mate, but he's got slightly less to do than Juliet, who's by Sherlock's side for most of the action. The romantic subplot between two other gnomes isn't as compelling as the original's love story, but the action-adventure is definitely a bigger part of the film. It's fun to hear executive producer Elton John's music, too. Ultimately, this is a cute family pick the kids will enjoy -- but probably not more than once.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether any of the characters in Sherlock Gnomes are role models. If so, which ones, and which character strengths do they demonstrate? How are teamwork and courage important to the story?

  • Were any parts of the movie scary to you? Why or why not? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?

  • Why do you think Sherlock Holmes is such an enduring/popular character in pop culture? What do you think of this movie as an introduction to the famous literary figure?

  • What are the movie's messages about friendship and romantic relationships? What does Juliet mean when she says that she knows you don't "need" a man to be happy but that the "right partner makes you stronger"?

Movie details

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