Australian Council on Children and the Media

Sherlock Gnomes

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Not recommended under 5; PG to 8 (animated violence, adult themes and some coarse language).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sherlock Gnomes
  • a review of Sherlock Gnomes completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 April 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended
Children aged 5 - 7 Parental Guidance recommended
Children 8+ OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Sherlock Gnomes
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes, animated violence and coarse language
Length 86 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This film is a follow-on from the 2011 film “Gnomeo & Juliet”, in which famous literary characters are reimagined in a parallel world where garden ornaments come to life. In this new instalment, Gnomeo (Voice of James McAvoy), Juliet (Voice of Emily Blunt) and their friends have been relocated to a new London garden that is looking a bit worse for wear and is in need of a gnome makeover. All over London, gnomes are disappearing from their gardens but thankfully, Sherlock Gnomes (Voice of Jonny Depp) the “sworn protector of London’s garden gnomes” is already on the case. When Gnomeo and Juliet return home one day to find all their fellow ornaments have been taken, Sherlock Gnomes is already at the scene and ready to help them solve the mystery. Sherlock and his trusty sidekick Watson (Voice of Chiwetel Ejiofor) team up with Juliet and Gnomeo to uncover and search for the clues that will save the gnomes.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Solving crimes; villains and heroes; friendships and partnerships; adventure; adult relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some animated violence in this movie including:

  • Sherlock Gnomes and Moriarty fight each other and use objects as weapons.
  • Sherlock Gnomes practises his combat moves on Watson, repeatedly kicking and hitting him. Watson is wearing a protective suit.
  • Watson tells Sherlock Gnomes that he is not his punch-bag. Sherlock Gnomes replies, “Yes you are!” and punches him.
  • Moriarty creates a very violent plan to have the gnomes crushed alive. He glues the gnomes down so they are unable to escape.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Juliet and Gnomeo are distressed when they come back to their garden and find that all their friends and their parents have been stolen away.
  • Juliet, Gnomeo, Sherlock and Watson are on a raft in a sewer. First there is a stampede of scary looking rats (as big as them), and then there is a huge flood that carries them violently along through the pipes. It is tense and there is a sense of peril.
  • In the back of a Chinese shop, the team is chased by an army of black ‘waving’ cats.
  • Two dragon gargoyles come to life and fly around trying to attack and capture Gnomeo.
  • When Sherlock and Juliet visit the doll museum in London, there are lots of scary looking antique toys and teddy bears that are alive.
  • The villain, Moriarty, looks like a toy baby but he is threatening and evil. Some children may find this confusing.
  • The gnomes are glued down and must wait for a giant mechanism to crush them alive.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Watson falls from the top of a building and a ‘smashing’ sound is heard. Juliet is devastated that Watson may have died.
  • Juliet and Gnomeo have a quarrel and Gnomeo leaves in anger. Juliet feels deeply sad that she has let down her true love.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing of concern.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing of concern.

Product placement

  • Nothing noted

Sexual references

There are some very mild sexual and romantic references in this movie, including:

  • A doll called Irene does an impromptu dance wearing a tight, sexy outfit and stiletto heels. She accuses Sherlock of turning up with a “Cheap porcelain princess”, referring to Juliet.
  • When Irene implies that Juliet is together with Sherlock, Juliet tells her that she wouldn’t date Sherlock if he was the last gnome on earth.
  • A gnome kisses another ornament that he has a crush on. She says (swooning) “where did you learn to kiss like that?”. He replies, “On the internet”.
  • Juliet and Gnomeo kiss and hold hands and make romantic comments to each other.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild nudity in this movie, including:

  • A gnome that is forever sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles.
  • The toilet gnome stands up and everyone gasps in horror.
  • There is a ‘foreign’ gnome that dances around in a ‘mankini’.

Use of substances

  • None of concern.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Rear end.
  • In written subtitles: “This garden is *#%*$*”, implying a swear word.

In a nutshell

Sherlock Gnomes is a fast-paced, comic and fairly predictable adventure story aimed at primary-school aged children. The sub-plot concerning Gnomeo and Juliet's relationship and some adult-oriented humour may be hard for  young chiildren to understand, and there are some violent  scenes. The film is not recommended for under  fives and parental guidance is recommended for five to eight -year olds. Children will enjoy the delightfully animated gnomes and other garden ornaments and it may be a good way to introduce them to iconic literary characters such as Romeo and Juliet and Sherlock Holmes. 

The main messages from this movie are that you should never take people for granted, you should appreciate things that people do for you, and that being in a partnership makes you stronger than being alone.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of friendship and not taking your partner or friend for granted.
  • Treating people with respect.
  • Taking notice of how you make other people feel.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Why some people would want to hurt others.
  • Cultural stereotyping.

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