Elton John stood in front of the audience at the Sherlock Gnomes premiere and said he hadn’t been up this early on a Sunday morning since the 80’s, and that was only probably because he hadn’t been to sleep the night before. I had my four year old niece staying with me at the weekend, and she’s up at the crack of dawn, demanding Weetabix and cartoons, so 9.30am seemed quite ‘mid-morning’ to me by Sunday.
My niece has been obsessed with Gnomeo and Juliet, an animated take on Shakespeare’s story for children, using the music of Elton John. Random, yes, but it’s good fun. I knew she’d be psyched about seeing some of her fave characters reunite, this time in a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery, and Elton and his husband, David Furnish produced this. I went not knowing much about the film, and was blown away at the end credits to learn Johnny Depp is the voice of Sherlock Gnomes, he’s so good. The whole film is good family fun, you don’t need to have seen the first one, and it’s one of those kids’ films that strikes a good balance by providing adult-friendly humour too.
We went with grandma (a.k.a my mum) to Leicester Square and had such a fantastic time. Not only was the Cineworld foyer all green and filled with giant mushrooms and colourful picnic tables, they really laid on some great pre-film activities. These included face painting (SO much glitter), a magician that blew my niece’s mind, green screen photos you could keep, animal balloons, and a full on breakfast buffet complete with Gnomeo and Juliet shaped cake pops.
By far the most random thing about this premiere, is that instead of the usual popcorn laid out on the seats with goody bags, every single person had a loaf of bread waiting for them (see top picture). It’s because Hovis are doing a tie-in with the film, but this didn’t make it any less hilarious. I was sitting next to Stephen Merchant and Ashley Jenson, two of the film’s voice stars, and took this sneaky photo (below) of them cracking up at the bread gifts. Sorry about the poor quality, it was totally dark at this point, and I was stealth snapping.
Elton John and David Furnish introduced the film to us, along with some of the cast, including James McAvoy who plays Gnomeo. Sadly no Emily Blunt who’s Juliet, or the aforementioned Depp. I’ve been to some premieres where the cast just say hi and then leave, but all of them came and sat down to watch the movie, even Elton.
Sherlock Gnomes was intense on the IMAX screen, immensely colourful and loud. It will be great on any screen, and I’m sure in a few months when it’s on DVD it will be being watched on loop by my niece. She was a bit confused by some bits in the film, and slightly worried about some of the more tense moments, but four is a good lower age for the film. Me and grandma/mum really enjoyed it, and we all liked our goody bags with cute Gnomeo and Juliet egg cups, keyrings, stickers, sweets, popcorn, and of course – our three loaves of bread.
Sherlock Gnomes is out in cinemas on May 11th