Gnomeo & Juliet
Directed by: Kelly Asbury Cast: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine and Maggie Smith Running Time: 1 hr 25 mins Rating: G Due Out: May 24, 2011
PLOT: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet retold with animated garden gnomes. But in case you don't know the classics, two garden gnomes from different yards fall in love despite the fact their families hate one another.
WHO'S IT FOR? Kids, especially those who may be too young to know the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Gnomeo and Juliet tells a story about English lawn gnomes in Stratford Upon Avon who fall in love despite coming from warring yards. The story mirrors the bard's tale pretty closely, even a few of the darker moments. Gnome Tybalt gets smashed to bits, though it's forgotten pretty soon afterwards. Luckily, the double suicide ending is changed, that would be a little too big of a downer. Especially for toddlers.
Rocket Pictures, Elton John's production company, made it's first foray into animation with this film. It's produced by his husband, David Furnish. This explains all the John songs in the film, many of which are slightly altered versions of older songs like "Crocodile Rock" which now includes the line "I remember when rock was young/Gnomeo and Juliet had so much fun." There are a couple of new songs as well, but I found them a bit drab. Plus they aren't actually sung by the characters, they play over montages. There are several montages.
Gnomeo and Juliet has some really impressive actors. Caine and Smith are good, but don't have a lot to do. McAvoy and Blunt do a pretty good job as the young lovers, even with a so-so script. That's the problem with the movie, it's not bad or objectionable but there's nothing really good about it. The animation is acceptable but not up to Pixar or Rango quality. The story feels like it was assembled by committee, though not in a good way. It probably was, nine writers are given screenwriting credits. Kids might like it, there are some cute moments. I particularly liked the little concrete bunnies with their scissor-like ears. If you're an adult, you might not mind the first time but if forced to see it over and over, it'll probably get old quick.
The extras are pretty blah. Even "Fawn of Darkness", the Ozzy Osborne bit, though it sounds good, is not worth seeing.
MOVIE SCORE: 5/10
"Elton Builds a Garden"
Frog Talk With Ashley Jensen
"Crocodile Rock" Music Video
2 Alternate Endings
Deleted and Alternate Scenes
"The Fawn of Darkness"