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Movie Review: Gnomeo and Juliet

26 February 2011 No Comment

Photo Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

A retelling of the classic Shakespearean story of Romeo and Juliet, Gnomeo and Juliet takes the tail of the feuding Capulets and Montagues into the back yard and recasts the principal characters as an assortment of ceramic garden gnomes. Much like Toy Story, the gnomes appear to be simple inanimate objects when viewed by humans, but when the humans are gone, they come to life and attend to their respective gardens.

The movie itself makes no attempt whatsoever to hide its connection to the classic story. In fact, it literally comes out and tells you, “This is based on Romeo and Juliet” by way of an introduction performed by a generic gnome coming on stage and reading the opening lines of the original play before being removed through a hidden trap door.

The movie itself is a fun parody of the classic story while not being too over the top. Opening with a racing scene, not far removed from the racing showdown in Grease, the movie quickly sets up the rivalry between the characters of Tybalt and Gnomeo as the pair race lawn mowers in the alley between their respective gardens.

Juliet is shown to be an adventurous soul who is the daughter of the overly protective Lord Redbrick. When she ventures out of the Red Garden to collect a rare flower, she encounters Gnomeo, who was himself on a covert mission to torment the red gnomes. Coming face to face over a dilapidated green house, the pair quickly engages in a playful exchange of witty barbs as they  exchange control of the flower.

The movie follows the general concepts of the original play right up to the point where Gnomeo attacks Tybalt in retaliation for Tybalt’s de-hatting of a fellow blue and ends with Tybalt being smashed against a wall and Gnomeo being chased into the street and appearing to be smashed by a passing truck. Once more, the movie reminds you that it is based on Romeo and Juliet. During Gnomeo’s exile, he speaks with a statue of William Shakespeare (voiced by Patrick Stewart) about his problems. The statue very quickly establishes a comparison between Gnomeo’s plight and his own famous tragedy.

All in all, the movie is a lot of fun to watch with enough humor to go around the ages. The story is somewhat predictable and that’s the biggest failing I can point to. Over all, I would give the movie 3.5 stars out of 5. Certainly worth checking out, but try to catch it on a matinee or wait for it to come out on DVD or Blu-ray.

By: Michael Cividanes

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