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Gnomeo & Juliet

Movie Rating: This entry has a rating of 3

Gnomeo & Juliet, 2011, UK/USA

I must admit that adapting William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet using garden gnomes is an original idea. Generally the film works – and it’s pretty cute!

The Montague household and the Capulet household live next door to each other, and the residents of each house have been embroiled in a long feud. This feud has spilled over to the garden gnomes owned by each household – the Reds, owned by Capulet, and the Blues, owned by Montague. The two gnome families regularly compete in lawn mower races and take turns destroying each other’s property. But when Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) meet and fall in love, will the two sides be able to mend their differences?

Gnomeo & Juliet has a very impressive ensemble cast featuring Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jim Cummings and Jason Statham, among many others! All of the characters are based heavily on characters from the play, and since I have read the play (and watched MANY adaptations of it) I could pick out who each movie character was based off of.

Elton John produced the film, and many of his songs appear within the film in one way or another. I’m a huge fan of his music, so this was totally awesome, and his music works well within the film. There was a fun adaptation of “Crocodile Rock” in the film! There’s one “Easter egg” use of one of John’s tunes – but I won’t reveal it because you have to catch it for yourself!

The film itself featured many references to Shakespeare plays, and a few references to other films. The references I caught were sly and very clever – and I’m sure I missed a few of them! I thought those were neat touches. I enjoyed the animation – the texture of the gnomes was really well done, and there were some very well-thought out sequences.

I did find that it was a bit uneven. There were several scenes that went on far too long, and a few that were unnecessary, period. At only 84 minutes, this hurts the film. The filmmakers didn’t really push the envelope – so the story and characters were fairly standard. I did laugh quite a few times, though!

Ultimately, I’m not sure this film will end up being all that memorable. I did enjoy it quite a bit, but despite the amazing cast, it really doesn’t hold up next to many of the other brilliant animated films released over the last few years. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing though – and it’s available to rent off Netflix!

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