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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet

My second Channel24 review for the week. This is about as weak as Hall Pass but it has even less reason to exist. Still, very young kids will probably enjoy it. Oh and I saw it in 3D apparently - a fact that I totally forgot when writing this review. It's not really worth the price of a normal  movie ticket, it's certainly not worth wasting your money on it in 3D.

From (Originally posted 25 March 2011)

What it's about:

A kid-friendly retelling of what is arguably Shakespeare's best-loved work, Romeo and Juliet. This time with garden gnomes.

What we thought:


Whatever Gnomeo and Juliet got right and whatever it got wrong, there is just no getting past this initial question. I understand the appeal of introducing a younger generation of viewers to one of the greatest stories ever told – even if it is in a very watered-down, untragic form. What I don't get is why they decided to do this with garden gnomes of all things and why, oh why, did they set it to the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin?

I have nothing against garden gnomes and I am quite the fan of Sir Elton's early oeuvre (just don't get me started on most of his later stuff) but what the hell does any of this have to do with Romeo and Juliet? I would love to have been in the meeting where the decision was made to use garden statuettes as a way of updating ol' Billy Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers for younger viewers. Failing that, I would love to try out the substance that they were clearly imbibing when they came to this momentous epiphany.

Either way, garden gnomes or no garden gnomes, basing Romeo and Juliet's soundtrack on Elton John songs is no less befuddling. However much I get that Sir Elton and his good Mr are executive producers of the film and however much I love Your Song, Crocodile Rock andSaturday Night's Alright for Fighting, it's still a mighty strange and quite distracting creative decision. And even if I find the new Elton John/Bernie Taupin/Stefani "Lady Gaga" Germanotta song, Hello Hello, to be a likable would-be pop hit, that doesn't make it any more logical a fit for the story of Romeo and Juliet.        

The film itself is a mixture of good and bad. On the plus side it's cute and jolly and I'm sure most little kids will enjoy the bright animation – or at least they would if they weren't dulled down by the 3D. It is also based on the story of Romero and Juliet so it's not like it doesn't have a good plot. Also, if you're into that sort of thing, Gnomeo and Juliet is the sort of animated film where every one of the voice actors involved deserve to have an exclamation mark after their names. You know: Michael Caine! Emily Blunt! James McAvoy! Ozzy Osbourne! Julie Andrews! Patrick Stewart! Hulk Hogan! Jason Statham! Stephen Merchant!

Yes. That Hulk Hogan.

On the negative side, it's not very funny and it's really rather limp and quite vacuous. There's no getting past it though, good or bad, it's simply mind-boggling that it eeven exists. It's not going to do any long-term damage to Romeo and Juliet because, if ever there was a truly indestructible piece of literature, Romeo and Juliet has to be it. You could have Paris Hilton and Martin Lawrence playing the title characters and it would still come out unscathed, so how much damage can garden gnomes really do to it?

But still....


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