Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Gnomeo is the property of Ms. Montague, a gnome affictionado who is engaged in a bitter rivalry with Mr.Capulet, her neighbour and fellow gnome enthusiast. Divided by colour, Gnomeo (a blue) finds himself inconveniently in love with a red, Juliet. As their respective clans’ garden warfare escalates, their relationship is put to the test and their lives placed firmly in danger. Backed by Elton John’s voice box and with the assistance of a statue of Shakespeare, Gnomeo and Juliet must put an end to the feud if they are ever to live happily ever after and avoid their namesakes’ tragic fates.

It really is frustrating how charming Gnomeo and Juliet is, because that’s really all it has going for it. Basically a one-note gimmick stretched to feature length, Gnomeo and Juliet boasts a few fun visual touches, the odd laugh and some respectable animation. If everybody wasn’t so likeable it would have faded from memory quicker than you could say Despicable Me. As it happens, however, Gnomeo and Juliet is perfectly functional – nothing more, nothing less.

Voiced almost entirely by Brits, the film has a strangely home-grown feel that verges on endearing. Emily Blunt displays some effective comic timing, continuing her tendency of lending charm to movies otherwise devoid, as previously evidenced in Gulliver’s Travels, while James McAvoy does little to make anything approaching a impression. Jason Statham is similarly entertaining, though the fun is generally in identifying the voices rather than in what they have to say. It is Ashley Jensen’s Scottish frog and Richard Wilson’s characteristic curmudgeon that delight the most, without them Gnomeo and Juliet might have been as lifeless as the studio’s previous feature: 9. You know, 9? Like a joyless Little Big Planet?

Not a member of the film’s target audience, however, maybe it’s only natural that I find my own distractions in the lack of Pixar-esque characterisation or DreamWorks’ trademark humour. What exactly is a gnome supposed to do with a flower? How, precisely, do you ride a lawnmower? Isn’t this just Toy Story but with garden ornaments? Can a plastic flamingo’s one true love really be replaced with such ease? Why am I not laughing?

Ultimately, Gnomeo and Juliet is a relatively serviceable children’s’ animation that doesn’t pander to an adult audience, and why should it? Making light of its lack of originality from the outset, there are enough gags to keep this mowing along at a reasonable pace. As Shakespeare meets Toy Story, however, it’s hugely disappointing.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

  1. Pingback: February 2011 – Do you know the “f” word? « popcornaddict

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