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Gnomeo & Juliet Review

About as turbid an affair
experienced by doomed lovers Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s legendary
tragedy, so was my anticipation for this animated kidpic update, Gnomeo & Juliet. While working for the
Ontario Provincial Government in the Economic Development department, I briefly
worked on a side-project involving a government loan to Toronto-based Starz
Animation who previously created the Tim Burton-produced 9. Having already secured the talents of Elton John to compose
original music, I was quite interested at this home-grown offering (in spite of
the fact the title was a less-than-clever capitalization on the fact that gnome
rhymes with
rome;
as in eo) that is until I saw the first trailer.

Expectations can dwindle
quickly when a film’s marketing campaign is done poorly (though I realize the
ads were aimed at a far younger demographic then myself). After “Gnomeo” got
decent reviews (though still low for animated fare) and posted surprisingly
strong numbers at the box office, my interest was rekindled to an extent. Now
after a long and winding journey I am somewhat happy to report that this
Disney-distributed offering is far from a disaster and actually delightful at
times, though far from the upper echelon reached by recent animated films.

gnomeo picAs you likely surmised from the trailers, Gnomeo & Juliet apes the feud that was
established between two storied houses: the Montagues and the Capulets,
though here the houses are actually, well houses; side-by-side, one red and one
blue and as we all know, nobody likes purple. On the blue side of the fence
(again literally) is Gnomeo (James McAvoy), the son of their leader, Lady
Blueberry (Maggie Smith) and on the other is Juliet (Emily Blunt), daughter of
the stern Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine). Though a violent rift exists,
circumstance forces these star-crossed lawn ornaments together and the love
story begins.

What demerits are to be
found in the opening act’s ridiculous and perfunctory action sequences
(involving gnomes riding lawnmowers) is more than made up for by the utterly
fantastic voice cast. Looking at the talent alone I would not fault you for
thinking this was an Oscar-bait drama; seemingly all of the greatest living
British thespians have been assembled for this unassuming production. Even more
of a relief is that none of the principle contributors sleepwalk through their
parts; each and every one contributes flair and wit to their roles and the film
is simply better because of it. Though the voices lent are superior, ironically
the most hilarious is a mute gnome in a revealing
Borat­-esque banana hammock who hops through frames at truly random
times.gnomeo2

Omitting a genius and
subtle
Saving Private Ryan nod,
within the obvious pop-culture references (both past and present) there are at
least two penis jokes and one less subtle (but laugh-out-loud hilarious) ball
gag … maybe I should reword that … in that same oddly mature vein, “Gnomeo” raises
bizarre and somewhat kinky questions about how ceramic gnomes have children
especially since it seems the owners buy their ornaments. I suppose a film
about talking gnomes does not warrant deep analysis.

To pose a quick final
thought (along with a must-see aspect of this movie),
Gnomeo and Juliet is a harmless, gorgeously rendered production,
especially when the glazed protagonists are juxtaposed against softer
landscapes. The middle and early final act are witty (with a tragic montage
that does
Up honest justice), and the
cast sells the middle-of-the-road material to the extreme. To address the latter
of my concluding statement the single best part of the movie is in regards to a
scene when the owner of the blue house seeks to purchase a new super, ultra,
heavy-duty, overkill lawnmower called The Terafirminator (“Your lawn will be
afraid to grow!”) which boasted a commercial with the following disclaimers:

  • Terafirminator will not
    inhibit grass from growing
  • Not recommended for
    residential use
  • Not recommended for
    commercial use either
  • Do not use this vehicle
    while sleeping
  • Do not stick your
    fingers in the blade – duh
  • Not recommended for
    children under 3
  •  Or 4
  • For external use only
  • After use, lawn may
    appear completely destroyed
  • Do not be alarmed – this
    is perfectly normal


Side effects from The
Terafirminator include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Heightened sense of
    testosterone
  • Nausea
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ssslured speech
  • Voices telling you to
    burn things
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Persistent feelings of
    awesomeness
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Megalomania
  • In rare instances some
    people may explode while viewing Terafirminator

Makers of Terafirminator
will not be held responsible for damages, injury, infidelity caused by the use
of this product.

 Rating: 6.5/10

Gnomeo and Juliet
Directed by Kelly Ashbury
Written by A shit tone of people
Starring: James
McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham, Michael Caine

Rating
6.5

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