Starring: Voices of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Jason Statham, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Matt Lucas and Julie Walters.
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Runtime: 84 mins. Reviewed in Nov 2011
Gnomeo & Juliet is a very contemporary reworking of Shakespeare’s tale of young lovers from the wrong tribes. The major difference this time around is that all the characters are garden gnomes. Gnomeo (James McAvoy) is a blue gnome, while Juliet (Emily Blunt) is a red gnome. There is no place for colour confusion in gnome-land, externals matter. Our loving couple have to overcome more than their glaze to have a happy ending.
As you might appreciate this film has had a long and complex development. It was only after the project got director Kelly Ashbury and Elton John on board that it got made. Kelly brings years of animation experience from some of the biggest recent hits in the genre: the Shrek Films, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Beauty and the Beast. Elton John came on not only as the composer but as executive producer as well.
Fans of Shakespeare will be outraged with all the liberties taken with the Bard’s story and characters. Those of us who may not be Shakespearian purists will buckle in and enjoy the ride. Just as JK Rowling got a generation of young people to fall in love with reading a book again, maybe this film will awaken the interest of kids in the some of the greatest English literature of all time. It is worth the try.
Morally the film has its hearts in the right place: how we look or where we are from or what we believe is not as important as who we are. And sometimes it takes two people who fall in love from, seemingly, two tribes to remind us that we are all, under God, one family after all.
Gnomeo & Juliet may be made for the youngest of children, and you can take them with confidence, but there is plenty of joy in this film for parents as well.
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