Give the creators of Gnomeo and Juliet this much credit, they don’t try to hide the fact that they aren’t the first to adapt Shakespeare’s tale for their own gain. The animated film opens with a garden gnome addressing the audience (really the adults) and acknowledging that this will be the thousandth adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that we will see in our lives, but to sit back and enjoy. The only question left to answer is will you enjoy it?
The film opens with two neighbors, the Capulets and the Montagues, starting their day by yelling unpleasantries at each other and then leaving. As in Toy Story and many other animated films, when the humans leave, that is when the inanimate objects spring to life, and in this case it is the outdoor ornaments in the two feuding yards. The blue figurines are for all purposes led by Gnomeo, voiced by James McAvoy (Wanted). During a midnight raid on the enemy red gnomes, he bumps into Juliet, voiced by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada). Of course they fall madly in love at first sight.
The only positive that the film has going for it is the strong voice talent. Among the actors portraying gnomes are Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, and Jason Statham. Much was made of the fact that Elton John was providing the soundtrack for the film, but The Lion King this is not. Featuring a selection of songs made up from one of his Greatest Hits collections, it seems no one was interested in putting any more effort into this than absolutely necessary.
You have to figure that if Disney thought there was any chance that this film would be a success they would have the Disney logo plastered all over merchandising, advertising, and promotional items as far as the eye can see. As it is, they are more than happy to allow their Touchstone imprint to take the bullet for this one. The animation on this looks sub-Dreamworks, and once again, the 3D is only there to inflate the ticket prices.
Guys, let’s face it, if you are buying tickets to this it’s not because you want to go and chances are there is absolutely no chance that you can talk your way out of going. The only good news I have for you is that the 3D glasses work as perfect camouflage for sleeping.