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Gnomeo & Juliet

A movie directed by Kelly Asbury

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Exceeded Expectations in Terms of Charm

  • Jul 21, 2012
Rating:
+4

There's a pretty strong chance that had Disney not come on board with distribution and promotion for Gnomeo and Juliet, the film wouldn't have made that big of a splash here in the United States. But back in early 2011, it was pretty difficult to avoid the slurry of commercials, trailers and posters (complete with catchy little taglines like "A Little Adventure Goes a Lawn Way"). And let's be honest: The computer generated feature film industry can be very, very lucrative- just ask Pixar. It makes sense that Elton John's production company Rocket Pictures would decide to roll the dice and try to grab a piece of the pie for their 8th and most recent project.

So the immediate question is does the world need a sort of pseudo retelling of the William Shakespeare romance as told from the perspective of garden gnomes of all things? Surprisingly, yes. At least much in the same way as back in 1995 we stopped what we were collectively doing to tag along with a little wooden cowboy, plastic spaceman and a slinky-dog. Sometimes decent storytelling comes from the most unlikely of places!

So is it to suggest Pixar and DreamWorks need to fear the rise of Rocket Pictures? Hardly but in all fairness Gnomeo and Juliet is a pretty enjoyable romp with just enough layers to its humor to keep the adults snickering while the little ones clamor to the bright visuals and slapstick. Then again considering the film was rumored to have required 9 credited writers an 11-year span to develop, it kind of goes without saying it should be at partially clever in its delivery. And clever it is: Imagine a world of garden gnomes as active and energetic as any human populace with the burden of freezing into their standard poses whenever anyone so much as glances in their direction.

Now add in a romantically obsessed frog/sprinkler, a Cuban accented pink flamingo, a slew of adorable little bunnies and a loyal if misguided reindeer and the formula for some miniaturized excitement begins to come together. Now cap things off with feuding neighbors Miss Montague and Mr. Capulet, some lawnmower racing and dozens of Shakespearian references sprinkled about (my own fave being the address of the duplex: 2B and Not 2B). Of course a soundtrack chalked full of Elton John classic tunes never hurts either!

Wisely the plot doesn't go the tired and clichéd route of simply retelling the Shakespeare play so much as it draws a series of parallels to the source material then calls itself out by having a statue of the legendary playwright make an appearance explaining that he too once told a similar tale with a slightly, um, more tragic ending.

Pacing is spot on across the 84-minute run time as would be expected from a veteran such as, say, the director of Shrek 2 and though there is some silliness scattered about, the film never loses touch with that elusive sharpness separating an enjoyable film for all ages that just so happens to be animated from a cartoon only kids can enjoy. A classic example of the subtle wit comes from Michael Caine as Juliet's overprotective father with the habit of using the wrong words when he speaks.

In all I was pleasantly surprised with Gnomeo and Juliet- if perhaps not for what it does right then for what it avoids doing. And that's relying too heavily on slapstick or over-the-top visuals to replace clever writing. Add countless pop-culture and even antiquated references for sharp-eyed viewers to search out and an infectious soundtrack and you have a pretty enjoyable way to spend an evening. Here's hoping Rocket Pictures will revisit the CG feature film genre again in the future. They may not yet be in a position to overthrow the industry heavyweights but that isn't to say they aren't keeping them honest.
Exceeded Expectations in Terms of Charm Exceeded Expectations in Terms of Charm Exceeded Expectations in Terms of Charm Exceeded Expectations in Terms of Charm

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July 21, 2012
Don't laugh, up to now, I still have not seen this movie. Guess I still have a lot more to catch up on. How's it going, Jay?
July 22, 2012
Will, I am in no position to judge. It took me forever to watch it and even longer to review it. I've been so buried in the backlog I fear I may never dig my way out! This one was pretty cute though, good variety of references. Just wait till you see the next one I have coming. down the pipeline. This one will look like a work of art in comparison! How've you been bro?
July 22, 2012
everything is good. Have been very busy. You and Sean liked this one so I may bump it up in my queve just to have a laugh. I will await your next movie review!
July 22, 2012
Would love your take on it as well! While revisiting all of your reviews I missed in my absence, I am particularly interested to check out what you had to say about Avengers and Prometheus. I actually made it to the theater for both of those two, which as you know, happens very rarely!
 
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More Gnomeo & Juliet reviews
review by . March 16, 2011
one mild spoiler      I do understand the reason some critics may not have liked this, but I absolutely adored it. The first really good movie I saw in 2011 and one of the better animated films I have seen in a while, especially in the fact that it isn't from any of the three major animation companies. Gnomeo and Juliet may be a little too self-referential at times, but most of the time it doesn't go too over-the-top and I actually found it quite funny. It also gave the …
review by . February 19, 2011
'Gnomeo & Juliet' 'Two Jews On Film' Find Their Inner Gnome
Can two young teenagers find love despite their warring families? Well, we all know how Romeo and Juliet ended up. However in the 3D version of 'Gnomeo & Juliet' directed by Kelly Asbury, things don't turn out quite as tragic for our lovers. 'Gnomeo & Juliet' takes place in contemporary Stratford-onAvon, Shakespeare's birthplace. Miss Montague (voice of Julie Walters) and Mr. Capulet (voice of Richard Wilson) are neighbours and they absolutely hate each other. Their …
review by . March 11, 2011
To 3D or not 3D, that is the question. Okay, not really but you get the joke. Much like that weak pun, Gnomeo & Juliet has its moments to shine, before falling to pieces. The cute kid friendly take on Romeo and Juliet does a decent job introducing the classic play to children, but falls flat with many of its jokes. Unlike Shrek, Gnomeo (which is a Disney film) appears to forget what it's trying to achieve mid-way through the film. One of the reasons why so many love the original Shrek is …
review by . February 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say that the ending of Gnomeo & Juliet is not the same as that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Come on now, do you honestly believe that children could tolerate the title characters killing themselves? Could they, for that matter, tolerate any aspect of the original play? For them – and, indeed, for many adults – Shakespeare is completely outside their range of comprehension; …
review by . June 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
you see this face...its a happy gnome face!
So i won the coin toss on base and got to pick the movie for friday night, so i made a room full of marines watch Gnomeo and Juliet. After all the grumbling and groaning we sat down and not 15 mins into it there wasnt a person in the room who hadnt laughed at least once. This is the animated reworking of Shakespeares tale of Romeo and Juliet. There is a garden battle raging between the reds and the blues, compleate with lawn mower racing and plots of attack on eachothers plants. Amidst all the crazyness …
review by . April 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
  Gnomeo and Juliet, as expected, is basically just a remake of the old famous shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet". Though as seen by the title, this film stars Garden Gnomes, instead of people. Most everyone in the world probably knows this story, but I have to explain it anyway. The Capulets and Montagues are neighbors that hate each other, but live side by side. Their many garden gnomes in the backyard come alive when the humans are not around, and well they hate each other too. …
Quick Tip by . March 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Anyone who's ever seen a Pixar or Dreamworks animation film will know right of the bat that Gnomeo & Juliet is not the same caliber as either Toy Story or Shrek... not even close.   The film is essentially a very loosely re-imagined version of Shakespeare's classic tragic romance. However, this film falls a bit short on the Shakespeare (don't expect iambic pentameter), the classical nature of poetry and plays (there are a few cute references to other classic plays but that's …
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Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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Wiki


Gnomeo and Juliet is an American-British upcoming CGI animated film based on William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
 
The film is the original idea of Rob Sprackling and John Smith who sold the spec script to Disney through Rocket Pictures. Initially, the film was going to be produced by Disney Feature Animation, but was shut down by its new chief, John Lasseter, after the Pixar acquisition. Miramax Films picked up the project and guided its production until the division closed down. The film will now be released under the Touchstone Pictures banner on February 11, 2011.
 
The film will be distributed internationally by E1 Entertainment, and the film will be released in 3D. The film's soundtrack will be provided by Elton John[1] and James Newton Howard. John also presented 10 minutes of the film at the Cannes Film Festival. The film's script was written by Rob Sprackling and John R. Smith, with revisions by Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and Mark Burton. The film will be directed by Kelly Asbury.
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Details

Director: Kelly Asbury
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 11 February 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Kelly Asbury, Mark Burton
Studio: Dreamworks Animation
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