Friday, July 11, 2014

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011) Review:

There's no need to introduce William Shakespeare or give any kind of history on him. He's a famed writer that has had many of his stories adapted into plays, musicals, TV shows and movies. If you're a real avid fan of Shakespeare, it'll be easier to distinguish various works and see if they were actually used in a story line. The thing is, for anyone who has read Shakespeare's work, it's also quite difficult to feel like it'll be a new experience because the story has already been performed before. Unfortunately, this is one of the films major flaws. The only thing it would be new to are the people who have never even heard of Shakespeare. That's a smaller demographic than the entirety of it.

Pink Flamingo!
Thankfully, the film addresses this problem in a few ways that does make it enjoyable. First, the fourth wall is broken at the very beginning where a prologue is read to introduce the story. But instead, director Kelly Asbury, a writer who helped in the story of Beauty and the Beast (1991), keeps the story moving. Because the title pretty much speaks for itself, the story takes place in a garden where two conflicting families are of different colored Gnomes. Again, even with all the writers attached to this project, none could really lift the story from being exactly what could be predicted. It's a mix of an adult story with a childlike setting aimed for the younger demographic. It's obvious to the outcome. However, although this is a problem, the writers do cleverly incorporate other themes into the plot as well to help not make the execution feel so direct.

An example of this is simulating various elements of our everyday lives into what a Gnome would do. It's not always funny but it is more than it is not. It's also cool that the Gnomes were kept delicate even though they could move. It made them sound more earth like. I although am curious how you could have a fluid moving ceramic simultaneously. The looks of the Gnomes also have a nice image. Most garden gnomes are old and scruffy, but here, even though they have beards, they still look huggable. And of course because they are the main leads, Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) are a cute couple on screen. The voice cast is another well-established element.

Ah yes,..those Elton John moments
Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne and even Hulk Hogan have a specific part. My favorite was Featherstone, the pink flamingo voice by Jim Cummings. For the Jim Cummings fans, it'll be easy to spot him because he voices Featherstone like that of Bonkers (1993). Very similar. The music had a nice touch. There are several references to Elton John's music, which is cool. One gnome even looks like Elton John. As for the film score, James Newton Howard's music is respective to the scenes that are put on screen but none provide a tune that is memorable by. It is good, but not wowing. A fun family picture with predictability.

Because it is based on a Shakespeare work, it becomes predictable almost  immediately. However this doesn't stop it from entertaining its audience. The voice cast is fun along with its unique setting and likable characters.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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