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Movie Review: ‘Gnomeo’ reanimates a classic

Michael Phillips
Copy Editor

With movie theaters lacking a slew of romantic comedies this Valentine’s Day season, Touchstone’s “Gnomeo and Juliet” is the best bet.

The film is a modern take on the Shakespeare classic.

The film opens with a garden gnome saying that this is the story of Romeo and Juliet, the tragedy that has been told countless times, though the gnome promises that this version is different.

The film takes place in the backyards of two houses, one owned by a man with the last name Capulet and a woman whose last name is Montague. In the gardens there is an assortment of gnomes, the red Capulets and the blue Montagues.

When the bickering owners of the homes leave for work, the garden gnomes and the other garden decorations come to life. Garden gnomes, flamingos, plastic rabbits, sprinklers and much more make up the cast in this modern day version of Shakespeare’s play.

The film can be seen with or without 3D. Watching the film in 3D, it appeared to be more in depth, and real, though I’m not sure if it is worth the extra money compared to other films made in 3D.

There were few instances in which things flew towards the screen. For the most part the 3D was used to enhance the film.

The 3D pulled the viewers further into the movie instead of being used as an in your face type of 3D.

The film quickly sets the scene for the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, depicting the different worlds of the red and blue garden gnomes.

Juliet, who is voiced by actress Emily Blunt, is a Capulet princess, who attempts to rebel against the notion that she is too fragile for everything. Romeo, the Montague prince voiced by James McAvoy, is a rebel who is determined to outshine his Capulet neighbors.

Similar to Shakespeare’s original, the two fall in love, but under different circumstances.

The film takes Shakespeare’s play and transforms it into a humorous and more romantic story. Although the film is animated its witty jokes and the nature of its story makes it an enjoyable experience for adults and children.

There is one part where Gnomeo actually speaks to a statue of Shake­speare about his love for Juliet. In that scene Shakespeare reflects on his story – and it seems much more serious than the gnomes’, because the lovers die in the end.

The scenery and animation were extremely well done bringing the settings of the gardens to life.

By re-imagining the setting and characters, the film was able to hold the audience’s attention and at certain points even surprise them, even though it was telling a story many already were familiar with.

I wouldn’t call this an exact remake of Shakespeare’s play, because the film only pulls the major events and themes from the play and uses its own setting and characters to build up the rest.

“Gnomeo and Juliet” presents a classic story in a short but sweet fashion, even though it may not depict the work of Shakespeare in its totality.

Michael Phillips can be reached at michael.phillips2@laverne.edu.

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