Published on February 6th, 2011 | by Kitty Catastrophe1
Review: Gnomeo and Juliet
Before I knew anything about Gnomeo and Juliet I was already pretty much sold, based on the name alone. It covers everything really, the premise being the tale of Romeo and Juliet but told with garden gnomes. Which is flipping genius as far as I’m concerned. Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) is the handsome (well, for a gnome) son of Lady Blueberry (Maggie Smith), who is leader of the Blue Garden and sworn enemy of Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine), head of the adjacent Red Garden. In the midst of the squabbling Red and Blue Gardens’ turf war, a chance encounter brings Gnomeo and fiesty Red Gnome Juliet (Emily Blunt) – who happens to be Lord Redbrick’s daughter – together. As tensions mount between the feuding Reds and Blues, things get even more difficult for the star-crossed pair in their attempt to get their gnomance (Yes. I’m afraid I did just do that) off the ground.
The supporting lawn ornament cast features Gnomeo’s clumsy and ridiculously endearing best friend Benny (Matt Lucas), Juliet’s bonkers friend, a water fountain frog named Nanette (Ashley Jensen), a concrete fawn randomly voiced by Ozzy Osbourne and Gnomeo’s arch rival Tybalt, a sort of Red Gnome version of an Eastenders Mitchell brother, voiced by dreamboat whoopass merchant Jason Statham.
The characters are kitschy and cute, the Shakespeare references are more than plentiful and the story zips along nicely, accompanied by an Elton John soundtrack. It has a slight feel of Toy Story to it, given the scale of the gnomes and the full sized human environment they inhabit as they go about their various adventures. Details like the clinking sound the gnomes make when they hug or join hands totally won me over, as did the little super-spy bunnies that work for Lady Blueberry. There’s been a slew of computer animated features in the last few years, but I think Gnomeo and Juliet stands up as one of the better ones. Watch out for a cutesy cameo by Dolly Parton and a Shakespeare statue who’s a bit of a jerk. The 3D aspect didn’t really seem necessary, but it’s great fun to watch nonetheless.
Out on the 11th of February.