Monday, 23 May 2011

Gnomeo & Juliet (DVD Review)

DVD Review of Gnomeo & Juliet, a very liberal and charming adaptation of Romeo & Juliet into an animated film with characters translated into garden gnomes. Features voice talents of James McAvoy & Emily Blunt.
Image: Courtesy of eOne Films

Dir: Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron)
Voices: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Julie Walters, Richard Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne
UK/USA, 2011

Reason to see: Love the cast & the trailer made me smile

Gnomeo and Juliet is a delightful animated romance that takes Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and re-invents it with garden gnomes. Yes, garden gnomes. When I heard the premise I was a little skeptical, but the trailer was cute which got me curious enough to give the film itself a try and I'm glad I did as it completely won me over.

The Capulet and Montague houses are transposed to the greenery of garden gnomes from rival lawns and are easily distinguishable by being either "a red" (Capulet house, Redbrick gnomes) or "a blue" (Montague house, Bluebury gnomes). Add a sporting event to the mix and I settled comfortable into the understanding of seeing a British football analogy and sensibility which was delightful & unexpected. But it's more than just fun and games, as the heart of the story is the sweet lawn-cross'd romance between our little scrapper Gnomeo and the adventurous Juliet.

There are so many things I enjoyed about Gnomeo and Juliet. I loved that they were aware of and acknowledged that it's a story that's been told time and again, but then ran with it in a new, fresh direction. I love how adventurous Juliet is, how she doesn't take no for an answer and actually has her own ambitious, thoughts and ideas even though there is the overbearing father figure, who being voice by Michael Caine is hard not to love in spite of his overly protective nature. I also loved the sweet romance between Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), who even though we know their story still keep the romance fresh and exciting to watch unfold. I was also completely taken aback by how clever it was to use gnomes as a analogy to the challenges of being inflexible. This is brilliant as garden gnomes, like any figurines, have a distinct fragility to them. I really loved this in concept and how they used it in the film.

The film has a lovely supporting cast that fill it with enthusiasm including Featherstone the flamingo (Jim Cummings), a cute-but-mute Shrums and villainous Tybalt (Jason Statham) as our resident love-to-hate character. The film also has several musical numbers with music from Elton John that adds to the liveliness.

Overall I found Gnomeo and Juliet a lot of fun and a film that really stuck with me over time and I've thought about a suprizing amount since I've seen it. It's a great choice for a Valentine's Day weekend release with it's sweet romance, lively spirit and all-around good nature.

DVD Extras:
  • Alternative Endings with Filmmaker Introductions (2 alternative endings, 4 minutes with introductions) introduction discussing rationale behind the different possible endings and also touches on the animation and storyboarding process, plus showing the alternative endings in story reels* with music, sound and voice overs.
  • Deleted & Alternative Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions (6 scenes, 35 with introductions) introduction by directer Kelly Asbury discussing story reels*and the different things they tried in the film. The extra scenes include an alternate beginning, alternate character introductions and interpretations, plus rational behind some of the choices in deleted scenes or using alternative versions, plus touching on is how the story connections to the original Romeo & Juliet. There is one in particular scene that was deleted for being 'too dark', which is true but as an adult I found it freaking hilarious! All scenes shows in story reels* with music, sound and some voice overs.
*All of the extra footage animation sequences are story reels, described as a slide show in drawings, and are not finished animated sequences in full colour.

Gnomeo & Juliet is available on DVD, BluRay and in a variety of 3D versions via DVD/BluRay combopacks as of May 24, 2011. Check it out over at DVD, (Blu-Ray), (3D Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) & DVD, (Blu-ray/DVD) & (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)

Shannon's Overall View:
I really enjoyed it
I look forward to seeing it again
I'd widely recommend it

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - February 11, 2011

Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) and Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) in Gnomeo & Juliet 3D Courtesy of eOne Films

Featherstone (voiced by Jim Cummings) in Gnomeo & Juliet 3D Courtesy of eOne Films

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