This can’t actually be what I think it is. There’s just no way.
“Gnomeo and Juliet” is out this week on DVD & Blu-ray. The film was released to theaters back in February, and though it opened in 3rd place, it held it’s ground in the Top 10 for five consecutive weeks.
I was wrong. This film is exactly what it’s title suggests: Romeo & Juliet, dumbed down for children and told through the use of animated garden gnomes. On paper, that sounds like a terrible idea. Translated to the big screen, I can confirm that this is indeed a terrible idea.
Mr. Montague and Ms. Capulet are neighbors. They have almost nothing to do with this story of forbidden love, other than to provide the names of the source material. In their backyards, each houses an extensive garden littered with gnome statues. The Montague residence prefers blue gnomes, and the Capulet’s prefer red (color-coded for ease of recognition). When no one is around, these statues come to life and feud with each other.
Gnomeo wears a blue hat, and he falls for Juliet (a red). They must keep their love secret. WAIT A MINUTE! Why the fuck am I trying to explain “Romeo & Juliet” to everyone? You know the fucking plot. Don’t ask me again.
Luckily for the children at home, the MPAA’s “G” rating prevents any garden gnomes from committing suicide due to their undying love. Instead, the only ones hoping for a quick death are the adults viewing at home, barely able to stand the pain of watching this film.
In an admittedly clever twist, a statue of William Shakespeare himself is worked into the script, and through this plot device they are able to explain away the lack of death. It’s one of the few mildly interesting scenes in an otherwise dull film.
The soundtrack consists primarily of Elton John classics, and THAT was a good move. I would not in any way consider myself a fan of his work, but the guy writes great songs and their presence here brings an upbeat tempo that’s sorely missing elsewhere in the script.
I know this film is for kids. That’s no excuse. I want to be entertained, and Pixar is able to pull that off consistently. As an 86-minute expansion of a bad play on words, “Gnomeo and Juliet” fails miserably.