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Blu-Ray Review: ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ Falls Flat as Busted Yard Display

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CHICAGO – The animated adventure “Gnomeo & Juliet,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features an A-list voice cast and some beloved hits by Sir Elton John, but just getting talent in the recording booth either musically or merely vocally does not a movie make and the script for this thing is so uninspired and accompanied by lackluster visuals that it’s just dull to anyone over ten.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

The concept of “Gnomeo & Juliet” is simple enough. It reimagines “Romeo and Juliet” with lawn gnomes and, of course, a bit less bloodletting. The tale of forbidden love is accompanied by both new songs by John and some of his more peppy hits like “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and “Your Song.” New tracks on the soundtrack feature John dueting with Lady Gaga and Nelly Furtado. The star power is undeniable but the melding of Elton John’s music with family fare doesn’t quite take.

Gnomeo and Juliet was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Gnomeo & Juliet was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

The star power of the cast is even more notable. James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class”) and Emily Blunt (“The Devil Wears Prada”) play the title characters, two neighboring gnomes whose “people” don’t get along. Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Julie Walters, and even Ozzy Osbourne pop up in the who’s who of a voice cast.

Gnomeo and Juliet was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Gnomeo & Juliet was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

Sadly, the visuals and the script for “Gnomeo & Juliet” let the cast and musicians down. The character design simply isn’t interesting and the movie feels more visually manic than it ever needed to be. I know we’ve been spoiled by Pixar, but haven’t other studios learned that it’s OK to catch your breath every once in awhile? Not every animated film needs to be non-stop activity. It’s family entertainment for the ADD generation.

And there’s a difference between family writing that’s smart and that which is merely referential. “Gnomeo & Juliet” is the latter, complete with a statue of Shakespeare come to life, but it’s just not clever, funny, or sweet.

Pixar found a way to turn average toys into three-dimensional characters. “Gnomeo & Juliet” forgets about character entirely in favor of loud pop music, manic action, and wacky behavior. These gnomes never come to life.

From the director of Shrek 2 comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes Gnomeo & Juliet. Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world’s most timeless stories features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingos and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Complete with hilarious never-before-seen bonus features, Gnomeo & Juliet is an out-of-the-ordinary animated comedy your entire family will love. We just gnome it!

Special Features:
o Elton Builds A Garden - This Insightful Featurette Focuses On The Impact Elton John and his Multi-Platinum Music Had On The Film
o Frog Talk With Ashley Jensen - See Ashley In Action As She Gives Voice To Nanette: Crazy Faces, A Bonus Japanese Lesson And More
o Crocodile Rock Music Video - Featuring Nelly Furtado and Elton John
o 2 Alternate Endings
o Deleted & Alternate Scenes
o The Fawn Of Darkness

“Gnomeo & Juliet” features voice work by James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Ozzy Osbourne, Hulk Hogan, and Julie Walters. It was directed by Kelly Asbury and released on Blu-ray and DVD by Disney on May 24th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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