If you read my previous blog, then you know I have really been looking forward to taking my youth group to see the new movie, “Gnomeo and Juliet.” Well, we did get to see it together and, although it did not live up to my overly zealous expectations, it is a cute movie with great music and it did make me laugh quite a few times.
The beginning of the movie must be influence by the beginning of “Monster Laugh Floor” at the Magic Kingdom. The story is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The movie is set in England with duplex neighbors (Mr. Capulet and Miss Montague) who do not like each other but seem to both love lawn ornaments and making their yards look beautiful. Of course, they haven’t done it alone as the Capulet (red) gnomes and the Montague (blue) gnomes take ownership of the lovely lawns as well and will stop at nothing to keep from being outdone by one another. Just as in Toy Story, whenever the feuding homeowners leave, the gnomes come to life.
It is clear that these two gnome families despise each other and will stop at nothing to destroy one another. They resort to destroying each other’s yards by holding dangerous lawnmower races and loading large squirt guns with weed killer. At the beginning of one of their big lawnmower races, there is an appearance by an uncharacteristically curvy but precious gnome (voice played by Dolly Parton). I loved her!
Just as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there is a daughter (Capulet – red) with an overbearing, over-protective father who thinks she is too delicate to do anything but stand on her pedestal. She has dreams of being the one who wins her family sure victory by capturing a special flower, the cupid’s orchid, which the “blues” will never be able to outdo. There is also a dynamic, fun-loving son named Gnomeo (Montague – blue) whose mother is pushing him to lead the fight against the reds, just as his father did before his passing.
When Juliet sneaks off to capture the orchid, she is spotted by Gnomeo who sets off to capture it as well – not because he wants it, but because she does. She is in disguise at the time as is he. As soon as they look at each other, they are smitten. They play around and tease each other, but eventually they discover that they are, in fact, a blue and a red. Oh no! But, amidst all of the family feuding, Gnomeo and Juliet meet in secret to spend time together and through their adventures, Juliet discovers that Gnomeo is just what she’s looking for, someone who supports her and encourages her need for independence.
During their secret adventures, they also unknowingly repair a broken flamingo who is now in good repair but who is still nursing a broken heart. There is a sad, heartwarming part in the movie about the flamingo which shows what happens when a family splits and everything, even the lawn ornaments, are divided in half.
There are several “borrowed” lines from other movies such as Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo, and Braveheart, just to name a few. And as if all the major British actors weren’t enough for the voices, even Ozzy Osbourne has lended his voice to the movie as a fawn, which for some reason is hilarious to me.
It is a cute film with classic Elton John songs thrown in throughout to narrate the love story of Gnomeo and Juliet. It is a rather short movie and, although it did drag in a couple places, the funny parts are very funny. There is a gnome in a man’s bikini thong (from Borat). You see only a tiny bit of naughtiness for a few seconds – burnt buns to be exact. The gnomes were thoughtfully designed with bumps and bruises, and their movements change appropriately to their injuries. The scene with Gnomeo sitting on Shakespeare’s head talking about the original play was quite entertaining.
As for the sweet young couple who star in the show, they do put their lives on the line for each other. You pull for them and they do, in the end, show their families that love conquers all – no matter what color you are. The ending is a happy Disney ending (much better than the double-suicide in the original story), in which Gnomeo and Juliet get married on top of a purple lawn mower, undoubtedly a symbol of the joining of red and blue. Everyone makes friends and the party at the end of the movie is worth sticking around to watch, as it is one of the best parts of the film.
I think that many of the best scenes were in the trailer but there are some additional scenes that are really funny too. The comments I received from the rest of my diverse group were: “it was funny” (8yo boy); “I liked it” and “great family movie” (two 15yo boys); “fun and a good movie” (16yo boy); “I really liked the storyline and the music”(another mom chaperone); “it was cute and funny, and I laughed so hard at the Borat gnome” (17yo girl); “it was alright” (45+yo male). I thought it was cute and I loved the music. I was wanting to see it in 3D also, but I will probably wait until it comes out on DVD, mostly because of the cost of seeing a movie in the theater these days. I hope you enjoyed this review and I hope you will enjoy the movie too!
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