Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet – Finding Happy-Ever-After

The well loved Shakespearean classic on star-crossed lovers is once again retold in a new animated film. The battling clans – the Capulets and the Montagues, return in Kelly Asbury’sGnomeo and Juliet”, reincarnated as a warring family of gnomes.

Gnomes are mythical creatures, extremely small in size. They have a subterranean lifestyle. In this animated film, they live around a garden they diligently tend, taking pride in the blooms that blossom around their backyards. However, when people are around, these gnomes revert to being garden ornaments; those figurines made of plaster of Paris who come to life when no one is looking (much like the characters in “Toy Story”).

One clan wears blue hats, the other red. One clan grows red tulips, the other Westeria. They take to “lawnmowers” as people take to cars. The clans hate each other, constantly competing through the upkeep of their gardens. One day, blue-hatted Gnomeo meets red-hatted Juliet. And we have an inkling as to how the story's gonna play out. But since this is obviously geared for children, this tale tweaks the original by rendering it a fairy tale comeuppance. And we couldn’t complain!

Told in brisk narrative strokes, its simple exposition is quite a refreshing departure from the usual modern day slam-bang animation adventures. Most of the “action” occurs in their respective gardens, and the creatures are imbued their loveable demeanors.

James McAvoy (“Atonement”, “Wanted”) voices Gnomeo while Emily Blunt (“Adjustment Bureau”, “Devil Wears Prada”) takes Juliet. Several other big stars appear (as voice actors) in the film: Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Hulk Hogan (the voice of the “Terraferminator”), Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart (as “Bill” Shakespeare’s statue), Dame Maggie Smith and country legend Dolly Parton! The music of Elton John permeates throughout this film like a familiar old friend –and it's such a delight hearing “Your Song” and other well loved classics in the context of a romantic story, instead of from drunken karaoke fanatics. I love the side story on the pink flamingo who once lost his love when the owners of the house ended up in divorce. True love indeed comes to those who wait.

Star-crossed lovers are once again searching for their happy ever after. Or did you doubt that here?

James McAvoy appears next in "X-Men: First Class" and the action sequel "Wanted 2".

James McAvoy

Emily Blunt is appears next in Lasse Hallstrom, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" with Ewan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Emily Blunt

Blunt with former squeeze, Michael Buble.

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