BY KAYLA LOKEINSKY
What do you get when you combine true love, a bitter family rivalry, and garden gnomes? The new Touchstone Pictures’ animated comedy Gnomeo and Juliet. Released on February 11, this movie is a spinoff of William Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers set in the world of plaster garden gnomes. With jaunty songs, a poetic storyline, and a little adult humor thrown in, this movie is predicted to be the next big thing, no pun intended.
This 3-D film follows feuding neighbors Mr. Capulet and Mrs. Montague, named after the feuding families in Shakespeare’s original play Romeo and Juliet, whose rivalry has even extended to their respective garden gnomes. In additional to Shakespeare’s influence, the movie has also taken a note from the musical West Side Story, one gnome clan is red (The Reds) and the other blue (The Blues). But can a forbidden romance between a Red (Juliet, voiced by Emily Blunt) and a Blue (Gnomeo, voice of James McAvoy) bring the two sides together and end the feud (as well as rewrite the grim end of Shakespeare’s original)?
Garden gnomes, talking ceramic deer and frogs, thrown in with a true love story: what could be cuter and more G-rated? Although on the outside this movie may seem to childish for anyone over the age of 10, it actually has some underlying adult humor. From the flirtatious female frog who lusts after every gnome in sight to the references to the bigger the gnome’s “pointy hat”, the bigger the man, Gnomeo and Juliet has plenty of subtext for adults to enjoy as kids are amused by what’s on the surface.
The goofy and whimsical Gnomeo & Juliet may have a thin premise to it, but so did a certain animated movie about toys that come to life. While the gimmick of sending up Shakespeare may be lost on kids — who will enjoy the movie’s colorful palette, silly characters and overall cuteness — older and more literate viewers will appreciate the satirical bits peppered throughout the film. If you’d like a cheeky and cheerful animated romp, you could do worse than this little (no pun intended) film.