The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Gnomeo and Juliet

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 3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English/Math tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
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Gnomeo and Juliet   (3D)

The title and premise of this animated fantasy based on the Shakespeare play is a natural pun-magnet, so you’ll forgive me if I indulge.

Ms. Montague (Julie Walters, voice) has a thing for blue; next door neighbor Mr. Capulet (Richard Wilson) has his head set for red.  The two neighbors love their gardens but loathe each other, slinging verbal barbs whenever their paths cross.

Each has a plaster, ceramic and stone collection of gnomes and critters (bunnies, a fawn, a frog, a decorative, spotted mushroom) that spring to life when no humans are around to observe.  The gnomes have lawnmower races in the back alley as a means to compete for color superiority.  Apparently there is little else to squabble about and no other reason than being blue or red to keep the feud going.

The blue garden’s matriarch is Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith, voice), whose son Gnomeo (James McAvoy, voice) partakes in the races.  The red garden is led by Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine, voice) whose daughter Juliet (Emily Blunt, voice) covets a heart-shaped orchid from the overgrown, deserted garden down the block.

One night Gnomeo and Juliet, both in disguise, stumble upon each other in a meet-cute that foreshadows the broken hearts, break-ups and falling-to-pieces to come – literally.

First, the lawn-crossed lovers must hide their relationship from their respective parents, relatives and friends.  Juliet’s cousin Tybalt (voiced by Jason Statham, who exchanges his Mechanic persona for a ceramic one) is a bully, full of nasty surprises.  Gnomeo’s best friend Benny (Matt Lucas, voice) is a well-meaning screw-up, and a ceramic mushroom plays Lassie to Gnomeo’s Timmy (can’t speak, but warns about impending disaster in a “follow me” ritual).

Juliet’s got a pal named Nanette (a fountain frog who knows about the forbidden romance and repeats with a swoon, “doomed” as if it’s a blessing.  Of course, Juliet’s father and Gnomeo’s mother fret over their offspring in an overprotective, helicoptering (hovering) manner.

Speaking of hovering, other characters that chip the surfaces of our heroic couple include Featherstone (Jim Cummings, voice), a flamboyant pink flamingo yearning for his long-lost lady love; Fawn (Ozzy Osbourne) a bumbling, red team leader, Dolly Gnome (Dolly Parton, voice) a voluptuously molded, statuesque beauty despite being short) and the great bard William Shakespeare himself (Patrick Stewart, voice) whose bird-stained head renders him absolutely authentic as a park statue.

The voice of wrestling great Hulk Hogan can be heard on a cyber-commercial for the most ferocious lawnmower ever created – The Terrafirminator, a piece of machinery that will figure prominently in the story.

I won’t tell you how the story ends, only that it strays by choice from the original plot.  Did you really think they’d make a 3-D animated tragedy?  Bless your heart.

Some of Executive Producer Elton John’s classic songs comprise the soundtrack (Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart) as well as an original duet with Lady Gaga (Hello Hello).

Director Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2) wrote the screenplay (with six others) from an original screenplay (by two others) based on an original work by William Shakespeare.  That’s the precise reason why some sections are funny, touching, sweet and clever and some are so busy with frenetic action that they fall flat.  In trying to incorporate and accommodate so many personalities, the script becomes a collection of gags rather than a thoughtful progression.  (Hey, it could happen).  The 3-D effect is only a tiny enhancement and not really necessary.

This visit to “lawn guy land” or “gnome man’s land” will probably amuse kids more than adults, who know all too well the kind of sweat equity it takes to maintain such a kitschy paradise.  The cutesy factor is monumentally high.

That can either leave you stone cold or crack you up.  The bird-spattered Shakespeare in the park is a good sport, indeed.