Release Date (UK DVD) – 6th June
Certificate (UK) – U
Country – UK/USA
Director – Kelly Asbury
Runtime – 84 mins
Starring - James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas.
From the director of Shrek 2 comes an animated retelling of the classic Shakespearean tale of Romeo and Juliet, the story of two star crossed lovers. Gnomeo and Juliet is based in the British town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, where the owners of two neighbouring houses have no idea of the antics and rich lives being led in their own back gardens. One back garden is ruled by the blue hatted gnomes (the Montagues) led by Lady Bluebury (Smith). The other garden ruled by the red hatted gnomes (the Capulets), led by Lord Redbrick (Caine). An age old feud divides the two gardens however when Gnomeo (McAvoy) and Juliet (Blunt) meet, there is a possibility for change and romance. With lawn mower racing and unexpected events this film keeps true to the basic storyline of Romeo and Juliet but adds a comic and family friendly twist to this classic tale.
This animated film maintains the balance between romance and a tragicomedy. It also, like many recent animation film,s combines fun and silly things for the children and clever lines and references for adults. There are many references to the original story of Romeo and Juliet, and even a clever reference via a statue of Shakespeare himself played by Patrick Stewart. There are also subtle references to Shakespeare’s other seminal pieces of work; the glue used by the red gnomes is called the ‘taming of the glu’e and a passing truck can be seen with the words: “The Tempest Teapot truck” on the side.
The animation itself is vivid with the intricate details on the gnomes and gardens making Gnomeo & Juliet a cheerful, colourful and heart-warming film. The music adds to the fun filled atmosphere of the film with classic Elton John tracks throughout, some of which were reworked especially for the film. There are a plethora of talented actors that lend their voices to this animated adventure, including characters voiced by Richard Wilson as Mr. Capulet and Julie Walters as Miss. Montague. All of the voices fit the characters well, and add an interesting dimension to the film.
The DVD bonus special features include ‘Elton builds a garden’ which gives an insightful look at the impact that Elton John has had on the creation of the film, as well as the creation of the soundtrack. The other special feature is deleted and alternative scenes with filmmaker introduction. These funny and interesting extras give an even greater understanding of just how much work goes into an animated film and allows a sneak peak at the scenes that didn’t make the final cut.
This animated film brings a new take on the age old Shakespearean tale which is fun for all the family. With likable characters and some funny moments it is evident that this film offers light hearted entertainment with a little bit of silliness. The use of garden gnomes also adds an extra and unique element to this animation of a familiar tale.
Gnomeo & Juliet is out on DVD and Blu-ray on June 6th – pre-order it here