Review: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Gnomeo and Juliet is a new animation film loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. It’s directed by Kelly Asbury.

The film centers on two garden gnomes, Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), caught in forbidden love. The couple looks to find lasting happiness and avoid tragedy as they are trapped in the middle of a feud between blue and red-hatted garden gnomes.

The heart and beauty of the film, aside from its queerness and spirit in bringing the garden gnomes to life, lies in the sheer attention-to-detail in the visual storytelling. The story and stunning animation, with all its quirks, draws you into the gnomes’ magical existence, and is so soft-hearted, daft and delightfully British that it’s hard not to be swayed.

Asbury awards each gnome a contemporary, individualistic personality that kids of all ages – including some adults – will respond to. In addition, the cast – including McAvoy, Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Stephen Merchant, and even Ozzy Osbourne – enhance the enjoyability and retain the wholly British quality, inhabiting their respective personalities with such joy and comical timing.

The soundtrack, carefully constructed by Elton John, compliments the film seamlessly, becoming a character of its own and enhancing the story and mad-cap eccentricities unravelling on-screen, sweeping you away with its undeniable heart-warming nature.

While it may not have a hope in hell of reaching the dizzy heights of a fellow Pixar or Dreamworks Animation film, Gnomeo & Juliet is a wonderfully homegrown, quirky and seductively fun animation film that is sure to find a place in your heart, unless, however, it’s made of stone.

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