Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Gnomeo & Juliet (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: G

Starring:
James McAvoy as Gnomeo
Emily Blunt as Juliet
Ashley Jensen as Nanette
Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick
Matt Lucas as Benny
Jim Cummings as Featherstone
Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury
Jason Statham as Tybalt
Ozzy Osbourne as Fawn
Stephen Merchant as Paris
Patrick Stewart as Bill Shakespeare
Julie Walters as Miss Montague
Hulk Hogan as Terrafirminator V.O.

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Special Features:
• Elton Builds A Garden
• Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen
• Crocodile Rock music video
• 2 alternate endings with filmmaker introductions
• Deleted and alternate scenes with filmmaker introductions, includes:
• The Fawn Of Darkness

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 84 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"From a director of 'Shrek 2' comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes - 'Gnomeo & Juliet.' Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world's most timeless story features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Complete with hilarious never-before-seen bonus features, 'Gnomeo & Juliet' is an out-of-the-ordinary animated comedy your entire family will love. We just gnome it! "

"Gnomeo & Juliet" is rated G.

Mini-Review:
Having seen "Romeo and Juliet" performed in many different ways in many different mediums, I was interested to see how "Gnomeo & Juliet" would provide a fresh take on the classic tale. Using the play on words in the title provides the unique twist for the movie - the lead characters are warring yard decorations. That does make the movie a tad one-note as far as jokes go, but it's still a fun enough twist that you're willing to go with it.

If you've read "Romeo and Juliet" in school, you already know how the story ends in tragedy. Seeing as how this movie is for kids, I was curious to see how they'd handle it. Would they kill off the lead characters? Would they do some other variation? Would they completely change the story? Suffice it to say that the final way they handle it is pretty clever. They factor in the twist of how statues come to life and it will satisfy everyone from kiddies to English teachers.

"Gnomeo & Juliet" features a lot of music from Elton John. While they are great toe-tapping tunes, they don't always fit the movie. What do "Crocodile Rock" and "Saturday Night's Alright" and "Tiny Dancer" have to do with yard gnomes? Nothing really. I suppose it's more about the tone of the music and scenes, but it seems to be simply recycling old songs. John does create a couple of new songs including "Love Builds a Garden," but it's not particularly memorable.

The voice cast is quite good. James McAvoy is surprisingly strong as Gnomeo. He's funny, his voice is quite animated, and he's wonderfully paired with Emily Blunt as Juliet. Blunt, too, has a great voice for animation. She's lively and funny as well. They are supported by Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick, Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury, Jason Statham as Tybalt, Ozzy Osbourne as Fawn, and Julie Walters as Miss Montague.

I watched this movie with my two young sons and expected them to be unimpressed by this story of star-crossed lovers. However, they were glued to the screen for the entire time. And since I was so curious to see how it ended, I was glued to the screen as well. So this is a movie that I think both kids and adults can enjoy together. It's not great cinema, but it is entertaining.

There are a lot of bonus features included on this Blu-ray. There are two alternate endings and some deleted scenes, none of which are remarkable. "Elton Builds a Garden" details Elton John's involvement in the film, though it mostly seems to be from the music side of things. There are some fun featurettes including one showing Ozzy Osbourne and his outtakes. Overall it's more than I expected to be included with this film.

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