‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ is a front-yard flop

William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of true love gets a new spin in Disney’s latest feature film, “Gnomeo and Juliet.” Yes, that’s right — two hours of talking, ceramic garden decorations.

It takes place in the yards of two disagreeing neighbors enduring an endless family feud: the red Capulets versus the blue Montagues.

Juliet (Emily Blunt), daughter of Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine), is on a personal quest to prove herself when she accidentally meets Gnomeo (James McAvoy), son of Lady Blueberry (Maggie Smith), in a midnight commando adventure.

Love at first sight catches these two gnomes off guard, and from that point on, they never want to be apart.

They find a safe haven in the nearby yard of a plastic pink flamingo, Featherstone. He himself has endured the pain of losing his soul mate and makes it his personal priority to make sure the gnomes stay together.

Of course, this leads to mayhem and scandal between the two families and eventually to a full-out lawn battle.

A traditional tragedy means there has to be a death. Although in this case the couple is spared, and the pride and animosity between the reds and blues comes to an end. Like every Disney animation, the movie concludes with Gnomeo and Juliet living happily ever after.

This animated romantic-comedy is filled with witty puns and satirical criticisms that go unnoticed by its target audience (children), and doesn’t translate well to adults either.

The audience was left in a state of boredom until halfway through the film, when you finally begin to forget you were watching creepy garden figurines.

An upside to the film is the straightforward life lessons offered for a child’s understanding. Cheating, divorce, parental letdown and true love become themes of the movie that warms the hearts of its viewers.

The most exciting aspect of the film has to be Elton John, who wrote the soundtrack. But even he fell short of expectations, as only a few new original tracks were written and the rest were gaudy renditions of his classics.

One track, “Love Builds A Garden,” really did capture the scene and heartache of losing a loved one, as Featherstone traces the memory of his past love’s happiness.

Many other big Hollywood names made pointless voice work appearances, such as Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Julie Walters, Dolly Parton and Hulk Hogan.

The movie hits theatres this Friday, Feb. 11, but take our advice and spare yourselves of this cliché, gnomey love story.

Reach the reporter at ahavir@asu.edu


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