Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Video review: "Gnomeo & Juliet"
A second-rate rip-off of "Toy Story" mixed with a dose of Shakespeare, "Gnomeo & Juliet" is a British animated film that is meant to be enjoyed by the very youngest audience, and merely tolerated by their parents.
The set-up is that the star-crossed lovers, and all of their kin, are garden gnomes made of clay. They go about their business in the split backyard of an English duplex, tending their gardens and whatnot. When humans come around, though, they revert to their familiar (and tasteless) statuesque forms.
Gnomeo (voice by James McAvoy) is the hell-raising son of the matron of the Blue gnomes, while sweet Juliet (Emily Blunt) is royalty of their arch-enemy Reds. When they fall in love, it sets up a war between the clans, with the unfortunate ones ending up in a pile of smashed bits.
Directed by Kelly Asbury ("Shrek 2"), "Gnomeo & Juliet" has some fairly clever ideas, but always chooses the lowest common denominator when it comes to humor and characterization. The movie is pitched at about a pre-kindergarten level, and anyone more than a few years above that will find themselves frequently bored.
In this terrific age of animation in which we find ourselves, this film just doesn't measure up.
Extras are a bit sparse in the DVD version, and don't substantially improve even if you upgrade to Blu-ray.
The DVD has a "Crocodile Rock" music video, and featuettes with Ashley Jensen (who plays the princess' frog sidekick) and Elton John. That's it.
If you choose the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (available in both 3D and regular versions), you get all the DVD stuff and several deleted or alternate scenes, including two alternate endings. There's also a "Fawn of Darkness" featurette.
Movie: 2 stars out of four
Extras: 2 stars