I was forced to go see Gnomeo and Juliet last night on pain of torturous death. Okay, not torturous death, per se, but Kaci did threaten to unfriend me on Facebook. That’s harsh, you know. I felt that was harsh. Anyway, I hadn’t seen all my friends together in quite some time, so I decided that I would go get creeped out by all the scary gnome love.
But if anyone tries to get me to see Big Momma’s House 3 or Justin Bieber: Never Say Never . . . screw you, buddies. Unfriend me on Facebook. I’ll still have my dignity.
Gnomeo and Juliet is the cutesy, more uplifting version of Romeo and Juliet . . . with lawn gnomes. Really, that’s all you need to know.
But here are a few thoughts for you anyway.
1. Gnomeo and Juliet starts out awesomely. A narrator comes out on stage to tell us, “This story has been told before. A lot.” I had more hope going into this film after the introduction.
2. Hope that, ultimately, wasn’t exactly fulfilled. I mean, look, Gnomeo and Juliet‘s cute enough, and your kids—particularly your girl kids—are probably going to like it. As a 25 year old without kids . . . some of it was pretty funny, and some of it was awfully corny. Mostly, though, it felt a little long. It’s only an hour and a half, but the whole concept seemed like it could have been done better in a fifteen to twenty minute short. There was a lot of filler in this movie. A lot of filler, and a lot of Elton John.
3. You see, Elton John helped produce this movie, so there was a lot, a lot, a lot of cloying music that threatened to explode my brain. I know it’s, like, illegal to have a kids movie without singing and dancing, but I’m considering moving this film down a letter grade just for all of the fucking Elton John.
4. There are a ton of Shakespeare references for the adults in the audience, some of them clever, some of them decidedly less so. For instance, whoever thought up the Taming of the Glue in-joke should be hit in the face with a huge dose of slurlpreme. Don’t know what slurlpreme is? I couldn’t possibly explain it to you, but trust me: it’s bad. It’s very, very bad.
5. Also, in this particular version, it’s not the Capulets versus the Montagues but the Reds versus the Blues. (Well, the warring neighbors who own the gnomes are named Capulet and Montague, but they’re just humans. They don’t matter.) I’m totally cool with the Reds versus the Blues, except that they must mention their family feud at least 1200 times during the ninety minute movie. I mean, I get that it’s kind of central to the plot, but if I got paid ten cents for every time I heard some variation on, “I can’t! He’s a Blue!” I could have bought enough food to end world hunger. At the very least, I could have bought a good new pair of Chuck Taylors.
6. The best part of Gnomeo and Juliet? These guys.
I want these bunnies. (Although, the teeny red-hat gnomes were also pretty funny.)
7. The scariest part of Gnomeo and Juliet?
I mean, what the hell? Why do I have to look at gnome butt? I don’t need to see gnome butt! I’m gonna have bad dreams now.
8. Patrick Stewart cameoed as a talking statue of Shakespeare, and he was pretty funny. (When Gnomeo is aghast at the ending of Romeo and Juliet, Shakesy’s all, yeah, I could have ended it happier. But I wanted to kill people!) I also liked Ashley Jensen as Nanette the frog. She didn’t hold back in the voice acting at all, and her whole “doomed relationships are so romantic” bit was pretty funny.
9. On the other hand, that fucking flamingo, what was his name . . . Featherstone? Yeah. I wanted to blow Featherstone up with dynamite. And then hit him with a laser.
10. Speaking of lasers . . . or at least explosions . . . the next movie I see with my friends? I want action. I’m putting in my vote now for Battle: Los Angeles. Or, knowing what dirty mockers we all are, how about Drive Angry? Nicholas Cage and sarcastic commentary are a match made in Heaven, after all. (And have I mentioned how badass William Fichtner is yet?)
11. Finally, while I thought all of the lawn mower races and rampage scenes were kind of boring, I must admit to being amused at Hulk Hogan’s ad for the ultimate lawn mower killing machine, the Terrafirminator. This thing’s apparently so badass that possible side effects include dry mouth and megalomania. I wouldn’t mind a lawn mower like that . . . not, mind you, that I have a lawn.
Conclusion: Not excruciating but not exactly witty either. It’s better than The Polar Express anyway (well, what isn’t) but Shrek, this is not.
Moral: Err . . . love always wins in the end? At least when you’re animated. Even the villains come back to life in this movie, due to the awesome, earth-shaking power that is the song and dance of the happily ever after. Lamesauce.