Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet

 Well it is Thursday so of to the movies I went! Both Gnomeo and Juliet and 127 hours opened at my regular cinema, Readings here in my beloved Napier.
 I saw Gnomeo and Juliet first at the 6.15 p.m session. No children present! School holidys are over so that isn't surprising. It was me and 10 other adults. As I pointed out in my Yogi Bear appraisal this is not uncommon for animated films. It is such a fallacy that animation is soley for children, and I can't believe that it has taken root in people.
 Well for you who are not in know this is a take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It is an extremely clever idea to make an animated version of this play. It isn't accurate to it but in true animated style it plays with the story whilst still being recognisable. It is Shakespeare for children but any adult who has read the Bard will get the references and inside 'Shakespeare' jokes that permeate the film.
 This of course brings me back to point of animation not being exclusively for children. Most children, unless extremely gifted, haven't read Shakespeare so how are they to recognise the Bard jokes? They aren't, but an adult audience is. And this is how movie makers get more money from a film by making animation accessilble to all to enjoy.
 The film cleverly opens with the real opening lines of the play which , in so few words, set up the situation of the two feuding families. From there Gnomeo, a neat play on the name Romeo, as he is a garden gnome! meets and falls for Juliet. The humour is good and garden jokes abound. For adult viewers there are constant Shakespeare quotes that fit the situation. Some aren't nessesarily from Romeo and Juliet alone. For instance toward the end the two sides have a battle and before it commences one character cries, ''Let slip the dogs of war", which is of course from Julius Caesar.
 Street names have obvious Shakespearean links, posters on walls have titles of plays like 'As you like it'. And a statue of Shakespeare even talks to Gnomeo! Even the bus is going to Stratford-on-Avon!! So it is all there, very tongue in cheek and very amusing for it. For anyone who hasn't read the Bard will miss all the inside jokes but there is enough plot and sight gags to keep all happy.
 A stella line up of voice talent sets off the film. It has become quite a vogue thing nowadays for actors to do voice overs for animated films. Not like the old days when the voice talent was someone unknown and faceless to the audienece. It is of course to bring in the punters and it certainly brings an added dimension to modern animation. Setting it all off is the music of Elton John. There are even some sight gags on Elton that those in the know will laugh at.
 The animation is good. I'm not a great fan of this studio's animation, but that isn't saying it is bad. I just prefer other studio's style than this ones. The pacing is good as it has to be to keep the children engaged for its entirety, and there is enough humour for all. I liked this film, mainly for the Shakespeare content. It certainly isn't original  but I'm sure the kiddies won't mind.
 An enjoyable watch for all without it ever going to a great animated classic of the future.
Click here for a syopsis and other facts:
And here for the official website:
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