Gnomeo & Juliet


Disney animation is like Romeo and Juliet, but with gnomes Discuss this article

© ITP Images

A Disney toon seemingly born solely from a bad pun, this computer-animated trifle pieces together its Bard adaptation from the spare parts of superior Shakespeare-for-kids predecessors. In the neighbouring suburban English backyards of the Montagues and Capulets (here colour-coded in blue and red), pointy-hatted garden gnomes perpetuate the rivalry of their human owners. That long-standing enmity is disrupted when rugged Gnomeo (McAvoy) meets feisty Juliet (Blunt) under a starry sky and sparks fly, all set to the sounds of classic Elton John tunes (whose appearance is as arbitrary and awkward as the story’s central clay-figurines-in-love conceit).

The narrative backbone of the playwright’s romantic masterpiece remains largely intact, but this Mouse House saga’s true forefathers are Pixar and DreamWorks – from the Toy Story-esque rule that the gnomes must revert to lifeless form when in humans’ presence to the Shrek-ish pop-music montages and line-dancing epilogue.

Amid the courtship of its star-crossed lovers, a series of lawnmower chases, scuffles with bulldogs and high jinks involving a wise-cracking Latino pink flamingo keep the momentum going, but even these sequences fail to generate wit or verve; don’t get us started on the decidedly upbeat ending designed to please the kiddies. It’s a disposable cash-in designed to kill time in between franchise entries; the movie’s overall lack of imagination is the real tragedy.

By Nick Schager
Time Out Dubai,

Gnomeo & Juliet

  • Duration: 84
  • Released: Thu, 17 Feb
  • Classification: G
  • Language: English
  • Director: Kelly Asbury
  • Stars: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Jason Statham

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