Gnomeo & Juliet (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 12, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Gnomeo & Juliet” is a charming and fun family film! While some may not have a care towards garden gnomes, if you can get over that, I personally have found the animation for the film to be well-done and its storyline inspired by Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” was well-executed especially for the younger children who may be watching.
Images courtesy of © 2011 Buena Vista Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Gnomeo & Juliet
DURATION: 84 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Touchstone Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2011
Inspired by the William Shakespeare Play “Romeo & Juliet”
Directed by Kelly Asbury
Story by Rob Sprackling, John r. Smith, Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Kelly Asbury and Steve Hamilton Shaw
Screenplay by Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Mark Burton, Emily Cook, Kathy Greenberg, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Kelly Asbury
Original Screenplay by Rob Sprackling, John R. Smith
Producer: Baker Bloodworth, David Furnish
Executive Producer: Elton John
Producer: Steve Hamilton Shaw
Co-Producer: Igor Khait
Associate Producer: Kara Lord
Music by Chris Bacon, James Newton Howard, Elton John
Edited by Catherine Apple
Castin by Gail Stevens
Production Design by Karen deJong
Art Direction: Karen DeJong, Andrew Woodhouse
FEATURING THE VOICES OF:
James McAvoy as Gnomeo
Emily Blunt as Juliet
Ashley Jensen as Nanette
Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick
Matt Lucas as Benny
Jim Cummins as Featherstone
Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury
Jason Statham as Tybalt
Ozzy Osbourne as Fawn
Stephen Merchant as Paris
Patrick Stewart as Bill Shakespeare
Julie Walters as Miss Montague
Hulk Hogan as Terrafirminator
Kelly Asbury as Red Good Gnomes
Richard Wilson as Mr. Capulet
Dolly Parton as Dolly Gnome
From a director of Shrek 2 comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes — Gnomeo & Juliet. Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world’s most timeless stories features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingos and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Complete with hilarious never-before-seen bonus features, Gnomeo & Juliet is an out-of-the-ordinary animated comedy your entire family will love. We just gnome it!
Charming, delightful and fun for the entire family!
In Feb. 2011, Touchstone Pictures first animated feature since “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) titled “Gnomeo & Juliet” was released in the U.S. The film topped the worldwide box office earning over $176 million.
But “Gnomeo & Juliet” was a film that has been in limbo for many years. Originally to be produced by Walt Disney, the film would exchange hands with Miramax Films but eventually was picked up and produced by Starz Animation in Toronto and released by Touchstone Pictures.
Directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”, “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”), the film would be inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” and would feature voices by talent which include Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Sir Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Jason Statham, Ashley Jensen, Ozzy Osbourne, Julie Walters, Hulk Hogan, Dolly Parton and many more.
And now the film will be released on Blu-ray ala 3D (includes Blu-ray 3D and 2D, DVD and Digital Copy), a 2-Disc set with Blu-ray DVD and a normal DVD version.
In the film, Mrs. Montague (played by Juliet Walters) and Mr. Capulet (played by Richard Wilson) were a couple who now despise each other. Now each live next door to each other and Mrs. Montague’s yard is filled with blue garden gnomes, while Mr. Capulet’s garden has red garden gnomes. When the two are away, the gardens come alive and both blue and red gnomes despise each other as well.
But its time for the lawnmower race and representing the blue gnomes is Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) and for the red gnomes is Tybalt (voiced by Jason Statham). While Gnomeo was about to win, Tybalt cheats and wins the race.
Gnomeo and his friend Benny (voiced by Matt Lucas) are upset and insult Tybalt for cheating and now the two want revenge.
So, both Gnomeo and Benny try to infiltrate the red garden with a disguise. Their plan, to spray paint the red lawnmower with blue paint. And Gnomeo nearly accomplishes their goal but Benny accidentally sprays Tybalt’s well and a security light is activated, which alerts the red gnomes that they the blue gnomes has infiltrated the garden.
Fortunately for both Gnomeo and Benny, the two escape but Gnomeo ends up in a different garden and accidentally runs into the red gnome named Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt), the daughter of Lord Redbrick (voiced by Michael Caine) of the red gnomes.
Immediately, Gnomeo becomes smitten with Juliet and she with Gnomeo. For Juliet, she can’t help but confess her love of Gnomeo to her friend, a frog named Nanette (voiced by Ashley Jensen). The two continue to see each other by planning secret meetings.
But both may be pulled apart as tensions mount between the blue and red gnomes. Will the love between Gnomeo and Juliet remain strong despite their people despising each other and may fight against each other? Or will they be separated and looking at each other as enemies?
“Gnomeo & Juliet” features music by Elton John with collaborations with Lady GaGa and Nelly Furtado.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen (1:85:1). I’m not too familiar with the work of Starz Animation (Arc Productions) but what I can say about “Gnomeo & Juliet” is that one would want to see these characters show detail of their wooden ornamentation. So, while these garden gonmes to come to life, the animation is able to capture these characters but also showing the detail of their wooden surface. In fact, there are scenes where you can see wooden surfaces that are wet with water and it’s soaked to paint that has come off the wood. I was very pleased by how the CG was rendered for each character and the Blu-ray brings out those details.
You can see the dirt and grime including chips on the gnomes but also see the detail of the road, the ground, the trees and grass, even when Juliet is wearing a sock, you can see the cotton fibers. I was quite pleased by the film’s overalll look on Blu-ray. The film is vibrant and picture quality is very good! Blacks are also nice and deep and once again, you can compare the DVD included with the Blu-ray and noticed how much detail you are able to see when watching in HD.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit) and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The lossless soundtrack was very well done. From the more action-based sequences, there is a good use of the surround channels including moments that the LFE was used. Also, because there is a lot of music utilized throughout the film, you can hear the music being utilized on the surround channels as well. And if you are familiar with the Elton John musical classics, you will definitely enjoy how his music was utilized in the film.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” comes with the following special features:
- Elton Builds a Garden – (5:47) How Elton John played a big part in the film and how he had been in the process of the varying production process.
- 2 Alternate Endings – Featuring two alternate endings (sketches) with commentary at the beginning. The following is in standard definition. Alternate Ending 1 – All’s Well That Ends Well (1:34) and Alternate Ending 2 – Dance Routine (1:29).
- Deleted & Alternate Scenes – (42:25) Featuring alternate opening sequence and seven deleted scenes with filmmakers introduction commentary. Presented in standard definition.
- Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen – (1:46) Actress Ashley Jensen talks about doing her first animated role and providing the voice of Nanette the frog.
- Crocodile Rock Music Video – (1:32) Featuring the recording of “Crocodile Rock” with Nelly Furtado and Elton John.
- The Fawn of Darkness – (1:29) Ozzy Osbourne talks about doing a voice of a fawn.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” comes with a slip cover case.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” is a charming, fun, family film.
But I also believe that for one to be open to it, it being the “garden gnome”. It’s one thing for a CG animated film to come out and have fresh, unique characters and sure, animated films such as “Toy Story” are able to capture one’s imagination because everyone grew up with toys. But not everyone grows up with having garden gnomes in their garden.
Elton John even said on the special features of how garden gnomes are popular in the UK and I would assume that they are popular in Europe, especially in Germany where they first originated in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia, the first garden gnomes were made in Grafenroda and a man named Philip Gribel made terracotta animals as decorations (which are featured in the film) and produced garden gnomes (which many are featured in the film) based on local myths as a way for people to enjoy the stories of the gnomes willingness to help in the garden at night.
It quickly spread across Europe wherever gardening was a serious hobby. And once in awhile, you will drive and see someone in America having one in their garden, some having more than others.
While many people are unaware of the history of garden gnomes, I know when commercials came out, my little one was wondering why there was an animation on small people. I told him they were garden gnomes…statues in the garden that come to life and he gave me a dumbfounded look. Until I told him that people put pranks on them and people dress them up with weird clothing or bring them along on vacation trips where people take a picture of them… and then he became amused.
I think that there are people who may feel the same way in the US, of why a film was created using garden gnomes? I suppose if there a movie about spy hamsters, ninja turtles or dogs with super powers can be made to films, why not garden gnomes. OK, I understand that spies, ninjas and super powers are cool but this movie is not too ridiculous as one may think.
There is a storyline which is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”, blue gnomes and red gnomes who despise each other (and no, this was not done to emulate Los Angeles gangs) but these garden gnomes have personality. Like the Montague’s and the Capulets, these garden gnomes are constantly at each other’s throats until Gnomeo of the blue and Juliet of the red fall for each other.
And of course, because this is a children’s film, it has to have a happy ending.
But I was open to the film, the whole garden gnome character and without any feeling of “oh, garden gnomes, this movie is going to suck” mentality, I watched it and I was impressed by the animation. The garden gnomes, even when alive, look like their real-life counterparts with grime, aged dirt, chips on them. But also seeing closeups of the road, the wood and all these textures to make things more realistic was quite impressive. Granted, you’re not going to have the Pixar color pallette of everything so vibrant but yet, this film holds up well on its own for being a modern animated Disney-related film.
I also liked the voice talent that were involved in the film. You can tell which voice was Dolly Parton, Patrick Stewart, Hulk Hogan and Ozzy Osbourne but it was good to see talent such as Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Jason Statham and Ashley Jensen involved in the film as well. Their performances were well-done and with the music of Elton John, you have this sense that the film an International feel to it. Which is good considering the fact that garden gnomes are popular overseas.
As for the Blu-ray release, it’s important to remind people that if you have a 3D-enabled TV and Blu-ray player, then you may want to check out the 3D version which comes with both the 3D, 2D, DVD and digital copy version of the film. For this release that I am reviewing, it comes with the Blu-ray and DVD release and it makes a very good family film to take on those long commutes as summer vacation is around the corner. The picture and audio quality is very good and there are a few short special features that are fun and amusing and are included in this release as well.
Overall, “Gnomeo & Juliet” was a film that I enjoyed. If one has negative feelings towards garden gnomes, I’m sure that’s going to affect one’s appreciation for this family film. But if you could care less and just want a film that young and old can watch together, then “Gnomeo & Juliet” is a film worth checking out!
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”