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Okay, so you're telling me that my garden gnomes have not only come to life, but they've also started making out with each other?! This is crazy! This is “Movie Night”!
*theme song plays*
Hello, and welcome to “Movie Night.” I'm your host, once again battling a cold, but having finally gotten that haircut I was talking about. I'm Jonathan Paula.
Tonight, we'll be reviewing just one film but it's a brand-new release that came out nationwide yesterday, February 11th. It's the animated film, "Gnomeo and Juliet."
As you'd expect, the title of this movie conveys almost the entire plot in three words.
This 84-minute family film that is also presented in disappointing 3D opens with a brief introduction explaining that "Gnomeo and Juliet"...
is yet another contemporary adaptation of the Shakespearean classic, this time with a garden-gnome twist.
Similar to the devices employed in other animated classics, like "Toy Story"...
these lovable gnomes and other garden ornaments only come to life when their human owners are away.
But, as with the source material, the two neighboring groups of gnomes are at war with each other.
The gnomes race on lawnmowers in a nearby alley, for sport and spectacle, with the alpha male of the "Reds"...
Tybalt, voiced hilariously by action star Jason Statham, going up against our protagonist, Gnomeo, a member of the "Blues," voiced by James McAvoy.
Of course, you know the rest of the story: Gnomeo meets Juliet, voiced by Emily Blunt, a beautiful member of the "Reds"...
on neutral territory, wearing neutral colors, and they quickly fall in love, just moments before they realize each others' true allegiances.
It's a delightfully cute and reasonably faithful re-telling of the 16th-Century play, all reenacted by your typical cast of animated characters and goofy stereotypes.
There are plenty of sight gags, witty references to other Shakespearean works, and lots of exciting action scenes...
that take on an entirely new perspective when viewed from a gnome's point of view.
When Gnomeo's trusted ally, Benny, has to call in some reinforcements against the Reds, he heads inside his owner's house to buy a super-beefed-up lawnmower online...
and his attempts to navigate the computer's touch pad by dancing on it is a great use of the environment, leading to some good laughs.
At the center of this simplified story is your basic star-crossed-lover’s romance that unfortunately doesn't get much time to really develop.
But in a short, basic kids' movie, it is certainly acceptable. The supporting cast is littered with familiar voices, like Michael Caine...
Maggie Smith, Ozzy Osbourne, Hulk Hogan, and Patrick Stewart, all of whom bring a little bit of personality to their short and, unfortunately, one-dimensional roles.
My strongest complaint about this film unfortunately requires spoiling the ending, which I realize is an ironic thing to announce...
when we're discussing perhaps the most popular story ever written. But therein lies the issue I have.
"Gnomeo and Juliet" diverges from the classic tragedy, having both of the title characters survive to a happy ending.
Granted, in a family-friendly film, having a one-foot-tall gnome commit suicide might be a bit dark...
but it's that classically tragic ending that makes the Shakespearean story so timeless and memorable.
Self-aware of this at least, the film artfully incorporates some deliberate mentions of the original story...
before Gnomeo quite literally announces that his story will have a happier ending.
It's a clever play by the filmmakers, who are able to have their cake and eat it, too.
In a film that is great for kids under 12, parents will be entertained, but there unfortunately isn't much hidden adult humor here for them to laugh at.
Elton John, who also serves as the movie's executive producer, lends his music to the film, creating a snappy atmosphere that really sets the mood for the rest of the movie...
from the opening establishing scene scored to "Crocodile Rock," all the way to the end credits duet he sings with Lady Gaga.
"Gnomeo and Juliet" is by no means a classic, or even particularly memorable...
but it is a fun, lighthearted, and familiar love story that children and families will definitely be able to enjoy together.
"A cute adventure for everyone."
Well, that's what I thought about "Gnomeo and Juliet.” Now, let's see what you had to say in the YouTube comments.
Okay, now, let’s bring in the Rate-o-Matic, to see how we both scored "Gnomeo and Juliet.”
A double “6”! While this film is nothing amazing, or even really memorable, it is still a fun movie, especially to see with the family, or perhaps with a date this Valentine's.
I thought it was "good." You agreed with me, praising the film for its jokes and its appeal to a younger audience, but you complained that it was a bit too derivative. You also scored it a "good."
Well, that does it for tonight's review. Now, let's take a look at what else is currently playing in theaters, with some Tweet Critiques.
Remember, if you're going to the movies this weekend, make sure to submit your Twitter review, using the #JPMN hashtag, to have it featured on an upcoming episode of "Movie Night."
Next week, we'll be taking a look at two documentaries that have a lot to do with the Internet: a favorite from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, "Catfish"...
which was just released on DVD last month. It explores a very unique and interesting online relationship built entirely through social networks.
Also next week, we'll be reviewing "Looking For Ms. Locklear," a feature-length film by my friends and fellow YouTubers Rhett and Link.
It's a story about their quest to track down and find their first-grade teacher, who was responsible for introducing them to one another so many years ago.
As always, I encourage you to buy, rent, or download these films before next week's episode...
and then let me know what you think about them, by voting in the polls below, or by leaving me a comment review.
Once again, my name is Jonathan Paula. Thank you for watching “Movie Night.” I hope to see you right back here next Friday!
*end credits play*
*Don't forget to tune in to the season 10 premiere of the microwave show on April 1st!*
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My Garden Gnomes Have Come To Life! -- "Gnomeo And Juliet" Film Review

3397 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on December 13, 2012
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