I've been blogging quite a bit about Valentine's Day recently: what to get, what not to get, what to do, what to eat. Here's another suggestion -- celebrate the holiday by watching the greatest love story of all time, Romeo & Juliet.
No, not the Shakespeare play. Or should I say Gnome, not the Shakespeare play. I'm talking about Disney's latest animated 3D flick, Gnomeo and Juliet. It has all the romantic tension and heartache of the original, with none of the tragedy and 100% more laughs, plus cute porcelain bunnies thrown in for good measure. Yes, I know the tragic ending is what makes Romeo & Juliet such a powerful love story, but come on, this is a family movie -- seeing garden gnomes smashed to bits is all the tragedy that most 4-year-olds need to see. In short, it's just like a chocolate-coated marshmallow heart -- sweet and light and yummy fun for all ages -- but with none of the calories (unless you splurge on an extra-large popcorn).
How do I
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The animation is amazing -- they captured all the smudges, stains, chips and scratches you'd see on any lawn ornament. The characters even made little clinking sounds when they moved! The movie is sprinkled with lots of clever gnome, lawn and gardening puns ("Let's kick some grass!"), references to the original Shakespeare play ("What's in a gnome?"), references to other Shakespeare plays ("Out, damned spot!"), even Disney references ("In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...") -- watching out for them will keep you entertained throughout. And if you're a fan of British cinema you'll be delighted to hear the voices of these famous actors:
* James McAvoy (Atonement) as Gnomeo
* Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) as Juliet
* Jason Statham (from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Transpotter) as Tybalt
* Maggie Smith (from A Room With a View, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Harry Potter and oh-my-god-a-lifetime-of-amazing-performances) as Lady Bluebury
* Michael Caine (from Alfie, The Cider House Rules, and ditto-what-I-said-for-Maggie-Smith) as Lord Redbrick
* Patrick Stewart (from Star Trek, X-Men and pretty much everything to do with the Royal Shakespeare Company) as William Shakespeare
* Ashley Jensen (from Extras and Ugly Betty) as Nanette
* Matt Lucas (from Little Britain) as Benny (Based on original character Benvolio)
* Stephen Merchant (from Extras and The Ricky Gervais show) as Paris
* Ozzy Osbourne (no starring movie roles that I know of, but you may have heard of him) as Fawn
(Funny thing about Ozzy Osbourne and Michael Caine, it didn't matter that you saw a fawn and a garden gnome onscreen, you knew they were Ozzy and Michael right away!)
Oh, and if you have somewhere to rush off to after the movie ends, you don't have to worry that you'll miss one of those funny epilogue scenes that sometimes appear after the last credit rolls -- because you won't. We stayed till the lights came back on and I have to say we were a bit disappointed, although the swirling 3D graphics did keep us mesmerized till the end. So if you're wondering: To See, or Gnot to See? The answer is simple: Take everyone you gnome to Gnomeo & Juliet!
To whet your appetite even more, here's a video with some little-gnome, I mean little known gnome facts:
Disclosure: I was invited to an advance screening of the movie by Disney. No compensation was received for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.