Gnomeo & Juliet [Blu-Ray] Kelly Asbury

Gnomeo & Juliet [Blu-Ray] Kelly Asbury
"I'm not illiterate. My parents were married," spouts Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine), the father of the fiery, titular Juliet (Emily Blunt) after neighbour gnome Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) doles out one of her many patronizing insults. The two have been feuding for years, divided only by a fence and defined by their red and blue colours, respectively, engaging in the occasional lawnmower race for supremacy while animatedly singing variations on Elton John songs. It's hatred that sustains and defines them, which is problematic when young Juliet falls in love with the very blue Gnomeo (James McAvoy), leading to an endless series of hushed meetings in an unkempt neighbouring garden and the occasional midnight serenade. More succinctly, it's exactly like the original Shakespeare play, Romeo & Juliet, only the characters are all singing, British garden gnomes and people don't stab each other. Aside from the playful musical element and secret core romance, much of what sustains Gnomeo & Juliet is a dry, British humour that relies on clever wordplay more so than sight gags and crudity. Sure, there's the occasional garish set piece revolving around monstrous lawn mowers, with Hulk Hogan narration and the occasional image of a gnome sitting on an enormous toilet, but mostly it's witty banter and playful character dynamics, with a smidge of referential humour and cute musical interludes. It's not exactly redefining the wheel, having a slightly Americanized Chicken Run feel, but it's a breezy, fun experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family without fear of product placement or antiquated Republican values forcing their way into your home. The Blu-Ray has only a couple of storyboarded alternate endings, which aren't substantially different from the original ones, along with some deleted scenes, as supplemental materials. While it's slightly disappointing that there isn't more available on the home video release, it's unlikely that lengthy interviews with actors or insights into the animation process would add a great deal to the viewing experience. (eOne)