As you can guess from the title, this movie is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet… with gnomes. Going into this movie I quite honestly had very low expectations. As they stated in the movie itself, more than once, this is an old story that has been retold many times. However, though it took maybe half of the film for the story to engage me, it ended on a good note and I didn’t regret watching it.
The story takes place in the garden of a semi-detached house. The owners, last names Montague and Capulet of course, are a middle-aged to elderly pair or neighbours who loathe each other and toss insults at the other on site. Both neighbours have gardens and their garden ornaments seem to have adopted the feuding nature of their owners. One side is decorated in blue and the other in red. They either try to out-do their enemies by creating a better garden than their opponents, or more destructively, try to sabotage their enemy’s garden. On the night of one such sabotaging raid, Juliet sneaks out of her garden because she sees a beautiful flower that will make their garden superior. In samurai style, she disguises herself in a black sock (and has a fishing pole she holds like a katana) and proceeds to leap and run along the alley fences toward her goal. Gnomeo, escaping from a failed raid, sees dark figure and intrigued, follows it to its unknown destination. He sees the flower also and as the two of the grab for it at the same time, their eyes lock and they are stunned by their attraction to each other (both in disguise). After a little flirtation stealing of the flower from one another, they fall into some water and their identities are revealed. And there continues the story of their deciding to meet secretly despite clan differences and the problems that arise. Will they ever be happy?!?!
Though the movie on the whole wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t overly clichéd either, which was refreshing. There were one or two side stories that varied the forbidden love theme to keep the viewer guessing. However it wasn’t at all a complex story line. An interesting little twist they did stick into the story however was a small chat Gnomeo has with a statue of Shakespeare. The Shakespeare statue listens to Gnomeo’s situation and says that he’s heard a story like it before, and that it ended in the lovers dying. Gnomeo then goes off to prevent this from happening to him. Elton John had a hand in the soundtrack so it’s pretty decent.
Overall, a nice movie if you want to introduce Shakespeare to children who don’t read, but not a classic.