Monday, November 26, 2012

A weed by any other name is still a weed.

At one point in my life, I was a high school janitor. Hold on. This happened when I was in high school, not after getting out of prison or something. Looking back, the job was equal parts terrible and awesome. Terrible, because I had to clean a f--king high school (the biggest offender? The buckets in the girls' bathroom - Dear God). Awesome, because I had access to any room after hours. And one time, my friends used my big-ass key ring to go on an Ocean's Eleven style break in. Their goal? The acquisition of a VHS tape, used annually in 9th grade English. Two words: Juliette's boobs.

Sadly, that moment of glory is all that remains in my memory of my introduction to Shakespeare. I'm more than familiar with a few of his stories, but being that I'm pretty much a complete idiot, have never investigated them otherwise. Well, that is until me and the family sat down to watch 2011's Gnomeo & Juliet last week. 

Real quick, even though no one cares, humor me. What do you think came first, the title or the story? Doesn't it seem that some jerk came up with the name Gnomeo and then figured, Gnomeo. Gnomeo and Juliet.
Someone get me my laptop. Now.
Fine, that's not how it went at all, but still. There's no way someone said, we should make a movie about garden gnomes! is there? Well, you're still reading this, so I suppose anything is possible.

Anyway, on to the flick itself. Very loosely based on the play, Gnomeo and Juliet is yet another cutesy piece of fluff that's loaded with an all-star cast and features the bastardized works of a musical legend. It's pretty to look at, has a very short run time and has all the hallmarks of every average animated flick that gets a theatrical release these days. Talking animals, droves of indecipherable things, and even a dance number or two, round out a very typical love story. Though that's to be expected considering how many times the original source has been used (or misused, perhaps?). It's not to say that there aren't clever bits, but overall it simply wasn't my cup of tea. And for the record, it lost my son to repeatedly jumping off the couch and bothering the dog, and lost my wife to snoring like an 800lb man. It's not terrible. It's just not awesome, either.

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing are the Yays and Boos. Those two love a good Shakespeare reference. Okay, they're illiterate, but they used to watch a ton of SportsCenter.

Olivia Hussey never dressed up like a ninja.
  • It really is stunning visually. I bet the 3D was pretty sweet, too.
  • That mushroom dog-thing was cool. My son enjoyed it.
  • The bunny message-relay system was solid.
  • Screw you, but I kind of enjoyed the getting ready for the big date montage.
  • Now I know what I want for Christmas: the Terrafirminator. I mean, what other lawnmower has a setting for revenge?
  • Even though I hated the gnome in the awful pink swimsuit, I actually chuckled when he made an appearance late in the film.
  • And finally, any movie that features Jason Statham and Ozzy Osbourne has to get some credit. If I ever need a decapitated bird roundhoused, I know what cast reunion to attend.
Anyone else remember the show David the Gnome? Me neither.
  • You break up with a guy and you take his plastic flamingo? Girl, don't go away mad. Girl, just go away.
  • Tea pot delivery truck?
    Really, Brits? So daft.
  • I think I would've liked this more if they wouldn't have played up the whole Shakespeare connection. Change the names of the characters and we're all probably better off.
  • Talking Frog. I hate you.
  • Why must all characters in animated flicks know karate? 
  • Did garden gnomes really need another movie? I mean, those goofballs already peaked with Amelie. This is like making a shark movie not called Jaws.
Sadly, we exist in a much more conservative educational climate than when I was a kid. I imagine Gnomeo and Juliet will be the flick that teachers will opt for when prepping future ninth graders for their first taste of The Bard, instead of the naughty goodness of the 1968 version like I had.

Though, on the other hand, at least those freshmen will be in a room that was actually cleaned instead of just sat in for ten minutes with the vacuum on. The past was a dirty place.


  1. Hah! That movie was part of our 9th grade education, too. But the part I remember is Romeo's naked ass. It was quite a talking point among the girls in my English class. ;-)

    1. That's awesome. I honestly didn't remember Romeo's ass being a part of the proceedings, but upon Googling Juliet's boobs (for research purposes, ahem) I did stumble upon some butt shots.

      Ah, high school. So glad I've matured since then. Well, in theory anyway.

  2. First, I agree with you about this movie. I saw it a long time ago, but I remember it be pretty violent. For the kids, of course.

    I wish I could admit that I know more about Shakespeare than I do about Elton John, but I would be lying. Big time.

    David the Gnome? Yeah, never heard of it. Totally.

    1. *being*

      Although, it's actually funnier that way.

    2. I don't even know where to begin.

      Though, I'm with you on my knowledge of EJ being significantly higher than WS. And that's not saying much, as my knowledge of the former comes from my adoration of Moulin Rouge!