New trailers for the upcoming Gnomeo and Juliet were released this week by Touchstone Pictures, and it looks to be either a work of genius, or a train wreck in the making. Not only will this 3-D animated comedy/adventure feature your garden-variety gnomes, but it’s taking on Shakespeare!
Based (I’m sure roughly) on the classic play about star-crossed lovers, Gnomeo and Juliet will feature two darling gnomes, young lovers caught in a feud between their respective lawns. This concept seems precariously balanced between clever and contrived. Plus, at least for me, garden gnomes seem obnoxious and a little creepy. I’m sure, considering the ample resources and budget behind this release, the gnomes will all be adorable, the songs catchy, and the visuals impressive.
With some awesome voice talent, Gnomeo and Juliet should at least sound good. A whole cast of heavy-weights (and some bantam weights) round out the vocals. Gnomeo will be voiced by James McAvoy (Atonement) and Emily Blunt will provide the voice of Juliet. Blunt was recently seen in Gulliver’s Travels…ouch. Will she redeem herself by this latest role choice? I guess we’ll see. Other notables include Jason Statham, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Dolly Parton, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart, Hulk Hogan and even Ozzie Osbourne. Wow.
Another advantage this film has is screenwriter/director Kelly Asbury. Asbury worked with a number of other writers on the script, but his background speaks volumes about his skill in both writing and directing. Not only was he involved in the story development of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Chicken Run, but he’s been artistically involved in a slew of great animated films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Little Mermaid, Prince of Egypt, James and the Giant Peach, and Kung Fu Panda.
Released nationwide on February 11th, audiences will get to judge for themselves which side of the fence this falls.