Saturday, May 5, 2018

Gnomeo and Juliet Review

Somehow, Shakespeare's tragedy is made kid friendly and given a garden gnome facade. The movie I bet almost every middle school English teacher now uses to show the story structure of Romeo and Juliet is a zippy, reasonably coherent film that doesn't quite capture the relatable nature of the original because it's so goofy, but Kelly Asbury does a fairly good job with what she gets, delivering likable characters and alternative phrasings of classic lines that remain consistent with the garden gnomes. The animation is consistent, with everything feeling like it belongs, but nothing extraordinary because the minimal use of human characters reminds me of how Toy Story avoided showing too much of the humans because of the way everything they rendered looked like plastic. There were also a few changes to the ending I feel undercuts the tragic themes Shakespeare was trying to convey. If you don't mind spoilers for a seven-year-old kid's movie, Gnomeo is presumed dead, but Juliet never does what they do in the original tale. Also, they both survive after a fake-out, and while Tybalt is killed like in the original, he's glued back together, undercutting the feud's lasting influence. I get this is for kids, but I feel Romeo and Juliet is not the best template to use. I did enjoy the Elton John music throughout, and the rest of the soundtrack worked well with the scenes. The humor was good, but after the guessing game, the only part that I truly found funny was the Shakespeare statue talking to Gnomeo, and not just because Kelly Asbury and co were admitting to their influence: both actors have played Professor X in the X-Men movies, and it's too good not to ignore. I first saw this movie when I was in middle school, fresh off studying Romeo and Juliet. I found the humor funny back then, but looking at it as an adult, I see the flaws and how the source material was watered down, and only have a couple of laughs. Whether you're a parent who needs to distract your kids for an hour and twenty-five minutes or an English teacher who needs to make Romeo and Juliet more relatable to your students, this is still a good movie to use for either, but if you didn't see it like I did, the Elton John music will probably be what makes it bearable.

Gnomeo and Juliet, 5/5/18, 78%, C+, 4 Stars
Plot
-Pacing 8/10
-Coherence 8/10
Characters
-Relatability 7/10
-Development 8/10
Picture
-Visual Believability 8/10
-Purposeful Scenes 4/10
Soundtrack
-Emotional Resonance 9/10
-Appropriate Use 9/10
Dialogue
-Appropriate Humor 7/10
-Appropriate Cursing 10/10
Numeric Breakdown
0. Unbearable
  1. Awful
  2. Really Bad
  3. Bad
  4. Weak
  5. Mediocre
  6. Questionable
  7. Good
  8. Great
  9. Amazing
  10. Perfect
Letter Grade
100%-97% = A+
96%-93% = A
92%-90% = A-
89%-87% = B+
86%-83% = B
82%--80% = B-
79%-77% = C+
76%-73% = C
72%-70% = C-
69%-67% = D+
66%-63% = D
62%-60% = D-
59% or below = F
Star Grid
0%-10% = 0.5 Stars
11%-20% = 1 Star
21%-30% = 1.5 Stars
31%-40% = 2 Stars
41%-50% = 2.5 Stars
51%-60% = 3 Stars
61%-70% = 3.5 Stars
71%-80% = 4 Stars
81%-90% = 4.5 Stars
91%-100% 5 Stars

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