Monday, February 20, 2012

Gnomeo and Juliet review

WARNING: there's no way I can review this without spoilers about the ending. But who cares, you know the story and you know what will happen at the end, so if you're worried about me spoiling the ending to this movie, you probably shouldn't be on this site at all.

I am no Shakespearean scholar. I can never even remember how to spell his name – if it wasn't for the spell-checker it would have been spelled wrong just now. I've never read his plays in their original language, except in English class at school. And yet, this film offends me.

I've been trying to come up with a metaphor for how nonsensical it is to take Romeo and Juliet and change the ending, but I can't because nothing I can think of is more absurd than this. There is literally nothing I can think of that misses the point so completely as changing the ending of Romeo and Juliet. Hell, it practically IS the metaphor for missing the point, for giving something the exact opposite meaning of what it's supposed to have.

OK, it's not like cartoons haven't been based off old stories before. Snow White, The Sword in the Stone, Aladdin, Tarzan, pretty much almost every successful Disney animated movie since the company was founded in fact. And yes, they generally have their own take on the story. But, for whatever it's worth, Snow White was called Snow White. Aladdin wasn't called A-Lad-In Trouble, or some stupid pun like Gnomeo and Juliet.

The point is that, while they were certainly not word-for-word adaptations of the originals, while they still had funny singing furniture and ornery old owls and the like, they didn't completely miss the point and change the entire reason for the whole story by doing a complete 180 on the ending. And they didn't literally, quite literally, tell the author in a bastardization of his own story that their ending is better.

I wish to God I was making that up. All I can say is, if I was a writer and therefore my greatest accomplishments were writing, and after I died some people decide to profit off my most well know story by cashing in on it's popularity, and then in their version they have the audacity to write me in as a character just so they can tell the fictional me how my story sucked and their version is better... well, if that ever happens, I'd be glad I was too dead to know about it because I cannot imagine a bigger insult.

But let's pretend for a moment that they aren't spitting on Shakespeare's grave, in fact lets pretend there was never a "Romeo and Juliet". Then it's mostly just ripping off Toy Story. But OK, lets ignore that connection too, and try to imagine for a moment that this movie has a single spark of originality. Then the problem is that the movie is still mediocre, with only a few actually likeable characters and funny moments. Honestly, I found some 'jokes' to be downright morbid. The gnome who spends his entire life fishing the same fish that's already on his pole, the poor fish that will spend all eternity dangling on a string... I didn't find that funny, I found it horrifying. I cannot imagine having to live through such a fate.

So after all that you probably won't be surprised that I give it a 3 out of 10 - yes, if you're a kid you'll probably enjoy it, but if you compare it to the Pixar fare that can not only entertain, but downright move people of all ages, then it's just not in the same league.

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