Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Toon Talk: Brush Up Your Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” practically invented the concept of “star-crossed lovers”, so it’s no wonder that the Bard’s most familiar romance continues to inspire storytellers to this day. Speaking specifically cinematically, “Romeo and Juliet” has been the basis of many films, from the sublime (West Side Story) to the ridiculous (China Girl), not to mention direct adaptations by the directorial likes of George Cukor, Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann.

The doomed lovers’ influence has even carried over into the animated world, most notably with Disney’s own Pocahontas. Their latest toon incarnation is Gnomeo & Juliet (in theaters now, in both 2-D and 3-D versions), where they are embodied by (you guessed it) garden gnomes.

The more culturally snobbish may look down their noses at such a “blasphemous” idea, but Gnomeo & Juliet is actually a charming little fairy tale perfect for children and, smartly, the script is laced with many sly nods to the Shakespearean canon (referencing everything from “Out, damned spot!” to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) to keep their parents entertained as well during its quick running time...

UPDATE: Gnomeo & Juliet is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from

Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Gnomeo & Juliet at

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