Review: Gnomeo & Juliet Blu-ray/DVD

Gnomeo & Juliet Blu-ray/DVD boxSTUDIO: Disney | DIRECTOR: Kelly Asbury | CAST: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith
RELEASE DATE: 5/24/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD combo $39.99, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD $49.99
BONUSES: featurettes, deleted scenes, alternate endings, music video
SPECS: G | 84 min. | Animated family | 1.85:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Producers were skeptical about Gnomeo & Juliet for years before the animated movie was finally put into production, and it was a surprise hit in theaters, grossing close to $100 million in the U.S. alone. But what’s the surprise? Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet with garden gnomes? Sounds like a fun premise. And the movie delivers on its promise.

Gnomeo & JulietJames McAvoy (The Last Station) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) do a great job voicing the star-crossed lovers, and there’s something wonderful about hearing Michael Caine’s (The Romantic Englishwoman) charming voice come out of Juliet’s clay father. The film has a slew of great voice talent: Maggie Smith (Harry Potter movies), Jason Statham (The Mechanic), Star Trek: Next Generation‘s Patrick Stewart (as a statue of Shakespeare), Ozzy Osbourne (as a cute deer statue) and more.

The familiar story is soundtracked with Elton John songs. As good as they are, their use sometimes gets a little corny, but what’s a little corn in a G-rated family movie? The songs, including “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer,” are clear and full in the DTS-HD audio, and the movie’s animation looks beautiful in high-definition. The blacks are dark and the reds and blues of the gnomes’ hats are bright, not to mention the gorgeous pink yard flamingo.

The Blu-ray is packed with special features that are also entertaining. The handful of featurettes are brief and fun. Elton John’s work on the film is chronicled in “Elton Builds a Garden,” and the singer/songwriter talks about his enthusiasm for the movie’s concept.

In “Frog Talk With Ashley Jensen,” the British actress, who starred in Ricky Gervais’ Extras and voiced Phlegma the Fierce in How to Train Your Dragon, shows off her skills in bringing a plastic frog to life.

And in “The Fawn of Darkness,” Ozzy Osbourne fans will see their favorite rocker behind-the-scenes voicing the movie’s cute deer. Inspired casting, in my opinion.

The disc also has a music video for the film’s version of “Crocodile Rock” with Elton John and Nelly Furtado, two alternate endings that are basically variations of the ending that was used, and a bunch of deleted and alternate scenes. Director Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2) gives details of why the scenes were cut. It’s a plentiful list and a shame that they’re only storyboard sequences instead of final animation, but there are some cute parts that fans will enjoy.

The only thing missing from this release is a game for the youngest viewers, which Disney does usually put on its DVD and Blu-ray releases.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.