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GNOMEO & JULIET ($40) is an amusing bit of family fun very loosely adapted from Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy Romeo & Juliet. Central to the Shakespearian play and this animated adaptation is the feud that exists between two households and the star-crossed lovers that emerge from opposite sides of the feud. However, in GNOMEO & JULIET the feuding households are the neighboring homes of the elderly Mr. Capulet (voiced by Richard Wilson) and the elderly Mrs. Montague (voiced by Julie Walters), who choice of lawn decorations are the source of their bad blood. The Montague yard is populated with blue garden gnomes, while the Capulet yard is home to red garden gnomes. When no humans are around… said lawn gnomes come to life and enact the feud that exists between the two households.

Lawnmower racing has replaced sword fighting in GNOMEO & JULIET, with Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) representing the blues and Tybalt (Jason Statham) representing the reds. Tybalt cheats to win the latest race, which leaves lawnmower wreckage in its wake, and Gnomeo out for a bit of revenge. Of course, Gnomeo’s plans for revenge go awry, which forces him into a deserted garden where he encounters Juliet (Emily Blunt), who has come to pick an orchid from the dilapidated neighboring greenhouse. As expected, romance blossoms between the two garden gnomes, but there are numerous obstacles in the path of true love… none the least of which is the feud between to blues and the reds. The vocal talent behind GNOMEO & JULIET also includes Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Maggie Smith, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant, Patrick Stewart, Hulk Hogan, Kelly Asbury and Dolly Parton.

Touchstone Home Entertainment has made GNOMEO & JULIET available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. GNOMEO & JULIET features a rather terrific 1080p presentation, which is exactly what one should expected from any newly produced CGI animated film. In the current fashion, GNOMEO & JULIET has been transferred directly from the digital files, and therefore, the image on this Blu-ray is as close to computer-generated perfection as one is likely to find. Texturing of the 3D objects, characters and backgrounds is excellent, with every bit of fine detail coming across perfectly. In addition, the image provides first-rate sharpness sharpness, clarity and dimensionality. GNOMEO & JULIET has a bright, bold and striking color palette, with all the hues appearing fully saturated, yet completely stable. Blacks are pitch perfect, while the whites demonstrate the same kind of straight from the computer realm perfection. Additionally, contrast has the appropriate digital smoothness of a CGI production. As I stated above, the presentation comes directly from the digital files, so there is no grain, nor will one find any visual imperfections in the image.

GNOMEO & JULIET is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Like the visuals, GNOMEO & JULIET delivers the goods in the audio department. This is a fairly terrific sounding track that benefits from a nicely directional implementation, as well as making use of the humorous quality to the sound effects. Panning between channels seems effortless. Of course, GNOMEO & JULIET is also something of a musical, insomuch that if features numerous songs by Elton John. Thanks to the lossless encode, the Elton John songs, as well as the James Newton Howard musical score, are greatly enhanced. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. The bass channel adds all the necessary reinforcement that the track requires, which isn’t all that much. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc, as have English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Featurettes and other programs include: Elton Builds A Garden (six minutes), Frog Talk With Ashley Jensen (two minutes) and The Fawn Of Darkness (one minute). Alternate Endings With Filmmaker Introductions, Deleted and Alternate Scenes With Filmmaker Introductions and a Music Video for the song Crocodile Rock featuring Nelly Furtado and Elton John close out the standard extras. Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray.

GNOMEO & JULIET is cute, amusing, inoffensive family fun. The Blu-ray presentation rocks and makes for a worthwhile acquisition for family fun night. Recommended.


Gnomeo & Juliet (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo) (2011)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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