There is no doubt that William Shakesphere was one of the greatest writers of all time.  He wrote so many different kinds of plays and sonnets; there was almost no limit to his imagination… until now.  Sure, it’s inconceivable to think that Shakesphere could have envisioned the advent of motion pictures; but, it is reasonable he could see the many incarnations his plays have taken on the silver screen; whether he could have foreseen a group of ceramic gnomes acting out one of the greatest love stories ever told, “Romeo and Juliet” is another matter.

The filmmakers behind this movie were smart in that they immediately poke fun of themselves.  A little known comes onto a stage and addresses the audience, “The story you are about to see has been told before.  Now you’re going to see it again!”  There are two houses right next door to one another, Montague and Capulet.  One lives at 2B the other does NOT live at 2B.  Their backyards are their greatest treasure as both have the year filled with ceramic gnomes, one backyard as all blue gnomes and the other yard has all red gnomes.  When the homeowners are gone the gnomes all come to life and take care of their respective yards, while at the same time the blues and the reds are at war with each other. 

Gnomio (James McAvoy) is a blue gnome whose mother, Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) is in charge of all the blues. Juliet (Emily Blunt) is the daughter of Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine) and in case you DON’T know the story of “Romeo and Juliet” the two meet, falls in love and realize their love may be doomed considering the war going on between the two back yards.

Since this is an animated movie, it must be in 3D right?  Right!  It is in 3D but, have no fear as the 3D is good!  Animated movies are often conceived in 3D nowadays so there is little to worry about a bad conversion process taking place.  The effects go from subtle (when a water sprinkler waters a lawn) to eye-popping (a lawnmower race between the two colors). 

The movie does often some laughs for both adults and children.  Some of the jokes may be more appealing to the children in the audience rather than the adults that will accompany them.  At the same time the movie does work in a few quotes from the original play, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, but not when you might expect so those laughs may come only from the adults. 

The movie was directed by Kelly Asbury who directed “Shrek 2” so he’s got the creds to deliver a great animated movie; however, his latest endeavor can be described as “OK” at best.  The movie tries really hard to be like a Pixar feature.  The element of the gnomes only coming to life when humans aren’t around (they freeze back whenever someone comes near not matter what they are doing) is obviously much like the “Toy Story” movies.

“Gnomio and Juliet” tries to have some deeper moments where they hope audience members may feel a deep emotional connection with the characters.  There was a great montage in “Toy Story 2” where we see Jessie (Joan Cusack) gets outgrown by her original owner, Emily.  It was a huge moment in the movie as you almost forget you are watching a “carton”.  They did it again recently with “Up” as the opening montage shows Carl meeting the love of his life, Ellie as children all the way up until Ellie dies before they can go on the trip they had been planning on their whole lives.  As much as the filmmakers of “Gnomio and Juliet” would like to have this kind of moment in their film, and they do try, they do not succeed.

Still, the families who got to see the movie in advanced at City Place in West Palm Beach reacted quite positively to the movie.  There were many loud laughs and even some applauds and cheering, all positive signs of a good family film.  Elton John was a producer on the movie and provides some songs, old classics of his, for the movie.  It is rated G for general audiences.