Starring James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine and Ozzy Osbourne. Directed by Kelly Asbury. 84 minutes. G
Why garden gnomes? Seriously. Why? Do children have affections for them like they do cuddly bunnies and silly monkeys? Do they even know what they are? Maybe it's just an attempt at dual address, using "quirky" gnomes to pull in parents. But even then, fondness for gnomes is kind of overrated, if you ask me. They're just ugly and dirty and creepy.
But I guess some people out there think the little guys are cute, because they're the stars of this Romeo and Juliet adaptation for children. The story is basically the same, except that the rival yard-dwellers are colour-coded: red vs. blue (no, not that red vs. blue, Halo fans). And everything is translated into lawn language, ie. vehicles are lawn mowers. There's also the element of Toy Story-esque magic: inanimate garden gnomes come to life and lead dramatic lives when people aren't around.
What persuaded me that this film might be alright was the Elton John soundtrack. But after seeing the film, I just feel scammed by advertising. I love Elton John's music and I expected a couple original songs, not his hits recycled and re-purposed, and barely even that. Honestly, if this is the only compelling aspect you see in this film (and it was for me), just re-listen to his greatest hits CDs.
As far as the plot is concerned, we all know how it goes, and this film throws no twists toward the older viewers. Furthermore, there's a complete lack of passion in the titular duo's romance. Yes, it's family film, but like I said, it's clearly an attempt at dual address, and there's just not enough in it for the parents.
Laughs are also scarce. I enjoy jokes aimed at kids. I like silly and predictable children's humour. And with the grown-up gags falling flat, you'd think at least the kiddie fun would hold up. But you'd be wrong. C-
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, alternate opening and endings.