Wednesday, June 19, 2013
As a high school English teacher, I would use this version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to introduce Grade 9's to the story before we explored the difficult language. But the story of Romeo and Juliet is, at its core, a tragic, violent story with plenty of sexual innuendo, and this version only makes these story elements cute -- it does not remove them. Therefore, a five-year-old accustomed to TV programs such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Dora the Explorer, which are completely devoid of stressful and confusing conflict or any mature situations now has to grapple with a gnomes flirting, calling one another names (such as "pansy" or saying "shut up"), trying to destroy each other, being destroyed, and fighting in a brawl. For example, the protracted final scene where it appears Gnomeo and Juliet have died was very intense and alarming for our five-year-old. Therefore, to put it more succinctly, this is NOT a G-rated movie and it is NOT suitable for "all ages" as the film rating suggests. The adults in the audience were howling with laughter while our five-year-old was, at times, unsettled, alarmed and deeply worried, and that's the point: at the end of the day, it's still a complex Shakespearean tragedy despite being portrayed by cute gnomes.