William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has been, shall we say, previously refurbished for the big screen by the likes of Baz Luhrmann and was even the basis for the eloquently-titled Jet Li action film, Romeo Must Die.  Now we have yet another cinematic rendition of the classic play – the CGI animated Gnomeo and Juliet.

Touchstone Pictures has released the first official trailer for Gnomeo and Juliet, which re-envisions the dueling houses of Capulet and Montague as garden gnomes with red hats and blue hats, respectively.  One of the ceramic figures dressed in blue, the bearded Gnomeo (voice of James McAvoy), falls in love with a lady (Emily Blunt) who wears a red cap.  Needless to say, utter chaos ensues.

This comical cartoon was directed by Kelly Asbury of Shrek 2 fame and boasts a handful of old and new songs from music legend Elton John.  In addition to McAvoy and Blunt, the film also features the voice talents of Michael Caine, Maggic Smith, Patrick Stewart and – bizarrely enough – both Jason Statham and Ozzy Osbourne.

The Gnomeo and Juliet trailer (which can be viewed below) contains ceramic gnomes flinging tomatoes at one another, having lawnmower races, and accidentally setting off lawn ornaments that play the theme song for Disney’s Tiki Room attraction.  In case it was not clear, this is a kid’s movie.

Gnomeo and Juliet looks to contain some colorful bits of animation, though nothing as refined and textured as the work of Dreamworks or Pixar.  Most of the jokes will probably go over best with really young moviegoers – though I am not convinced that even they aren’t tired of lame Matrix-parody fights at this point.

The film is slated for release during the early portion of next year – a.k.a., the months Hollywood generally reserves for dumping its worst products into theaters. Early prediction: this cartoon will have a short and quiet run at the box office.

Gnomeo and Juliet arrives in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on February 11th, 2011.

Source: iTunes Trailers

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