Gnomeo & Juliet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not the greatest animated transfer I’ve seen, the image appeared solid.
Only a wee smidgen of softness occurred. A few wide shots were a tad iffy, but those were minor complaints. The vast majority of the flick seemed tight and well-defined. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no signs of edge haloes or DNR. Source flaws remained totally absent as well.
Colors became a highlight. The movie enjoyed a broad palette, with a good range of hues. A wide variety of other tones appeared as well, and all of them looked rich and dynamic. Blacks were dark and deep, and I thought shadows seemed smooth and clear. I felt consistently pleased with the transfer.
Though also not killer, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked fine. My only complaint related to the quality of the music, which seemed a bit lackluster. The film relied on Elton John songs – some from his original recordings, some reworked as score – and these failed to deliver great punch. They didn’t sound bad, but they were thinner than expected.
Other aspects of the track worked better. Speech was always natural and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Effects seemed lively and distinctive; they didn’t have a ton to do, but they showed good accuracy and heft.
While the soundfield wasn’t terribly involving, it had its moments. The movie came with a few action-oriented sequences that added some fun; these created a good sense of life and moved around the room well. General atmosphere was also fine, as the film conveyed the garden settings in a satisfying way. Nothing here excelled – and the lackluster music disappointed – but the mix remained positive enough for “B-“.
A few extras fill out the release. Elton Builds a Garden runs five minutes, 47 seconds and includes notes from executive producer/composer Elton John, director Kelly Asbury, producers Baker Bloodworth, Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish, composer James Newton Howard, musician Davey Johnstone and actor Michael Caine. “Builds” looks at some basics of the film’s development. It’s a pretty rudimentary “making of” featurette; it provides a few decent notes – mostly about the music – but don’t expect a lot from it. I do like Johnstone’s description of Elton’s “chicken sandwich songs”, though.
Next we get cut footage. This includes two Alternate Endings with Filmmaker Introductions (4:05) and eight Deleted and Alternate Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions (42:25). Under the former, we see “Alternate Opening” (4:12), “Featherstone’s Game” (2:32), “First Date – Alternate Scene” (5:03, “Game On” (3:12), “Gnomeo Exiled – Deleted Sequence” (8:31), “Wedding Ruse” (8:08), “Featherstone, Shroom and Gnomeo” (2:50) and “Gnomeo Meets the Weathervanes” (1:39). The two alternate endings are entirely forgettable. They offer no new/different story or character information; they’re just alternate ways to end the flick on a happy and peppy note.
As for the deleted/alternate scenes, they vary in quality. Some are pretty entertaining, and we see some intriguing threads/differences; for instance, Featherstone was originally more of a 60s burnout sort. I don’t know if any of these pieces would’ve been good in the final flick, but they’re enjoyable to see.
All of the clips open with introductions from director Kelly Asbury. He tells us a bit about the scenes and usually lets us know why he cut/altered the material. He delivers useful and interesting thoughts.
Two more featurettes follow. Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen goes for one minute, 46 seconds and throws out notes from Asbury, John, and actor Ashley Jensen. She offers a few remarks about performing in an animated film. Though brief, this is a fun piece, and we get some entertaining shots from the studio.
The Fawn of Darkness lasts one minute, 29 seconds and provides statements from Asbury and actor Ozzy Osborne. It follows the same template as “Frog Talk” and is also enjoyable if too brief.
Lastly, we discover a Music Video for Nelly Furtado’s short cover of “Crocodile Rock”. Her rendition is cutesy at best, and the video is nothing more than a mix of movie bits and recording studio footage. Blah!
The Blu-ray opens with ads for Winnie the Pooh, SpookyBuddies: The Curse of the Howlloween Hound, and The Lion King. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for The Fox and the Hound, The Fox and the Hound II, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, Dumbo and the Epic Mickey Wii game.
Finally, a second platter provides a DVD Copy of Gnomeo. If you want to own the film but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable – or if you just want one to tote in the car - it’s a good bonus, especially since it appears to be the same as the version you’d buy on its own.
Combine Shakespeare with Toy Story - and leave out the former’s tragedy and the latter’s cleverness – and you get Gnomeo and Juliet. While not a bad animated flick, this one lacks much real spark; it delivers moderate amusement and nothing more. The Blu-ray offers very good visuals, decent audio and a few interesting supplements. Gnomeo offers credible but ordinary animated fun.