Gnomeo & Juliet (Touchstone Pictures) – 2011

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Summary:
Here we have two suburban homes on Verona Drive: One is the home of Miss Montague; and her next door neighbor is Mr. Capulet. Miss Montague is a big fan of blue, and her prize garden is filled with blue flowers and blue ceramic garden gnomes. Mr. Capulet, on the other hand, has adorned his abode all in red, complete with red tulips, wishing well, and gnomes of his own . Each feels their garden is the best. Needless to say, the neighbors do not get along, at all. In fact, their distaste for one another has rubbed off onto their gnomes, who come to life when the house occupants are gone. Gnomeo lives in the blue garden, and is the son of Lady Bluebury, the Montague yard’s matriarch. In the red garden, posed amongst the tulips is Juliet, daughter of Lord Redbrick of the Capulet house. These two leaders love to instigate their fellow gnomes to vandalize their enemy’s yard. The humans believe the vandals to be each other. Gnomeo and Juliet each follow along with their clan in their hatred for the other yard.

Lessons:

Obviously, the backdrop of the story of Gnomeo and Juliet was patterned after William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Therefore, the viewing of this film can be a very entertaining way to introduce this literature to a child. It is not the exact story, though. In fact, this is actually discussed in the film: the fact that Gnomeo and Juliet’s story is very similar to Romeo and Juliet’s. There are plenty of opportunities for compare/contrast discussions.
Of course, both stories attack to subject of discrimination, and feuding over petty issues. Seeking revenge on people never brings about a closure to a problem. It only creates more malice and a desire for retaliation from the other party. Anger can also be a very contagious emotion, causing others around you to get caught up in it as well. This is a dangerous situation. The more people who are in on a revenge scheme, the greater the chance of someone getting hurt. And, unfortunately, it is often the innocent and unsuspecting who get hurt the most. The world is in need of less hatred, and more love. Love is a powerful emotion, and can be an amazing weapon to conquer the destruction of hate.

(If you have additional ideas on how this film can be used for educational purposes, please let us know in the comments below.)

Quotes:

Juliet: Oh, Gnomeo, Gnomeo, are we really doomed to never see each other again? Why must you wear a blue hat? Why couldn’t it be red like my father, or green like… like a leprechaun… or purple like, ummm, like some weird guy – I mean what’s in a gnome? Because you are blue, my father sees red, and because I am red, I am feeling blue. Oh, at any rate that shouldn’t be the thing to keep us apart, should it?
Gnomeo: No, no, it shouldn’t! I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Juliet: Oh, my giddy aunt, did you just hear all that? What are you doing here?
Gnomeo: I don’t know! I just wanted to, uh, [Gives a nervous chuckle] I just wanted to see you again!
Juliet: Are you crazy? If my dad finds you he’ll bury you under the patio!
Gnomeo: ‘Finds me’, are you joking? ‘Stealth’ is my middle name!
[Steps on the button which sets off a display of bright lights and loud music]

**********
Fawn: [Looking at the graffitied well] Why would anyone do this to Tybalt?
Red Good Gnomes: Because nobody likes him!

**********

Juliet: He’s a Blue!
Gnomeo: She’s a Red!
Featherstone: And I’m Pink – who cares!

**********

Featherstone: A weed by any other name is still a weed.

**********

Featherstone: I may not be a smart bird, but I know what love is.

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