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Emma Speaks: 'Gnomeo and Juliet' is the best Shakespeare adaptation ever

The average person doesn’t get particularly excited when they hear the word “Shakespeare.” A lot of times, Shakespeare is seen as old, tired, boring and hard to understand. Thus, there have been plenty of modern retellings of Shakespeare classics that attempt to breathe new life into some of his work. “10 Things I Hate About You,” a rom-com I have cried to more times than I would like to admit, is based off of “The Taming of the Shrew.” “She’s The Man” with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum is a near direct adaptation of “Twelfth Night.” Shakespeare was writing classic teen movies without even realizing it! 

Finally, there is the whole slew of “Romeo and Juliet” adaptations. The one made in the '90s with Leonardo Dicaprio, “Warm Bodies,” which is essentially the same story but with zombies, and of course one of the greatest “West Side Story.”

However, the best one of them all undoubtedly is a seminal classic, a masterpiece of its time and generation defining. Yes, I am talking about the 2011 classic “Gnomeo and Juliet.” The movie is essentially a direct retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,” except all of the characters are garden props. Juliet’s confidante is a raunchy frog that spurts water out of her mouth because she’s a piece of a water fixture in their backyard. Fawn is a deer statue that is best friends with Tybalt, who is Gnomeo’s biggest hater. 

Arguably, one of the greatest aspects of the movie is that the entire soundtrack is Elton John music. Yes, you heard me right. The opening scene is a lawnmower race between Tybalt and Gnomeo, led by a country gnome (who is literally voiced by Dolly Parton) where the entire crowd sings “Saturday Night’s Alright.” Any movie that involves Dolly Parton in any way has to be a good one. 

Lady Gaga is featured on “Hello, Hello,” the song that plays when Gnomeo and Juliet first connect on top of a greenhouse that they are both attempting to rob. It sounds bizarre, but that is why it all works. It’s just completely unserious on all levels and that exact thing is what makes it the best adaptation. 

The story of Romeo and Juliet is essentially household knowledge at this point, so any sort of adaptation that doesn’t at least attempt to veer from the source material has to do quite a bit to make it stand out. The Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth movie that came out in 2013 completely flopped, with poor reviews all around. It didn’t do anything hardly different from the original, and so no one cared!

Arguably the best scene in “Gnomeo and Juliet” that really solidifies its cult classic status (in my eyes) involves the lawn flamingo. The lawn flamingo has arguably a more tragic story than "Romeo and Juliet." He sings an emotional ballad titled “Love Builds a Garden” to talk about how the fight between the two lawns ultimately ended him and his flamingo wife’s marriage. This is gut-wrenching stuff! This is a huge turning point in the plot and is ultimately what wraps up the movie’s main conflict.

If you love Shakespeare, gardens, gnomes, various wildlife décor pieces, Elton John or just having a good time then you should watch the best Shakespeare adaptation of all time, "Gnomeo and Juliet."

Emma Erion is a sophomore studying Journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Emma know by emailing her

Emma Erion

Managing Editor

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