Everybody knows that Gnomeo and Juliet is coming. What I want to know is, do you care? How much? You could see this as a warning sign of the apocalypse, I suppose - animated musical Shakespeare with talking garden gnomes?
Not me. As I'm sure everybody realizes, I'm downright irrational about this. It's Disney. Talking about Shakespeare. In wide release. This is the dream! I first mentioned Disney adaptations of Shakespeare back in March, 2006. I absolutely positively dream of a world where children from the time they can be plopped down in front of a television set can watch, over and over again, a DVD of Midsummer Night's Dream or Tempest or Twelfth Night....or yes, even a tamed Romeo and Juliet. Long time followers of the blog know that I've been pursuing that dream down whatever avenue I can. Sure, I think that The Tempest is a much better choice (among other things you can embrace the ending instead of rewriting it!!), but I digress.
Nobody, but nobody, teaches Shakespeare to three year olds. It's madness. Well, duh, obviously not nobody because you all know that I'm doing it so by definition there could be others as well, that's not my point. My point is that my kids, at this age, will in all likelihood never meet another child their age that has the kind of Shakespeare exposure they do. As they get older that's obviously changing, but remember I've been at this game for 4+ years now, and when my 4yr old son runs up to one of his friends and says, "Hey Matt! To be or not to be!" I've yet to see another little 4yr old say, "That is the question!"
But imagine a scenario where you get to lead with this, instead: "Hey, have you taken the kids to the new Disney movie yet?" Now imagine how many Yes answers you get. Now take every 4 yr old that saw the movie and ask them what it was about, and listen to them tell you how Gnomeo and Juliet want to be together but their parents won't let them. Well, being 4yr olds they're more likely to remember the various fart jokes that I'm sure abound, but once you buy the inevitable DVD and they've had a chance to watch it 20 times? And buy the merchandise? My 4yr old can tell you the story of Buzz and Woody or Shrek and Donkey at the drop of a hat, so I have no reason to think that the story of Gnomeo and Juliet would be any different.
I know, sadly, that this is almost certainly not going to happen. I may know that this is a Disney-backed production, but that doesn't mean that they're leading with the Disney brand. I don't see a Magic Kingdom logo and Tinkerbell giving that little sparkly blessing. It's Touchstone. Touchstone is good, don't get me wrong. But Touchstone isn't a merchandising machine, and my kids certainly don't know their Touchstone from their Miramax. I expect that this movie will be average, at best. And when you ask if people have seen it, maybe you'll get half the number of Yes answers that you would if it was a true Disney production. I highly doubt that we'd ever see merchandising. My kids are unlikely to get stuffed garden gnomes.
....but just imagine if they *did*. It makes me happy to dream about that.