Gnomeo & Juliet

Songs By: Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Musical Score By: James Newton Howard and Chris Bacon

Distributed by: Buena Vista Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Gnomeo & Juliet is a new animated comedy adventure from Touchstone Pictures based upon William Shakespeareís Romeo and Juliet.  Now, we all know how many different ways this story has been recreated, but this particular version is quite different from all the others.  Thatís because in this version, the love story features garden gnomes.  What?  You thought that garden gnomes were inanimate decorations that graced gardens all over the world?  Well, you thought wrong.  In fact, a war has been raging for years between red garden gnomes and blue garden gnomes and smack dab in the middle of it all are Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), two gnomes of different colors in love. 

            Animation is not the only difference between the numerous remakes of Shakespeareís classic and Gnomeo & Juliet.  The soundtrack of this film is quite another story.  Featuring songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, this film is bound to be a lot less dramatic and a great deal more fun. 

            With a career spanning four decades, Elton John has enjoyed over fifty Top 40 hits and has sold over a quarter of a billion records.  It was 1994 when Sir Elton tried his hand at writing music for an animated film with much success.  That film was The Lion King and Elton Johnís music helped propel it to the top, so itís no wonder why Touchstone Pictures, a subsidiary of Walt Disney, would want Elton John for this new animated feature. 

            Along with his longtime writing partner, Bernie Taupin, Elton John has created some of the most memorable songs and quite a few of them appear on this album, including Rocket Man, Your Song, Tiny Dancer, Bennie and the Jets, Donít Go Breaking My Heart, Saturday Nightís Alright and a new version of Crocodile Rock performed with Nellie Furtado.  New songs created for the film include Hello Hello and Love Builds a Garden, two songs about finding companionship and love that perfectly represent the theme of this film.

            The musical score of Gnomeo & Juliet was created by James Newton Howard and Chris Bacon.  An American composer, James Newton Howard toured with Elton John in the late 1970s and early 1980s, supplying keyboards, synthesizers and arranging strings on a number of Elton Johnís albums.  As a film score composer, James Newton Howard has created musical score for such well-known films as The Sixth Sense, The Fugitive, The Village, The Last Airbender, Salt and more.  Chris Bacon is also an American composer who apprenticed with James Newton Howard for a number of years before going solo to score films like Space Chimps and Waking Sleeping Beauty.

            The musical score created for this film by the duo of Howard and Bacon incorporates quite a bit of Elton John and Bernie Taupinís music mixed in with their own creations.  The mixes are clever and a spirit of action and adventure pervade, giving one the sense that romance isnít the only thing going on in this film.

            The Gnomeo & Juliet Soundtrack from Buena Vista Records comes complete with a booklet containing the lyrics from the new songs created for this film and pictures from scenes in the film.  Popping this CD into your computer allows you to access bonus content including an image gallery, a Crocodile Rock music video and the official website of Gnomeo & Juliet.  This album is great for the kids as well as us grown-ups who grew up listening to Elton John.  The Gnomeo & Juliet Soundtrack will definitely be a hit for young and old and will more than likely fly off of music shelves everywhere.


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