R&J for kids or not? Goes Gnomy…
Romeo and Juliet, most people know of these two “star-cross’d lovers” from the countless portrayals in film, television or books. While most people encounter this story of love during their teenage years and it may somehow be hard for kids to fully understand what it is all about. Gnomeo and Juliet, the most recent film portrayal of the epic masterpiece of Shakespeare has become an attempt to make the classic understandable and likable by kids even though they might not see the connection between the two stories. Who knows, this might become a milestone for the Shakespearean language to reach kids of ages below teens. Would it be possible for kids to understand Romeo and Juliet, the way they should?
This movie somewhat deviates from the characterizations of the two lovers from the book. In the book Shakespeare portrayed Romeo and Juliet as two lovers who embodies the phrase, “You and me against the world”. Romeo and Juliet could not care less about their parents and do whatever their hearts desire. In Gnomeo and Juliet, they seek to help their parents and make them recognize their value for the family. This might be due to the fact that the characteristics of Romeo and Juliet in the book, would be too much for children to incorporate in their development (it would be bothersome for parents to go through with kids rebelling and going against their parents, that would be hell). The value of family, friendship, heroism and love were really evident due to the target audience of the movie, this may be on the contrary with the book, which may need a bit of more understanding.
For the most part of the movie, it was completely different from what one would expect. Maybe this wasn’t an attempt to make kids taste the passion of Romeo and Juliet, but rather this was just a random use of Shakespeare’s text as a concept for a movie. For the record, allusions were drawn from the book but the situations were different.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow…”
Death was certainly a big part of the book Romeo and Juliet, but in the movie death was regarded as impossible for both the main characters. This was maybe because children would most of the time associate themselves with the hero and heroine that dying would have a big impact on their psyche, trauma is also possible.
Nanette the frog, telling Juliet that the romance would end with a tragedy.
William Shakespeare is even saying that the life of Gnomeo and Juliet should be more like the ill-fated Romeo and Juliet, but they did otherwise. Romeo was able to save Juliet, thus saving their families from ruin and ultimately ending the feud of the two sides. This might be the director’s way on letting children see what is Romeo and Juliet, making it contrast to Gnomeo and Juliet.
Does this mean that kids would never understand the value of Romeo and Juliet’s romance? Wouldn’t they be able to see that the death of these “star-cross’d lovers” was a way for their families to reconcile and let them see how child-like and stubborn their parents acted. Romeo and Juliet see each other even against their families wills because they see that the feud of their families has always been reconcilable. The movie was just a confirmation that kids would never be able to understand the true story of Romeo and Juliet, the meaning of their passion for each other and their constant questioning of the feud that’s tearing their relationship into pieces.
2 BS Management
Ateneo de Manila University