Sunday, May 13, 2012

A local love story, with a twist.

Today I watched Gnomeo and Juliet on a TV screen the size of a Volkswagen bus. I sat on a big bed with the three year old I was babysitting and snuggled with her while we watched. I've never seen a screen that big in a private home...yikes. The movie was in English (with English helpful) and she kept re-telling the story in Italian and telling me to stop laughing at the parts she didn't think were funny.

I haven't seen the movie before but I really wanted to so I was happy when she picked this movie. I am just a few hours from the city where Romeo and Juliet lived, if the legends can be trusted. Sadly, while the story is great (and obviously timeless) the gnomes kinda freaked me out a little bit. And their English accents only made it stranger for me. Which is wrong, I know. I mean, why not English accents? Shakespeare was English. They just sounded a little rough around the edges to Gnomeo probably had some tough tattoos under his blue smock and Juliet was hiding fishnet stockings under that oh-so-quaint peasant dress.

Maybe it's just that gnomes are the sort of inanimate object that are kind of creepy when they come to life.  I have no problem with Thomas the Train, all those machines in Cars, or household furnishings in Beauty and the Beast. Of course in those movies the animators pasted a human face on objects that don't have them. Gnomes already have a face and we know it...and we know that those faces are frozen into one expression that never, ever changes. Until this movie.

Maybe I read too many Scandanavian folk stories when I was young that featured clever and impish elves, trolls and yes, gnomes. They were, in fact, always up to no good and couldn't be trusted. The illustrations always had an evil glint in the eye....

It would have been OK if they looked like, say, the seven dwarfs. Cute and cuddly and maybe just a little needy. Instead they looked angry and sturdy and like they were carrying a large plaster chip on their shoulders. Maybe it's just that the screen was so big and the room so small that they seemed more intimidating than they really were. Whatever the cause, the result was that I left their house today a little on edge.

So now I'm home...alone...and trying to shake the feeling that just around the corner skulks a cute yet deadly plaster figurine of an imaginary creature plotting my demise. Or just waiting to scare the shit out of me. I know we don't have any garden gnomes (hell, we don't even have a garden), but I don't know about the neighbors. And if the movie can be trusted...those guys don't stay in their own garden. I think I'll stay in the kitchen till Leif gets home.

Oh..and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

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