Writer: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Jonathan Swift (Book)
Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd
Plot: Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.
Tagline – A magical land. A comedy of epic proportions.
Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Insults a Classic Novel
Story: Gulliver’s Travels starts when New York magazine mailman Lemuel Gulliver (Black) wanting to impress the travel editor Darcy (Peet) accepts an assignment that everyone refuses, which sees him head towards the Bermuda Triangle.
This trip sees him end up in Lilliput where he is giant compared to the residents including King Theodore (Connolly), the stuck up general Edward (O’Dowd) along with Princess Mary (Blunt) and peasant Horatio (Segel), in the land where Gulliver becomes a hero of the land.
Thoughts on Gulliver’s Travels
Characters – Lemuel Gulliver has been living inside his safety zone, where he works in a mail room for a magazine, not looking to get out of the lowest level of the magazine, seeing people come and go through the office, he doesn’t have the guts to ask out the woman of his dreams, taking an assignment he has no qualifications to be part of. Gulliver travels to a new land where the people are tiny, where he starts a revolution taking advantage of their generous natures. Horatio is a peasant that has been locked up for trying to speak to the princess, who he loves and wants to be with, he is the one that helps Gulliver learn about the world he is now part of. Princess Mary believes she is meant to be marrying the man who earns her love, rather than being allowed to get to know the person. Darcy is the travel editor for the magazine that Gulliver wants to impress, she is willing to let people in the office have an opportunity to prove them.
Performances – Jack Black brings his routine of comedy which is too immature for this story, even if he can handle the heart to heart moments well. Jason Segel does all he can with his role, while Emily Blunt clearly decides to make this over the top because of how little she wanted to be part of the movie. Chris O’Dowd is arguably the only strong part of the film when it comes to the acting, knowing he is playing an over the top villain.
Story – The story is meant to show a slacker that travels to a hidden royal kingdom where the people are tiny, here he helps take the people to the next level of the lives breaking them out of their royal ways. The problem with the story, is that it is based on a classic, which would have the same themes, only for this one to make everything about pop culture references that have completely dated becoming almost insulting to everything that it could have been. The story could easily have been about a slacker that wants to start achieving more from his life, instead of continue to show how much of a joke he is.
Adventure/Comedy – The adventure side of the film does take Gulliver to a new land he would never have imagined getting too, though his nervous approach to travelling gets forgotten too quickly here. The comedy is mostly immature jokes that won’t get many laughs in anyway.
Settings – The film does start with New York before moving to Lilliput, the problem with the setting here is the lack of scale, one minute it is just a palace, the next it feels like a big village or city, we just never learn how big this world is meant to be.
Special Effects – The effects do look clunky with how the worlds are put together trying to create the fact that Gulliver is massive in this world.
Final Thoughts – This is an insulting movie that just never reaches the heights it could when it comes to telling the incredible story of Gulliver’s visit to Lilliput like the book does, we end up with immature comedy that misses more often than it hits.
Overall: Disappointing and bland.