Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

*

Reviewed by: Susanna Krawczyk

Jack Black is one of those actors who keeps on doing really stupid movies despite his talent, so you can forgive me my hope that this would be another Be Kind Rewind or King Kong. Sadly it's more of a Year One. I first heard about this movie in one of those Orange ads where the phone company add some ludicrous piece of product placement and ruin the film. It turns out, however, that the film-makers have done the ruining all by themselves by having a tiny man become wedged in Jack Black's giant bumcrack.

I confess myself to be disappointed. When I realised this was going to be a real movie and not something made up for the Orange campaign I was excited - I thought that a big-budget version of Jonathan Swift's classic satire could be really interesting and that Black's casting was distinctly promising. I should have realised that the name Gulliver's Travels was merely being appropriated in order to make jokes about giant versions of Guitar Hero and extended scenes of tiny people being graphically urinated upon.

Copy picture

Speaking of Guitar Hero, despite the mocking of the Orange ads, the movie is actually pretty guilty of product placement for that game and for Apple. Witness an iPhone as tall as Chris O'Dowd! Wonder what he's doing in this movie at all! Along with Jason Segel, Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate, Emily Blunt and James Corden. O'Dowd's casting is bizarre. Every one of the Lilliputian characters is so bland and personality-free that they could have been played by the creepy CG Jeff Bridges from TRON: Legacy.

The script has one of those horrible mumbly tones where none of the actors sound convinced by what they're saying, which is something I noticed in Night At The Museum 2, as if somehow this faux-naturalistic style makes things funnier. It doesn't. It makes it sound like rubbish patter from your unfunny pal.

Black's performance is everything that you might expect. Ageing loser with wacky mannerisms and house full of Star Wars toys thinks he's a rockstar. Amanda Peet does a good job of inexplicably finding this attractive.

Frankly, I was disappointed with every aspect of this film, including the fact that it opens with some quite pretty tilt-shift photography stuff which tricks you into thinking it's not going to be so bad. I had hoped for a modern interpretation of Swiftian satire, and instead got a giant steam-powered robot giving a man a wedgie.

Reviewed on: 06 Jan 2011
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A travel writer gets shipwrecked and finds himself in a land full of really small people.
Amazon link

Director: Rob Letterman

Writer: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O'Dowd, James Corden

Year: 2010

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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