Friday, December 31, 2010

Gulliver's Travels

Year: 2010
Director: Rob Letterman
Cast: Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Billy Connolly, Chris O'Dowd

Remember the story Gulliver's Travels about an adventurer who winds up on an island filled with tiny people? Hollywood finally decided to make a movie out of it.

Jack Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, a laidback mail room clerk who has a major crush on Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet), who writes for a travel column. In an attempt to impress her, Gulliver takes up an assignment to write about his extensive travelling experience, even when he actually does not have any.

So he plagiarises other travel columns to write a nice article for her, and Darcy is so impressed that she sends him on an assignment to the Bermuda Triangle. Gulliver goes there by boat on his own, when he is suddenly sucked up into a waterspout. When he awakens, he finds himself being taken prisoner by an army of little people no taller than six inches!

Soon he learns he is on the island of Lilliput, and is now regarded as a beast because of his size. He befriends fellow inmate Horatio (Jason Segel), who is imprisoned because of attempting to court Princess Mary (Emily Blunt). One day, Gulliver succeeds in preventing a kidnapping attempt on the princess by invading forces and is subsequently declared a hero by her father King Theodore (Billy Connolly). Gulliver, who now enjoys accolades he had never received in his life before, makes up a bunch of stories about his identity in order to impress the Lilliputians.

However, the head of the Lilliputian army, General Edward (Chris O'Dowd) is furious over being replaced by Gulliver as the island's hero, and hatches a plan to eliminate him.

The one thing that impressed me first about Gulliver's Travels is the special effects. They successfully made it look like Jack Black is communicating with little people, physically manhandling them or being manhandled in return etc. And since it's Jack Black we're talking about, you know what kind of comedy to expect. The crass, occasionally low brow and mostly spontaneous humour. Black still manages to pull it off here, even though he's been way better in previous films.

However, despite all that, the film comes off as very mediocre. Black is fun to watch, but he doesn't have the best material to work with here. The script makes the film look more suited for children, leaving very little for adults to have fun with. Perhaps that's what director Rob Letterman was aiming for, to entertain the young ones. But it would have been nice if the older audience members have something to laugh at here.

On a brighter note, Emily Blunt does a good job hamming things up as Princess Mary, while Billy Connolly is a tad underused as King Theodore. Chris O'Dowd makes a good villain as General Edward, and Jason Segel is spot on as Gulliver's sidekick Horatio.

An average Jack Black vehicle to end the year with. I should have watched Tron Legacy already. (By the way, you might want to leave the hall when Jack Black starts to sing Edwin Starr's War at the end, it was really cheesy.) (3/5)

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...