REVIEW: GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
SYNOPSIS: In a modern, 3D family comedy take on the classic tale, Jack Black (star of “Kung Fu Panda” and “ School of Rock ”) is Lemuel Gulliver, a lowly mailroom clerk at a New York newspaper. After Gulliver bluffs his way into an assignment writing about the Bermuda Triangle, he goes there only to be transported to an undiscovered land, Lilliput. In this fantastical new world, Gulliver is, at last, a bigger-than-life figure -- in size and ego – especially after he starts telling tall tales, taking credit for his world’s greatest inventions, and placing himself at the center of its most historic events. Gulliver’s position is enhanced even further when he leads his new friends in a daring battle against their longtime enemies. But when Gulliver loses it all and puts the Lilliputians in peril, he must find a way to undo the damage. Ultimately, Gulliver becomes a true giant among men only when he learns that it’s how big you are on the inside that counts.
REVIEW: I don’t know what generation you’re from, but in my time (can’t believe I’m saying that), Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was required reading. Dr. Lemuel Gulliver is shipwrecked and washes up on the shore where out of exhaustion he falls asleep only to wake up surrounded and captured by the tiny people of Liliput. As you go to see this film, know that this is where all comparisons end.
In this interpretation (if I can call it that), Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) is not Dr. Lemuel Gulliver as in the original story. As a matter of fact, he is basically your run of the mill underachiever, working in the mailroom of a newspaper and simply not aspiring to have kind of a life. He’s too shy to hit on the cute travel writer, Darcy (Amanda Peet), doesn‘t even try to have any kind of a social life. At the urging of new mailroom employee, Dan (T.J. Miller) , Gulliver attempts to ask her out but loses his nerve and instead applies for a position as a travel writer. After a little plagiarism, Gulliver gets an assignment to investigate the Bermuda Triangle and thus, the adventure begins. As I mentioned before, other than being shipwrecked and landing in Liliput, this movie has nothing in common with the original story. This Gulliver discovers that even in small packages, large personalities exist.
My boys and I are huge fans of Jack Black, and we were looking forward to seeing him in this fantasy film. Joshua and Ralphie were excited to see Jack in this, but since its been a while since we’ve seen him in anything, were afraid that he might of lost his touch. We’ve seen School of Rock at my home at least a dozen times and if it were to come on TV tomorrow, we’d sit right down and see it again. That said, Jack did not disappoint. That said, you have to be a Jack Black fan to feel the same way that we did about this film. That, or you must be between the ages of 7 and 14 (or a mom who refuses to have grown up tastes) to really enjoy it. Emily Blunt as Princess Mary is as regal as ever, but only in appearance. Emily’s performance is comedic and sweet all at the same time. And having Jason Segal as Horatio, a Lilliputian imprisoned simply for being in love with Princess Mary, along with Jack Black and Amanda Peet in this film is a combination that I just couldn’t resist. That combo makes you wonder why Jack isn’t doing the same kind of edgier comedy that Segal has been involved in with the Cohen brothers. Personally, I think it would truly work. But enough of that.
The performances in this film, as aforementioned are good. Who can resist Billy Connolly as Clueless King Theodore? I’m not very familiar with actor Chris O’Dowd, but his dry wit (and good looks) is quite the hoot as he plays General Edward, Gulliver’s nemesis and Princess Mary‘s intended. His idea of “courting” cracked me up.
The scenery for this adventure is limited to the kingdom and castles of Liliput, but looks like a place that I would like to be shipwrecked on (not as a giant of course). You will be surprised to see how the Lilliputians help Gulliver make himself at home in this tiny kingdom, once he convinces them he’s kind of a big deal (pun intended) back where he comes from. As movie buffs, the boys and I enjoyed the built in movie trivia as Gulliver regales the Lilliputians with stories about his over the top (and over inflated) adventures as President of Manhattan (I did mention that he’s kind of a big deal, right). You see, I believe, that if this story has a moral, it would be that you don’t have to go to a place where little people live to find the full size of who you can be.
If you like Jack Black, as we do, or you’ve got kids that will enjoy Jack’s kind of silliness, go see this movie and have a laugh filled family time
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