This week “Gulliver’s Travels” tells part 1 of Jonathan Swift’s classic novel. Jack Black produced the film and stars as well, along with Amanda Peet, Jason Segel, and Billy Connolly. Black earned a Worst Actor Razzie nomination for his portrayal of Gulliver. The movie was directed by Rob Letterman, known for the animated films “Monsters Vs. Aliens” and “Shark Tale.” It had a $112 million production budget, but only brought in about $43 million in domestic ticket sales. It fared much better overseas with $179 million in foreign sales. The film is rated PG for brief rude humor, mild language, and action.
Lemuel Gulliver (Black) is widely viewed as a something of a loser, working in the mail room at a daily newspaper. In an effort to impress Darcy Silverman (Peet), the travel editor he has a crush on, Gulliver decides to try his hand at writing. Silverman sends Gulliver out on assignment to investigate the Bermuda Triangle. After a storm wrecks his ship, Gulliver wakes up to find himself on the island of Lilliput. The island is inhabited by people who are 1/12th the size of normal humans. The Lilliputians, not trusting the giant, capture Gulliver and force him to work for them. When the Blefucudians, Lilliput’s rivals, attempt to kidnap the Lilliputian princess, Gulliver saves the day and becomes a hero. The Lilliputians build Gulliver a home on the island, and make him a general in their army. Gulliver is happy that he’s finally found a place where people look up to him, literally. He must find the strength to be the true hero the Lilliputians believe he is.
I wish I could say that this is the worst film I’ve seen in a long time, but “Skyline” came out a couple of months ago! Though the traditional story of Gulliver is obviously far-fetched and fantastical, the storyline has potential for a great movie. This film adaptation completely disappointed me. Of course, I expected something fairly silly with Jack Black, but some of his movies are actually brilliant, so I had my fingers crossed.
The film obviously takes great liberties with the actual storyline, but my biggest beef was the inconsistency. It’s almost like the filmmakers didn’t have a clear target demographic for their audience. The film is rated PG, which gives the impression that it’s a good family film. However, the action is sometimes too intense and scary for young children, and most of the true comedy comes from references to American culture (movies, songs, ads, etc.) that only adults would understand. While a few of these recognizable references were funny, there simply wasn’t enough humor to entertain adults. All in all, “Gulliver’s Travels” is just laughably disappointing.
0.5 popcorn kernels