Reviews of Gulliver's Travels
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Once in a while there comes a movie that simply has it. Not only does it provide paramount enjoyment to the audience, this movie also redefines its particular genre, spawning a whole new lineup of copycat films that would want to follow its footprints. Gulliver’s Travels isn’t that movie.
This latest family film presents a modern retelling of Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel Gulliver’s Travels. We are already familiar with the story. Gulliver travels to unknown land, gets captured by little people, becomes attached to little people, escapes from little people, the end, I thank you, bow. With Jack Black helming the position of producer, you’d think his sufficient knowledge of Hollywood comedy would enable the film to at least surpass our expectations. Sadly, the end result is a film in which people would laugh at only because they are obliged to laugh. That is not a sign of a good comedy.
I’ve learned in playwright workshops that it is the characters who need to control the script, not the other way around (unless we’re talking about something like Stranger than Fiction); in Gulliver’s Travels, however, it is apparent that the conflict is forced upon Gulliver by the scriptwriters, not by the circumstances which should’ve transpired around Gulliver. The main character’s timid personality helps push the story a little but, accompanied with bad editing and abrupt transitions, scenes feel forced, removing every bit of sincerity a family movie such as this one should have.
And would you look at that? This film is not well-acted! Jack Black in this one is, er, Jack Black. You’ve seen him portray more interesting characters in the past. On the other hand, Emily Blunt in this one is, er, blunt. Pardon the pun, but that is exactly the word for her performance. I understand how she wanted her attack on Princess Mary to be over-the-top, but what we’re seeing here, unfortunately, is the actress and not the character, which is not good. Billy Connolly as King Theodore could have been the film’s hope if they have given him more time to shine, but noooooo. The only actor I can give praise here is Chris O’ Dowd, who manages to balance asshole and funny with his General Edward.
There is this particular scene near the end of Gulliver’s Travels which allows you to confirm that you are not watching a good movie. It’s like doubting if a hamburger is good or not and, on the last bite, you see a dead cockroach between the buns. Frankly, the film could have been better if the director and the scriptwriters have a certain reverence for our tastes. What we have here instead is a movie that insults our capacity to appreciate good films.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.