Movie Review: Gulliver’s Travels
Release Date: December 25th
Rated PG for some limited violence
Running time: 85 minutes
Rob Letterman (dir.)
Joe Stillman (writer)
Nicholas Stoller (writer)
Based on the novel by Johnathan Swift
Henry Jackman (music)
Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver
Jason Segel as Horatio
Emily Blunt as Princess Mary
Amanda Peet as Darcy Silverman
Billy Connolly as King Theodore
Chris O’Dowd as General Edward
T.J. Miller as Dan
James Corden as Jinks
©20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
Gulliver (Jack Black) and the tiny Lilliputian Horatio (Jason Segal) in Gulliver’s Travels
Our reviews below:
Gulliver’s Travels Review By John C.
*** (out of 4)
Working for The New York Tribune, Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) takes a writing assignment in order to get out of the mailroom and closer to his crush, travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet). He goes on a research trip to the Bermuda Triangle, but ends up sucked through a vortex that takes him on a detour to the tiny island of Lilliput.
On Lilliput, he is a giant that towers over the residents. Quickly becoming a hero on the island, he fast becomes friends with Horatio (Jason Segal), who is awkwardly trying to court Princess Mary (Emily Blunt). Some of the funniest scenes come from the way that Gulliver introduces the world of movies and popular culture to the old-fashioned residents.
The supporting actors are all good in this all-star comedy – particularly Jason Segal, but this really is Jack Black’s show. If you are of the camp that can’t stand the funny man, then Gulliver’s Travels will likely grow on your nerves. But those of us who are often amused by his brand of innocent humour, are surely gonna get a kick out of the movie.
Gulliver’s Travels is at it’s weakest when the humour is squarely aimed at younger kids, but the film is saved by a good script that allows for a lot of surprisingly clever dialogue. Climaxing with an arguably needless robot battle, followed by an impromptu song and dance number, this is also perhaps the most outrageous and bizarre family movie of the year. But there is a sincerity to the ridiculousness that’s coupled with an appealing amount of manic energy.
The digital 3D is always good, but this is a film that doesn’t really benefit from the third dimension. Either way, Gulliver’s Travels is nothing more than a fun diversion that will prove a good choice for those of all ages. And make sure you arrive early for the suitably brilliant Ice Age short that plays before the film, Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up.
Gulliver’s Travels Review By Erin V.
*** (out of 4)
There have been many variations on Gulliver’s Travels over the years, whether in print or otherwise. Most of us know the basic story – at least the part where Gulliver ends up in Lilliput. This film focuses mostly on Lilliput as well in this contemporary set adaptation.
Jack Black plays Gulliver – a guy who works at the mail room of The New York Tribune. In an attempt to talk to the woman he likes upstairs, he says that he also writes and she encourages him to submit a sample of his writing. Liking what he submits, she send him out on his first assignment to do a travel piece about the Bermuda Triangle. There, he gets sucked through a vortex which spits him out onto the shores of Lilliput, where he is considered a giant.
Once he wins the locals approval (all except the stuck-up General), the place starts to grow on him and he is more than happy to help them out in their troubles with the rival islanders of Blefuscians.
I quite liked the Lilliputians here and the way that they interacted with each other and their whole world. A lot of the stuff here does go all over the place, but if you like Jack Black’s kind of humour I think you’ll at least enjoy it here. Granted, a few of the jokes are clearly pandering to the kids in the audience, although for the most part, adults won’t mind coming along for the ride.
Overall, this is a fine one to take the family to over the holidays, but unless the kids want the novelty, the 3D is take-it-or-leave-it, better for the fun Scrat short beforehand, than the actual film. Gulliver’s Travels is silly, but fun.
Gulliver’s Travels Review By Nicole
*** (out of 4)
Most people remember the fairy tale about the man who gets stranded on the island of little people. Jack Black stars as Lemuel Gulliver in this modern retelling of the classic story. In this version, Gulliver is a nerdy mail clerk who pretends to be a travel writer in order to impress Darcy (Amanda Peet), a travel editor whom he fancies. He is assigned to report on the Bermuda Triangle, a mysterious place that is shrouded in rumours but ends up transported by a waterspout into Lilliput, an island of tiny people.
Captured as a “giant beast,” Gulliver befriends Horatio (Jason Segal), a Lilliputian who was imprisoned for being attracted to Princess Mary (Emily Blunt), who is already engaged to General Edward (Chris O’ Dowd). But once the Lilliputians realize how useful Gulliver can be, they release him, and he becomes a sort of hero after saving them from their enemy, the equally tiny Blefuscians. But General Edward has other plans that aren’t so good. Can Gulliver solve Lilliput’s problems in a peaceful way?
Gulliver’s Travels is a funny movie that keeps the spirit of the classic fantasy. Jack Black is funny in his usual way, and I really liked how Gulliver’s modern ways are perceived in a society that is centuries behind ours. His mere presence begins to modernize things in a positive way. I also liked Jason Segal as Horatio. His interactions with Jack Black are perfect.
While some of the humour was for a younger audience, there is still enough here to entertain adults. The mock Olde English has almost a Monty Python quality to it. I also enjoyed the homage to epic films. I don’t want to spoil every moment, but I will say that Gulliver’s Travels is a fun movie that the whole family can enjoy.
Gulliver’s Travels Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Gulliver’s Travels is based on the classic children’s adventure story by Jonathan Swift. In this movie version, Jack Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, the mail clerk turned travel writer who ends up sailing through the Bermuda Triangle to the island of Lilliput. Gulliver is captured by the tiny six-inch tall Lilliputians living on the island, and he is both impressed and amused by the tiny olde English people who take themselves quite seriously.
Gulliver manages to win over the residents when he saves them from enemy attack and a castle fire, which leads to the one gross-out scene in the movie. He also forms a friendship with one particular Lilliputian, Horatio, who’s nicely played by Jason Segal.
The scenes with various Lilliputians acting out movies and video games for Gulliver’s entertainment are clever and often hilarious, but the funniest scene for me has to be when Gulliver is transported to the island of real giants and ends up dressed as a dollhouse doll complete with party dress and hairbow.
The humour in this film is classic Jack Black, and I really enjoyed his performance as Gulliver. Some will think it is too silly for such a classic tale but I thought it had just the right balance of slapstick humour and clever dialogue. This is a very funny and family friendly adventure. The closing number involving the song “War” sealed the deal for me. Gulliver’s Travels is a trip worth taking especially for families over the holidays. Jack Black is back.
Gulliver’s Travels Review By Tony
*** (out of 4)
Newspaper mail room slacker Gulliver (Jack Black) has a crush on the travel writer (Amanda Peet) and offers to go write about the Bermuda Triangle. Caught in a vortex, he ends up in Lilliput where he is at first imprisoned by its tiny citizens, then commended by the king (Billy Connolly) for his natural firefighting ability and invited to be their champion against a rival kingdom. His friendship with the commoner Horatio (Jason Segel) and support of Horatio’s wooing of Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) antagonizes the conceited General Edward (Chris O’Dowd) to whom Mary was betrothed. After a brief exile to the island where Gulliver is the tiny one trapped in a girl’s dollhouse, he returns to Lilliput and eventually home to live happily ever after.
As expected, Gulliver’s Travels is really a vehicle for Jack Black, with only a passing resemblance to the eighteenth century satire that inspired it, and that is just fine. Aside from size differences, the inevitable cultural clashes between Black’s stock slacker dude persona and the Lilliputians with their archaic British accents provide lots of laughs around a rather thin storyline. The supporting cast is all good, particularly Jason Segel in a straight man role for a change. The necessary special effects are impressive, and marginally better in 3D if you can afford it.
Consensus: With a winning performance by Jack Black, and a script that allows for some surprisingly clever dialogue, Gulliver’s Travels is a fun adventure that the whole family can enjoy. *** (Out of 4)