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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Movie Review: Gulliver’s Travels

Went to watch this with some of my friends some time ago when I was actually hoping to catch Warrior’s Way at the cinema that day. Unfortunately, maybe, they stopped showing it that day so we were left to choose a different movie to spend a couple hours on and our fallback movie, Tangled, wasn’t available. That left us with either this or Tron Legacy to watch and I really didn’t want to have to sit through that again so we opted for this. Frankly I’ve never liked any of Jack Black’s roles in the movies I’ve seen him in and this one just cemented my opinion of him – a noisy living indication for what movies I should stay away from. I really hated Nacho Libre by the way.

Jack Black’s latest offering to the ever increasing pile of crap they churn out over in Hollywood is just as you would imagine it to be, a story about a man-child set in the classic tale of the giant who finds himself in the classic tale’s island of Liliput where very, very, very tiny people live in a pre-tv age and view him as a giant beast. In this take of big man on tiny people island, Jack Black’s character is a guy who’s life is going nowhere and tries to impress the girl he’s taken a fancy to for the past five years by taking up a travel writing assignment despite having little to no experience with either of the necessary components of that task. He ends up going to the Bermuda Triangle where he gets caught up in this strange magical waterspout that has him washing up on the shores of Liliput and in a situation I suppose you could call an adventure.

I should start off with the biggest problem I had with the movie – either nobody on the writing team cared enough to write a good story or they hired a bunch of kids to the job. You can tell that they really aren’t bothering to use the other characters for anything and give them lines like “We are kidnapping you!”, “Oh! I am being kidnapped!” and my personal favorite, “She has been kidnapped!”. Whatever the case may be it seems that they tailored the whole thing to Jack Black and the type of acting he’s been pigeonholed into all this time and that was something I had hoped that the movie would avoid. I would have commended them for not throwing a single fart joke in there but they just had to replace it with showing a giant ass and moon us. Did I mention that at one point he had to piss floods of nasty brown liquid on a burning palace and save it? I can never unsee them and my memory continues to refuse utter and complete erasure from my brain banks.

Now let me share my thoughts on what they could have done to make the movie better – focus on the secondary characters. Though Gulliver was the eponymous main character of the movie I found that I wanted to see more of the other characters than him. I was actually cheering for the antagonist played by Chris O’Dowd, Roy of IT Crowd, who was an absolute delight to watch. I didn’t recognize him while I was watching movie but I certainly did like his take of the only sane man in Liliput. Besides that brilliant Irish funny man there was also Marshall of How I Met Your Mother fame. Both these men have shown just how much funnier they are than Jack Black in their respective shows and played their roles as best as the script would let them so I simply cannot not lament on how much better the movie could have been if they had been given more attention. The romantic subplot was just tacked onto the ridiculously predictable and unappealing main plotline and could have been explored better by having General Edward and Horatio square off against each other at some point. I mean seriously, who was actually expecting anything good out of Gulliver? Definitely not me.

In order to truly enjoy this movie I believe you’ll require two things: 1) The company of others to snark with and B) The ability to turn off your brain. I had the former but the latter would not come to me since I didn’t sneak an ice cold slushie or the like with me to give myself brainfreeze with that day. I don’t consider this a movie worth sitting down for an hour and a half at the cinema so I would suggest you don’t bother with this one unless you have elements 1 and B. If I had gone without either of these then I’d assume the people sitting next to me might mistake my ever frequent cringing for a seizure.

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