Black is Bigger Than Ever
So to put things into context "Gulliver's Travels" is not an adaptation of Jonathan Swift's original stories, it is not a modern update of those stories but takes a few ideas, names and locations and builds a new children's movie. In doing so the depth of Swift's stories has been lost and instead replaced by pop culture references from movies to rock music aimed at amusing children. Now to me that isn't a terrible thing as whilst fans of Swift's stories will be disappointment children will find this version of "Gulliver's Travels" amusing with Lilliputians re-enacting scenes from "Star Wars" and "Titanic". But unfortunately it still doesn't work thanks to gags which to me shouldn't be in a movie aimed at children and unfortunately Jack Black basically playing Jack Black again.
Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black - Tropic Thunder) resides in the mail room of a magazine having made an easy life for himself for the last 10 years. But secretly he fancies Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet - 2012) the travel editor and when he goes to ask her out he bottles it, instead applying for a job as a travel writer. That moment of being a chicken not only leads him on his first job to the Bermuda Triangle but when a strange fog engulfs his boat he ends up in the world of Lilliput where suddenly he finds himself no longer a loser but a giant amongst these little people. But whilst many welcome his presence, especially Horatio (Jason Segel - I Love You, Man) who heeds his advice about wooing Princess Mary (Emily Blunt), General Edward (Chris O'Dowd) dislikes him and will do anything to rid the land of him.
So as already mentioned "Gulliver's Travels" is not an adaptation of Swift's stories but one which takes various recognizable elements and works them into a modern story. That modern story is shallow and for all the jealousy of General Edward is really all about the various pop culture references which get worked into the mix. Now whilst not exactly clever the various movies which the Lilliputians re-enact are amusing as are scenes where Gulliver has Horatio wooing the Princess with lyrics from "Kiss". In fact most of the pop culture references work and whilst not exactly great entertainment for grown ups a battle which involves a Transformer will be fun for younger eyes.
But here is where I have an issue because thrown into the mix are some questionable moments of humour which to me don't really belong in a family movie. I'm not on about various wedgie jokes as they are tame but I am on about a scene where Gulliver extinguishes a fire in Lilliput. Now I am sure young children will find it hilarious and deliver the appropriate response of "eeugh" but it just doesn't feel like a thing a parent would want their child to watch. Maybe I am wrong, maybe it is just me but these occasional scenes surrounding body parts and fluid just didn't feel right.
What also doesn't feel right is Jack Black as Gulliver because we basically have Jack Black playing rock n roll loving Jack Black. I suppose it is amusing but we've seen it all before and it becomes tiresome after a while when he throws out another vocal riff. Yet ironically Jack Black is probably the best thing about the movie because the rest of the cast which includes Chris O'Dowd, Amanda Peet, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel and Billy Connolly end up equally even sometimes more annoying.
What this all boils down to is that "Gulliver's Travels" probably does entertain young children with all its pop culture references. But for grown ups it is not only devoid of anything really funny it is also questionable as to whether it is family entertainment thanks to those body fluid gags.