Gulliver's Travels (2010)
There's no such thing as little jobs....only little people....very little people
Jack Black does comedy likes nobodies' business, while putting his own modern spin on a classic literary story. For those who are familiar with the original story, then you should know that most film adaptations usually only deal with Gulliver's adventures from the first and second worlds he visits. One being the land of Lilliput, a place inhabited by tiny people that are no bigger than a mouse, and the other where Gulliver, himself, is small in a land inhabited by giants. Therefore, I wouldn't count on this film being that much different, unless your banking on sequels down the road; which I doubt will happen for this film. To get back to the review, I'll fill you up to speed on the plot first before we get down to business.
Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) is a mail room clerk, for a newspaper company. Having spent ten years inside the mail room and being passed over countless of times for promotions, it seems Gulliver's life has peaked. Heck, he can't even work up the nerve to ask out Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet); the girl whom he's had a crush on for ages. This only shows that Gulliver is too timid to ever take a chance to change his life. As time goes on, he decides to finally take a chance to become a travel journalist to impress Darcy. The only problem is that he has no previous traveling experiences to write about, so he copies bits and pieces, from an online article, and passes it off as his own. Needless to say, Darcy falls for his little scam and hires him right away, then she sends him off to write a traveling report on the Bermuda Triangle. Unfortunately, Gulliver gets caught up in the storm, and finds himself tied to the ground by miniature people, whom are no bigger than a door mouse.
At first, Gulliver is regarded as a freak of nature, and forced to do various manual labor for these miniature people. Then becomes a savior after saving (Billy Connolly) King Theodore's life, and the life of his daughter, Princess Mary (Emily Blunt). Being a big shot for the first time in his life, Gulliver completely takes advantage of the situation, as he not only lies about his past to gain affections, he also manages to change their medieval culture into a more modern one. Sadly, this doesn't bode too well with one of their inhabitants, General Edward (Chris O'Dowd), who sees Gulliver as nothing more than a incompetent boob that's ruined the land of Lilliput. Of course, it doesn't help when Gulliver advises Princess Mary to dump General Edward for his new best friend, Horatio (Jason Segel). Nor, does it help that Edward is demoted to Vice General in favor of Gulliver taking over. Yeah, I can see how this guy might have a problem with Gulliver, but Jack Black is so charming and funny that you can't really hate the guy; even when he's acting like a pompous arrogant jerk.
As far as the giant robot he fights in the trailer, and how he ends up in the second world with him being reduced to a giant child's doll, then all I can say is that you'll just have to watch the movie. However, it's very funny. Jack Black is his usual comedic self in this role, as he's one of the few actors, in Hollywood, that's not afraid to make a fool out of himself for the sake of laughs. Sure, you have other guys like Will Ferrell, Rob Schneider or Adam Sandler, who're also known for making fools out of themselves for laughs, but nobody does it with a more natural feel than Jack Black. As those other actors I just mentioned, you can still tell they're having to act outside of their own normal personalities to become bumbling buffoons, in their perspective films. Whereas Jack Black, he's not pulling any punches here. He literally is a bumbling buffoon in all his films, and you can tell he's not acting outside his element to do so. Which in my opinion, this makes Jack Black one of the most unique comedic actors of our era, as the comedy always seems to generate naturally from his own "in your face" personality that you can't help but like the guy; even when he's acting like a arrogant pompous a** in some of his films.
I guess to say that I liked Jack's performance would be stating the ridiculously obvious, as I always found him to be funny in any role he plays. However, my biggest grief would be the story and 3-D cinematography for this film. For those parents out there wondering whether or not to see this in 3-D, then don't. Trust me, you'll thank me later, as the 3-D cinematography is hardly even noticeable. Therefore, you'd just be wasting your money, as you won't be missing much by seeing the regular version of this film.
As for the story, it's basically cliched and predictable as hell. If that wasn't bad enough, the character development is rushed, and the love stories between all our main characters is unrealistically planned out. In one scene of the movie, Gulliver tells the entire land of Lilliput that Darcy is his girlfriend but when she comes to the island to confront Gulliver about his stolen article, she quickly changes her tune to thinking that it's sweet for Gulliver to tell a bunch of perfect strangers that she's his girlfriend. It's a shame crap like that can only work in a movie. If a normal person did that, they'd probably get labeled as a freak and/or stalker. I'm sorry, but that's just the damn truth. No woman in today's society would fall for such nonsense like that. Of course, I could be wrong, as I'm not an expert when it comes to relationships, nor would I ever claim to be. However, it just doesn't seem realistically plausible a strong independent woman would immediately like a guy just because he tells perfect strangers that she's his girlfriend; even though they're not even dating. Call me crazy, but that's just me.
Don't get me wrong, I understand this is just a movie designed solely to generate box office revenue, based on a established brand name. However, when you've seen as many films as I have, then you start to yearn for some degree of plausibility when it comes to character relationships. It doesn't need to be completely realistic, but it would be nice if they were just plausible enough to believe. Sadly, "Gulliver's Travels" doesn't even accomplish that feat.
However, as I stated earlier, Jack Black was funny as h*** in "Gulliver's Travels", as he literally carries the movie by himself. Sure, there's was a lot of comedic moments with Chris O'Dowd and Billy Connolly, but it was Jack's humor that really shined in this movie. His performance alone is worth the time seeing this film.
If you want my advice, then wait until this comes out on DVD/Blue-Ray, as this isn't worth an admission price. Not by a long shot, as the movie isn't that great. Then again, it could have been a lot worse too. Overall, since Jack Black's performance was funny, I'm going to be generous and give this film a two and a half out of four. Not the greatest comedy out there, but it's worth a rental once it comes out on DVD/Blue-Ray.