If the writer Jonathan Swift had any sense of humor, he would appreciate the theatrical release of his own literary work, also called “Gulliver’s Travels”. After all, the book was meant to be both a fantasy and a satire at the same time. This quaint rendition stars Jack Black as the title character.
In the 21st century, Lemuel Gulliver is a loser who works in the mailroom of a popular newspaper in New York City. After a young upstart is promoted as his boss, Gulliver becomes depressed and seeks to do something he’s never had the nerve to do for nearly five years: ask his crush, Darcy Silverman, out on a date. However, his attempt turns into a lie (to impress the girl) about traveling around the world. Darcy is so impressed that she assigns Gulliver a travel news story about the Bermuda Triangle. Naturally, his little boat gets sucked into a watery vortex and disappears, transporting him to the land of Lilliput, where there are tons of tiny human beings. The Lilliputians are actually engineering geniuses – they can build anything, literally. The remainder of the plot focuses on Gulliver’s comical misadventures in a land where he is considered a general of the Lilliput Army and defender of their country (against some other small invaders, the Blefuscians). But one military commander is jealous and wants to banish him from the Lilliput kingdom. What will become of Gulliver when common enemies unite to defeat him? Will he ever see his beloved Darcy again?
Black plays such an adorable, sprightly, charming character. He is crude, especially during a particular fire scene. However, his valor outweighs his idiotic behavior. He weaves some entertaining tales of pop culture in order to convince the leaders of Lilliput that he is a king in his own world. The reference to the “Transformers” is exciting. Also, the apartment that he gets to live in is posh – complete with a media room! When he is banished to a land of giants, I cracked up with laughter. Finally, the music he imitates his fascinating: I especially favored the “War” musical number. Perhaps he used some of his own vocals to accompany the melody. The scene containing a version of Prince’s “Kiss” song is a riot!
Despite some crude and dumb parts, this movie was the epitome of cute. The special effects are of good quality. Amanda Peet was funny as Darcy. Jason Segel, Billy Connolly and Emily Blunt made memorable characters as Lilliputians. In my opinion, this wasn’t Jack Black’s best film, but it also wasn’t his worst one either.