3.7 out of 5 stars
"Gulliver's Travels" largely borrows from the fame of Jonathan Swift's literary piece. Being a modern re-imagining of the original tale written about three centuries ago, it is both funny and silly without becoming entirely insulting to the wits. It features elements that tickle the funny bone -- allowing you to enjoy its comic antics without requiring much thinking. It also depends largely on its main guy Jack Black who delivers that kind of big little kid performance, which renders many laughable moments on screen.
This movie knows where it stands. It's not an art film. It doesn't take the path towards greatness. It's not trying hard. It just tries to be a fun mainstream treat that can really tickle from the surface... and it generally succeeds on it.
As a cheap movie factory offer working as a thin adaptation of a literary classic, it surprisingly gets certain workable subtleties that are both comedic and thematic. It exudes a more old-fashioned type of comic storytelling that actually works for its lowbrow comedy. Regardless of it being watched on 3D or not, it actually doesn't matter. The storytelling takes a funny turn without having to compensate on what makes 3D movies great. Often times, the 3D format doesn't necessarily provide key values to make a really awesome movie. 3D works best with swashbuckling and whiz-bang visual treats like what "Avatar" had, but it doesn't really work on all stories... Or perhaps, the format needs a lot more developments and proper infusion into the realm of the original 2D cinematic storytelling people have been used to for more than a century now.
"Gulliver's Travels" is an animated type of live-action treat. Its comic success relies much on the directing and casting. The cinematography and production design also back up the need for a visual offer that successfully brings you to the world of the Lilliputians. Simple as it is, this movie mainly works for its level because of these.
From the way the characters behave to the simple visual elements offered at the beginning that pays off for the sake of fun times later on in the movie, this comedy is like something produced by those who know how to make a film well, then they pull down its quality to become a low-grade comedy that is nothing but run-of-the-mill. Although it considerably wastes the great potential of a classic, what makes it somehow different from the level of completely stupid flicks is that it is actually funny with how it incorporates certain valuable elements to avoid becoming a totally annoying motion picture project. It may bog down the source material into an entirely Lilliputian size, but its recognizable parts are still relatively intact.
This flick is completely marketed as a vehicle for Black's zany humor. It is backed up by many gross gags including the urine-induced extinguishing of a palace fire. Add up a really hilarious Black turned into a giant girl's doll cross-dressed in a fairytale-ish dollhouse and it's all about the laughs! The plot may be simple and naive, but most jokes and antics are quite funny. The visual effects are pretty fine as well.
The cast is generally enjoyable and their animated performances work for the movie's surface values. The narrative survives through them.
Black carries much of the movie. If you dig into his hyperactive persona, this flick is for you. He can be remembered for a number of funny scenes including that one where he uses his fatty tummy to defeat a raging armada. Most of the major roles try to keep up with the cheesy, brainless, but wacky script. Jason Segel as Gulliver's little pal Horatio and Emily Blunt as Princess Mary deliver decent performances for their characters to work. Chris O'Dowd as General Edward provides such an impression amidst the weak villain characterizations of the movie. Amanda Peet as Gulliver's love interest Darcy Silverman, Billy Connolly as King Theodore, Catherine Tate as Queen Isabelle, and the rest of the supporting and minor cast members help load the movie with the right dose of comic elements.
"Gulliver's Travels" isn't great, yet it's not that bad. It can actually be cute or hilarious, except for those who still want to use their sense of logic while watching. Nevertheless, this comedy flick has many stocks that can induce laughter all throughout its running time.
Shortlist of Las Vegas stores where you can buy Blu-rays/DVDs of comedy movies:
701 N. Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89101
Mascot Video Sales
2375 E. Tropicana Ave. Ste. 2 Las Vegas, NV 89119
Red BOX Automated DVD Rental
Serving North Las Vegas, NV 89030
4075 S. Durango Dr. Ste. 108 Las Vegas, NV 89147