Movie Review: Gulliver's Travels
Rating: PG (brief rude humor, mild language and action)
Length: 85 minutes
Release Date: December 25, 2010
Directed by: Rob Letterman
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Stars: 3 out of 5
"Gulliver's Travels" is a modern-day representation of a novel by the same name, written by Jonathon Swift. The film stars Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, and Billy Connolly. Before working on this film Rob Letterman had little directing experience; the only films he had previously directed were "Shark Tale" and "Monsters vs. Aliens."
Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) works in a newspaper mailroom, a job he considers boring. One day, feeling depressed, Gulliver has a conversation with Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet), who works as a journalist with the same newspaper.
Explaining that his dream is to one day become a writer, Gulliver attempts to convince Darcy to allow him to write a fictional report about traveling all over the world. With her reluctant agreement, Gulliver moves ahead with his report on his extensive world travels. The problem is that Gulliver has no idea what to write, as he has never previously traveled. In order to avoid embarrassing himself, he goes online and copies travel reports from other websites. Darcy is hugely impressed with the supposed effort Gulliver has put into the article. She asks him to travel to the Bermuda Triangle to investigate reported stories of ships disappearing.
Once Gulliver arrives in Bermuda, he hires a boat and travels into the Bermuda Triangle. During his journey, Gulliver falls asleep and the boat is caught up in a storm. When he comes round, Gulliver is confronted by the tiny people of Lilliput who, due to his enormous size, immediately call him a beast. The citizens of Lilliput capture Gulliver and, perceiving him as a threat, hold him in a cave. While he is in captivity, Gulliver meets a fellow prisoner, Horatio (Jason Segel). Horatio had been imprisoned because of his fondness for Princess Mary of Lilliput (Emily Blunt).
Meanwhile, commandos from Blefuscu, an island near Lilliput, successfully kidnap Princess Mary. During this commotion, Gulliver breaks free from his prison and stops the princess from being kidnapped; he also saves King Theodore, Princess Mary's father, from succumbing to a fire by urinating on it. Inevitably, Gulliver is proclaimed a hero among the people of Lilliput. However, Gulliver takes things a little too far and lies about who he really is. One of these lies is that he is the President of the United States.
After some time, Darcy, who has now found out the truth about the travel report that Gulliver allegedly wrote, contacts him. She informs him that she is coming to Bermuda to take his place, as he is a phony in her eyes. The following day the navy of Blefuscu once again attempts to invade the island of Lilliput. The navy fires several cannonballs at Gulliver, but they are useless against his large frame; the only injuries that Gulliver suffers are a few bruises on his stomach. The Blefuscians find one of Gulliver's science fiction magazines, which they use to build a large robot capable of taking on Gulliver.
Blefuscu invades Lilliput for a third time. This time, Gulliver cannot fight off the robot that the Blefuscians have constructed. Once he is defeated, Gulliver admits to the people of Lilliput that he is not who he says he is, but is in fact just a guy who works in a mailroom at a New York City newspaper. As punishment for his deception, Gulliver is banished to a faraway island. There, Gulliver meets Horatio, who convinces him to escape; Darcy is captured by the Blefuscians when she goes looking for Gulliver in Bermuda.
Gulliver and Horatio return to Lilliput to fight off the giant robot and secure Lilliput's freedom once again. For his part, Horatio is spoken of as a hero, and King Theodore finally allows him to court Princess Mary. Once Gulliver helps to broker the peace between Lilliput and Blefuscu, he and Darcy return to New York. The movie concludes with a shot of Gulliver and Darcy walking into the distance, holding hands.
"Gulliver's Travels" is a classic story that is retold for a modern-day audience. The film is suitable for just about everyone, and there are some outstanding performances from many of the actors. Those who have read the original book or seen previous film versions will appreciate the way "Gulliver's Travels" has kept the same theme running throughout the film, while adding some modern elements to it.