Jack Black has got himself into some trouble this time. The last time I saw him he was trying to be a wrestler and now he has ended up on a mysterious island full of little people. He appears to be calling himself Gulliver too, what’s going on?
Gulliver’s Travel is a new film adaptation of the classic children’s story. Big man living with little people is the idea of the plot and Jack Black has brought his tried and tested character along to the world. I can’t really think of when Jack Black’s dude humour hasn’t been present in a film I’ve seen by him, not that it is a problem, he always comes across as a likeable and funny guy even in the most dire moments. Playing the same jokes here is expected but still funny and I was laughing to his geek led life. His situation to end up with the little people after we’ve seen his normal life is a little plain, failing to live up to his words is a little forced. Man with no boat skills goes to the Bermuda Triangle, run with it. The world he ends up in looks great though, the contrast between big people and little people isn’t jarring and Jack Black can feel like a king as he shows off to the little people. Peeing on someone in this world is a great achievement.
A modern-day comedy telling of Gulliver’s Travels was always going to remove some of the fantasy and beauty the original story holds and with the jokes involving iPhones, Guitar Hero and other such pop culture references leaves a rather clinical feeling about this fantasy realm. I still laughed when Jack Black created a mini replica of New York with his face plastered on all the adverts though and his talk of these pop culture references as his own make the theme about lying leading to trouble a solid and well-developed plot point. And we get to see a Star Wars re-enactment from the little people which is always a plus.
The main problem I found with the film is the villain and the ending. The villain seems to be the villain through jealousy and throwing his toys out the plan endangering his fellow-men felt a little stupid. He has an enjoyable villain feel at the start but by the end he was just an annoying cry baby no one can level with. I know it is a kids film but Toy Story 3’s villain had a huge amount of depth about him and he was a cuddly bear. The ending is also a horrible way to end the film I was actually rather enjoying. It looks nice, the jokes are fun, the theme doesn’t feel so forced even if it does insist on bringing up the word ‘liar’ so many times but the ending was just horrible. The theme of lying breaks apart as Jack gets everything on a platter and the last fight is boring and is topped off with a stupid dance from the female love crush of Jack. I like it when Jack sings but I don’t like it when everything built up falls down with a cheesy finale.
It isn’t a patch on the classic original, a comparison would make this film feel like a Hollywood insult and the general feel by the end is that of blandness, most of the jokes could have been squished into any other comic or Jack Black film. It caters for special effect lovers and only provides a bare bones story with the odd amusing gag. I was entertained but only on a mild scale but it was some pleasant easy watching for the most part. Think bigger.