Direction: Rob Letterman
Cast: Jack Black, Emily Blunt
Jonathan Swift’s classic novel has been adapted for the big screen upwards of a dozen times, most notably in a 1959 live action-animation hybrid, The Three Worlds of Gulliver.
Marking the solo directorial debut of Rob Letterman, who previously co-helmed the cartoon capers Shark Tale and Monsters vs Aliens, this updated version is a bloated mess.
Distinctly un-Swiftian, the screenplay, which lacks the source material’s scathing satire, is bogged down in less-than-special effects and pop culture references galore.
Taking a contemporary slant on the 18th century story, the latest outing casts the titular hero (Black) as a travel writer who’s washed ashore on an island populated by teeny-weeny people called Lilliputians. Initially imprisoned, the ‘gigantic’
man-child eventually becomes the saviour of the diminutive denizens by helping them vanquish an army of neighbouring invaders.
He also gets to play cupid to a former prison pal (Jason Segel) and his beloved object of desire (Blunt, in scene-stealing mode).
There are some moments of fun (Gulliver douses a raging palace fire by urinating over the building), but otherwise the fantasy-adventure is quite lacklustre.
Jack Black, who also co-produced the movie, has demonstrated comic abilities in such films as School of Rock and Be Kind, Rewind. Here, however, he merely seems content catering to the 10-and-under crowd.
Even the ubiquitous 3D process isn’t enough to warrant Gulliver’s Travels a recommendation.