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Gulliver’s Travels

Year: 2010
Production Co: Lakeshore International
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Rob Letterman
Producer: Jack Black
Writer: Joe Stillman/Nicholas Stoller/Jonathan Swift
Cast: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, T J Miller, James Corden

Some enterprising producer must have known a live action film adapted straight from the pages of Jonathan Swift's novel would be as exciting as a regency romance novel in this day and age where jaded kids have seen it all. So it was actually a pretty good idea recasting Gulliver a modern slacker swept away to Lilliput where the cultural differences between old world characters from literature and a modern slob would hilariously ensue.

Unfortunately they've skewed it towards the tween end of the market, perhaps aware there'd be little sex or violence to plumb from Swift's premise. Jack Black plays himself yet again as a stoner-like doofus who finally gets his big chance away from the mailroom of a New York newspaper. He's given a travel writing assignment that sees a waterspout pick up his boat and drop him on the shores of Lilliput where the locals lock him up, believing him a beast.

After he saves the King from a castle fire using an inventive and completely disgusting method he's hailed a hero and starts shaping Lilliput as his own personal fiefdom where he can finally be a big shot (see the parable there?).

The antagonist is the snivelling military commander determined to depose Gulliver from the good grace of the people and their battle makes for some very light action sequences with very low stakes. Most of the film is instead left to the amusement of watching Black as he uses pop culture references in everything from his tales of heroism back home to an analogue Guitar Hero game.

Some of the visuals contrasting the character sizes are well done but if you're over 13 you'll spend most of the time rolling your eyes.

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