Movie Review – ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ (2010)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I must admit, I haven’t read the 1726 novel ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift. I’ve heard things said about the book over the years and I’ve seen an animated film adaptation of the book long ago when I was a kid. Not sure if it was the 1939 American animated film I saw, although I think it was. 🙂

‘Gulliver’s Travels’ has been adapted into films; TV shows and radio shows over the years, including silent films, animated films, a 1996 TV series starring Ted Danson and a 1992 Saban TV series (Saban is responsible for ‘Power Rangers’. 😀 ). I also saw Gulliver make an appearance in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Mind Robber’. 😀

Recently, I’ve seen the 2010 film with Jack Black on Disney+! I did see a trailer for this movie before it came out at cinemas in 2010. I wasn’t interested in it and it’s just as well, since the film was rated poorly by critics upon release. It’s easy to see why that is, since the film takes liberties, especially with putting the central character Gulliver in the present day.

There are also liberties taken that probably wouldn’t match with what Jonathan Swift envisioned when he wrote the book in 1726. I appreciate the 2010 film taking a contemporary approach with the story, but it could’ve been so much better and have more dignity than what it ended up being. 😦

The 2010 film is very loosely based on ‘Part One’ of the 1726 novel. Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver has been working in the mail room of a New York daily newspaper for the past ten years. Having had enough, he takes on an assignment to the Bermuda Triangle in order to impress a woman he loves. 🙂

Gulliver gets more than he bargained for, as he ends up shipwrecked and on the island of Liliput. He’s 12 times taller than the entire population of Lilliput. Very soon, Gulliver has people looking up to him. But how long can he gain their trust and keep up with the lies he says on where he’s from? 😐

Now here’s the thing. I would accept this film with Jack Black meeting the people of Liliput who are smaller than him, if the entire film was dignified and made sense. But there are many moments of what the critics call ‘juvenile humour’ seeping into this film, making it rather rude and nonsensical. 😦

For example, there’s a moment where the king and his aide are in a building caught on fire. Now Jack Black as Gulliver could’ve used water from a pond to put the fire out, like any sensible person would. But instead, he urinates the burning building with the king and his aide inside in order to save them!

I’m not even kidding! That’s what happens in the movie! I had to ‘pause’ the film there and then, because I couldn’t stop laughing for all the wrong reasons. 😀 It’s such a ludicrous moment and one that could’ve been avoided in a decent film. Instead, it’s ingrained on my mind and I won’t ever forget it!

Jack Black isn’t what I would call an ideal interpretation of Gulliver, especially as he comes from a ‘modern-day’ New York. I vaguely recall the Gulliver in the animated film having more dignity than that. The rest of the cast are enjoyable, although some characters don’t shine often as I would like.

There’s Jason Segel as Horatio, a man from Lilliput whom Gulliver befriends; Emily Blunt as Princess Mary, the princess of Lilliput and Horatio’s love interest; Billy Connolly as King Theodore of Lilliput; Chris O’Dowd as General Edward Edwardian (seriously what?) and Catherine Tate as Queen Isabelle.

It was nice to see Catherine Tate from ‘Doctor Who’ in this, though he doesn’t have much to say and much to do. 😦 There’s also T. J. Miller as Dan Quint, James Corden as Jinks, and Olly Alexander as Prince August. There’s also Amanda Pett as Darcy Silverman, a journalist and Gulliver’s love interest.

I enjoyed it when references made to other movies like the ‘Star Wars’ film ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ as well as ‘Titanic’ are parodied in the film. Mind you, it does become ludicrous when General Edwardian battles Jack Black as Gulliver in a giant robot suit that matches Dr. Robotnik’s giant robot.

I also found it annoying when the song ‘War’ got used to unsubtle effect in the film. Honestly, the song ‘War’ worked better in ‘Small Soldiers’ for me. I did enjoy 2010’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ with Jack Black when I saw it on Disney+ recently, but it’s not one of those films I would see again and again. 😐

Incidentally, the Lilliput royal palace was filmed at Blenheim Palace. Huh! The more you know! 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


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