While many movie versions of Jonathan Swift’s classic adventure have tried to remain faithful to the source novel, this 3D one could be politely described as ‘loosely based’ on it, but perhaps should have been renamed Black’s Travels since it’s more a vehicle for the comic actor than a true adaptation of the story of a man who finds hidden lands filled with strange people.
Black stars, of course, as Lemuel Gulliver, a slobbish guy who works in the post room of a newspaper and dreams of romance with the travel editor, Darcy (Amanda Peet). Instead of getting a date with her, he fibs that he is a writer and gets sent on assignment sailing near the Bermuda Triangle. His yacht is sucked into a violent stormy whirlpool, and when Gulliver wakes up he’s lying on a beach, tied up and surrounded by hundreds of miniature men. While the general of the land of Lilliput (The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd) hates our hero on sight, Gulliver soon wins over the king (Billy Connolly), queen (Catherine Tate) and princess (Blunt), with his tales of derring-do (stolen from the plots of movies such as Star Wars), and he also helps in the budding romance between the princess and lowly nice bloke Horatio (Segel).
Anyone familiar with Swift’s novel won’t recognise anything here aside from the movie’s name, as grating modern day references, bad jokes and daft twists are sprinkled liberally throughout. Black takes centre stage throughout and his manic persona overwhelms both the plot and the supporting cast (a shame, since Tate, Connolly and blink-and-you’ll-miss-him James Corden are wasted), causing anyone over the age of eight to gnash their teeth as his antics get increasingly irritating. Younger viewers won’t mind the dumb humour as much, but do be warned that one of the biggest gags involves Gulliver pissing on a fire at the palace to put it out (and remember, this film can be seen in 3D).
Is Gulliver's Travels 2010 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very little ones may find the whirlpool/storm Gulliver is sucked into a little scary.