***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Gulliver's Travels - 3 out of 5
Another retelling of the classic story by Jonathan Swift with an end product of a completely mediocre film. Jack Black stars as Gulliver, a humble dreamer working in a mail room of a major magazine who, after lying about being a writer, finds himself in the Bermuda Triangle looking for a story and ends up in a magical world called Liliput where he's a giant and can finally be the big shot he believes he is.
At no point is the film ever laugh out loud funny and probably elicited a single chuckle out of me during the entire film. In fact, most of the jokes are bottom shelf and predictable. While the story itself is quite straight forward, the filmmakers decided to add a romantic subplot between Black and Amanda Peet (who's career peaked after showing her tits in The Whole Nine Yards). However, this subplot feels tacked on and awkward as Peet's character isn't really developed and isn't mentioned for a good majority of the film.
Jack Black is exactly how you would expect him in a starring role. That being that you quickly reach your dose of JB within the first half hour of the film. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jack Black. I think he's a very funny guy but I have yet to see him do justice to a starring role (with the exception of Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny but that movie had a lot going on in it besides JB). In fact, I've often found him to be like Chris Farley during that man's heyday--that being he always delivered amazing supporting roles but, with the exception of Tommy Boy, was an embarrassment in starring roles (and before you hate on me for saying that, watch Beverly Hills Ninja again and tell me you don't agree with me). So, throughout the entire run of Gulliver's Travels, Jack Black will run the spectrum of being mildly entertaining and outright annoying--he's never really entertaining mostly because the weak script really doesn't give anyone in this film much to work with. Also, there's a pointless song number thrown in but this just felt like a pathetic attempt to get Black to sing, as if reminding the audience of the existence of Tenacious D.
Even worse in this film is the completely underutilized presence of Billy Connolly. One of the funniest stand up comedians to ever exist, Connolly is nearly pushed into the background and only given a few lines (none of them funny) as the King of Liliput. However, this film was a major step-up after the nightmare inducing sequel to a great film called The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. So, when I take that into consideration, Connolly's presence in this film isn't as bad as it could be.
Now, I sound pretty scathing on this film but let me assure you, it's not that bad. The film isn't terrible to warrant a reaction where you wish it didn't exist (like I did when I saw The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day--I only bring it up again because of Connolly). Like I said at the beginning of this review, Gulliver's Travels is completely mediocre. It's not great but not absolutely terrible either. But there are some great things going on that might give reason to give it a view other than the fact little children might find the jokes about wedgies funny.
First off, the special effects are very VERY good. And the filmmakers did an amazing job of creating a sense of scale and making Black look larger than life. But most importantly, Chris O'Dowd is just absolutely FANTASTIC in this film! I'll admit, I'm a big fan of Chris O'Dowd thanks to the amazing BBC program The IT Crowd. I've even gone as far as watching How to Lose Friends & Alienate People just because O'Dowd had a role in it. Granted it was a small part and the movie was utter garbage but the 3 minutes O'Dowd had was awesome. And even though this film isn't the best product he could have starred in (check him out in Pirate Radio, great movie all around), he does an amazing job as General Edward.
So, in the end, it turns out that special effects and the acting of one man is the sole reason to watch this film. But when you consider most the garbage that comes out in Hollywood, that's two more reasons than some other films have going for it.