Andy Bockelman: ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is agreeably silly fantasy | CraigDailyPress.com
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Andy Bockelman: ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is agreeably silly fantasy

Movie at a glance

“Gulliver’s Travels”

2.5 out of 4 stars

93 minutes

Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and Amanda Peet.

Now playing at the West Theatre and Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

Movie at a glance

“Gulliver’s Travels”

2.5 out of 4 stars

93 minutes



Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and Amanda Peet.

Now playing at the West Theatre and Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.



By now, everybody is familiar with the revelation that Darth Vader is, in fact, Luke Skywalker’s father.

And, while the presentation of this scene has been parodied countless times, there are still people who have yet to see it.

Of course, like the hero of “Gulliver’s Travels” finds, you have to seek them out.

Working in the mail room of The New York Tribune, Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) has always thought of himself as a big shot. Unfortunately, no one else has gotten the memo, as he is roundly ignored by everyone at the prestigious Big Apple newspaper.

When his new co-worker (TJ Miller) is promoted to be his boss on his first day, Gulliver has to take stock in where he’s headed in life. Fibbing his way into a writing assignment for the paper’s travel editor (Amanda Peet) — whom he’s also had a crush on for years — he sets out to explore the Bermuda Triangle for a mind-blowing article.

But, when a tropical storm overtakes his vessel, Gulliver is the one who has his mind blown when he awakens in the land of Lilliput, where the inhabitants are a mere fraction of his size.

Though he gets off to a rough start with the king, queen (Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate) and the rest of the natives, Gulliver eventually becomes a beloved giant among the tiny people as he tells them tall tales of his life.

Still, not everyone is a fan, with the humorless general Edward (Chris O’Dowd) furious about no longer being the country’s favored son.

Black is fine as the ne’er-do-well who gets the chance to reinvent himself as a bigwig — the biggest wig, in fact, as he borrows liberally from the stories of “Star Wars,” “Titanic” and a smidgen of “24” in relating his biography to the Lilliputians, who are more than willing to believe that their new arrival is the President of Manhattan.

At Gulliver’s side, usually on his shoulder, is Jason Segel as Horatio, formerly the tallest man in Lilliput, ecstatic to have a big pal around. Emily Blunt is adorable as princess Mary, Horatio’s love interest, who goes from being a shrinking violet in a ball gown in the presence of men to being an outspoken modern gal clad in pants.

Who’d have thought all you needed to inspire women’s lib would be a visit from a guy 12 times your stature?

O’Dowd is amusingly haughty as Edward, a total stiff who refuses to let Gulliver show him up as the main defender of Lilliput, even if it means joining forces with the country’s enemies from Blefescu.

Luckily, even the full force of the neighboring nation’s armada can’t damage Gulliver’s jelly belly.

Goofy moments abound in this update of the classic story that’s been in libraries for almost 300 years.

Besides peeing out a massive fire in a matter of minutes, our enormous hero also finds some creative ways to adjust to his size difference, including the enlistment of his own personal foosball team, as well as a quartet of musicians to impersonate rock band Kiss so that he and Horatio can have a “Guitar Hero” jam session.

Gulliver’s saga doesn’t really develop much beyond its one-joke premise, but with a decent execution thanks to some striking visual effects setting apart the gargantuan from the miniscule, at least it’s interesting to look at.

Additionally, there’s a fun bit of role reversal once Gulliver visits the place the Lilliputians refer to as “the island we dare not go,” which the more erudite viewers will recognize as Brobdingnag.

Jonathan Swift it ain’t, but the new rendition of “Gulliver’s Travels” functions well enough as a marginally entertaining family film. Rather than going for the wit and whimsy of the original text, the makers go for silly and slapstick, but when you can factor in wedgies and make it work, more power to you.

As characters both big and small would say: Boosh.

Now playing at the West Theatre and Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

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