Dec 21 2010 Fulham Chronicle
Jack Black is the man with a big heart in this big screen 'adaptation', writes MARK LUNDRIGAN
THERE'S something extremely infectious about Jack Black. Whether it's (probably) his best film School Of Rock, Nacho Libre or Be Kind Rewind, he's carved himself a niche as the lovable loser with a heart of gold. And here, as Gulliver, Black is perfect.
Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, a mailroom worker and, yes, lovable loser with a heart of gold, at a magazine office where he has a crush on travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet).
In an attempt to impress her he applies for a travel assignment which sees him heading to the Bermuda Triangle to stay at a remote island for a week.
But after falling asleep at the speedboat wheel, Gulliver's craft is thrown into a whirlpool, and the next thing he knows he wakes up on
the beach of Liliput with hundreds of little men tying him down.
After winning over the Liliputians, except for the leader of their little army, General Edward (The It Crowd's Chris O'Dowd), Gulliver sets up home with the little people and joins their fight against evil rivals, the Blefuscudians.
If you are expecting a faithful adaptation of Jonathan Swift's classic you will be sorely disappointed (I don't recall Gulliver accidentally urinating over the Liliputian royal family in the 18th century novel), and the storyline does lurch into mature cheddar at certain points, but it nevertheless has a large amount of charm.
Black's oversized clown is matched by O'Dowd's villainous general, provoking more laughs than the royal family of Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate and James Corden can muster between them.
The weak link is the romance played out in the background between peasant Horatio (Jason Segel) and the Princess of Liliput (Emily Blunt).
The couple have no chemistry and are a
distraction from the Black-O'Dowd sparring, but it's a family film and romance is always a must.
Although the 3D doesn't add too much to the experience, the special effects are pretty seamless.
The impressive scenes of hundreds of Liliputians crawling over Gulliver really are eye-popping, as is the final showdown between our hero and General Edward who, along with his army (who turn out to be lightning-fast expert builders), manages to build himself a giant robot with which to fight Gulliver.
In Swift's novel, a large part of the story is also set in Brobdingnag, where the inhabitants were giants compared to Gulliver, but in director Rob Letterman's version only a brief journey is made, which is a shame as some of the funniest moments are here, with Black captured by a young girl who dresses him up as a doll.
Nevertheless, the film does what is expected of it - entertains, makes you laugh and has you leaving the cinema with a smile on your face.
Whatever you do Jack, don't stop being a lovable loser with a heart of gold.