It's the holiday season, and everyone around you in a festive mood – or are they?
Well, you may want to count this Scrooge of a reviewer out, because he isn't a firm believer that tis' the season of giving. So when a movie as shamelessly commercial as this comes along, you can bet he is not going to be very kind in his review.
Based on the 18th century novel of the same name, this update sees a slacker mailroom clerk being transported to the land of Lilliput (yes, this is the original name of the mythical land in the novel) after messing up a travel assignment to the Bermuda Triangle. There, the giant (or Beast, as he is affectionately known to the locals), he becomes a hero to the little people, fighting villains and matchmaking a peasant and a princess. When a battle with a petty general goes awry, the roly poly backs out and cowers in fear.
Of course, you know this is only temporary - who would be in the mood for an un-happy ending during the festive season?
The filmmakers have aptly cast Jack Black in the role of Gulliver, given his larger than life personality. This is clearly the comedian's show, seeing how the camera focuses on his every single exaggerated facial expression and body gesture. Black has impressed us with his comedic talents in movies like the surprise hit School of Rock (2003) and the hilarious satire Tropic Thunder (2008). And who can miss his adorable persona in Kung Fu Panda (2008)? In his latest work which he also plays the executive producer role, Black effortlessly pulls of the portrayal of a lovable loser who you cannot bear to dislike.
He is joined by a capable cast including Amanda Peet (2012) who plays his love interest, Jason Segel (I Love You, Man) who plays a Lilliput resident, Emily Blunt (The Wolfman) who plays a Lilliput princess and Billy Connolly (The X Files: I Want to Believe) who plays a Lilliput king. As you have noticed by now, most of the actors play tiny people in this 88 minute movie. They all fare pretty well, but like all holiday movies, this isn't really what the audience is looking out for.
What is in place is the usual numbed down and logic deprived script which will not bother the casual viewer. What's more, since this movie is targeted at the family crowds, there is no need to sophisticate things. Hence, the filmmakers have every reason to throw in mindless pop culture references, ranging from Star Wars' Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker to Titanic's Jack and Rose. Also, you get to see Gulliver inspired posters and billboards which are at most mildly amusing. Unfortunately, these litters of chuckles do not contribute much to the story.
Director Rob Letterman (Monsters vs Aliens) have made use of green screen technology, and in a move that doesn't surprise anyone anymore, 3D technique to bring this tale to the big screen. We are pretty sure that when Jonathan Swift wrote the original novel in 1726, the satire was supposed to bring out certain traits of human nature. After countless adaptations, this message has become a diluted affair with nothing refreshing to offer except a couple of pointless chuckles.
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