Gulliver’s Travels feels like it was dictated by a hyperactive toddler and transcribed by someone with Alzheimer’s. The plot is an uninterrupted flow of disjointed, poorly linked happenings without any real punctuation:
“There’s this man with a round face and piggy eyes and he has a cool alarm clock and he delivers mail but then he’s in love and then he gets sent to do writing at sea by this pretty lady and an upside-down whirlpool eats him and then he’s in a land where he’s the biggest and he gets everyone to worship him and then Catherine Tate has her boobs all squeezed in a dress and then there’s a big robot and then he’s small and then big and then the lady arrives and then he has a fight and plays Guitar Hero and then he’s a successful travel writer back in the real world despite the fact that it was established at the beginning that he can’t string two words together.”
In this imagined dialogue the fake toddler then faints onto a pile of sweet wrappers, the former contents of which I’ve forced them to consume in order to achieve the pace necessary to trot out that narrative outline.
Advertised as ‘From the people who brought you Night at the Museum’ I didn’t have any misconceptions about the potential quality or the intended audience of Gulliver’s Travels. It is, however, infinitely lazier than the production team’s earlier efforts. Jack Black is simply implanted, complete with kerrazy rock homages and faux-coolguy speaking style, into Lilliput which is populated by the cast of various BBC comedies and the Irish one from The IT Crowd. There is no satirical edge, nothing funny for the over fives and no real reason to go and see it, particularly in 3D as it completely forgets to use the technology to imply size and scale, which feels like a missed opportunity.
This was never a film that wanted to earn critical praise, just box office cash, and there is a phenomenally good short film at the beginning starring Scrat from the Ice Age franchise which is almost worth paying the price of entry to see. Otherwise this is a no-nonsense kid’s movie that doesn’t care whether its audience is paying attention or attempting to jam popcorn into its orifices while burping the alphabet and farting a good approximation of a speech by David Cameron.