Director Rob Letterman, who up until now had only done animated films like Shark Tale and Monsters vs Aliens, makes his live action debut with Gulliver’s Travels. The pairing makes sense for two reasons: first of all this take on the 1726 novel by Jonathan Swift looks like live action animation and secondly, there is so much CGI in this movie, it may as well have been fully animated.
Speaking of CGI, this has to be on of the worst uses of the technology I’ve seen to date. At no point does Gulliver, played by Jack Black, look like he is actually in the settings surrounded by his miniature cohorts, the Liliputians. The scenery is lush, which is nice, if that is all we’re looking for. And at one point Gulliver battles a giant robot, which looks great, but has no place in the film. If CGI effects were enough to carry a movie, 2012 would have been a much more palitable experience.
At first the film moves at a breakneck pace, all in an effort to get Gulliver to his destination, and then it proceeds to slow down, excruciatingly so. The film goes through the motions, with no real plot, but rather a sequence of events that fail to coalesce into a real story.
Finally, the movie bills itself as a family film, but does some rather unfamily things. There’s some language and behavior that are both juvenile and adult at the same time, which goes against the family film mold. Not safe or interesting to the little ones folks.
If I look at the film referentially, it’s about a man who washes up on an island of little people. If I look at it explicitely, it’s about a man who isn’t very successful in life and gets to be the big man on this island of matchbox people. If I look at it implicitely…my head starts to hurt, so I stop.
Just an awful, sorry excuse for a film.