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Cinemas - Film of the Week - 23/12/10 - Gulliver's Travels (PG)

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (PG)

THE subtle, underlying themes of Jonathan Swift’s classic novel are almost completely lost on this contemporary adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels.

However, it’s hard for Rob Letterman’s film to tread lightly with comic dynamo Jack Black in the title role.

The actor bulldozes through every scene like a child, who has been gorging on sweets and needs to burn off pent-up energy before he combusts.

It comes as no surprise when the Lilliputian court goes up in flames that this Gulliver chooses to extinguish the inferno by emptying the contents of an extremely full bladder.

And when it comes to defeating the Blefuscudian armada, the hero’s generously proportioned belly provides the perfect protection against a barrage of miniature cannonballs.

Were it not for a brief foray into a land of giants that we assume to be Brobdingnag, Letterman’s adventure would be merely Gulliver’s Travel – unless, of course, the title is wishful thinking that this could be the first instalment of a series.

In truth, it’s hard to imagine this fantasy taking enough at the box office to warrant a trip to Laputa or the country of the Houyhnhnms.

Lemuel Gulliver (Black) works in the post room of a New York newspaper, where he pines for travel editor, Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet) from afar.

In order to impress the object of his affections, Gulliver blags a travel assignment to the Bermuda Triangle. Heading out to sea on his boat Notfersail, Gulliver is swept into a massive, swirling column of water and when he regains consciousness, he discovers that he is a giant in the land of Lilliput.

Feared at first by the tiny inhabitants, Gulliver ingratiates himself to King Theodore (Billy Connolly), Queen Isabelle (Catherine Tate) and their daughter Princess Mary (Emily Blunt).

Gulliver’s Travels is bombastic and garish, broadly exploring the corruption of a humble man before gifting him a chance at redemption.

STAR RATING: **

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