Is This Just Me?

Is this just me, or does everybody secretly wish for an alien invasion? Or something of that ilk, the kind of situation where a person could credibly sacrifice himself against tremendous odds to save the world?

Where a man could carve a legend for himself simply by standing up to the powerful oppressors and saying no?

Where a population could rise up and unanimously tell the invaders "No more. I reject you. With a Molotov cocktail!"

No? Just me?

Yeah, I figured as much.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Gullivers Travels

So, I went to see Gullivers Travels the other day. I wasn't really sure what to expect, since every Jack Black film I've seen since School of Rock has disappointed me on some level or other.

I'm happy to say that as of Gullivers Travels, that record was broken.

It's hard to say what it is that makes the film work so well, but I'm gonna give it a go. First off, the casting is excellent. Jack Black's performance is top notch, easily equal to anything else he's ever done, but in my opnion it's Jason Segel's performance as the love struck Horatio, desperately trying to win the heart of a princess his society forbids him to court, that really steals the show. Maybe I'm biased on this one, it's a fact that I'm a fan of Segel, and I can see how a lot of people might be...annoyed by his fake accent in this one, but for me, it just works. Emily Blunt makes for a very compelling, if ultimately unexplored romantic interest and Bill Bailey makes a hilarious king. What we see of Catherine Tate as the Queen is good, but unfortunately, this is a lot less lines then I'd like to see from her.Chris O'Dowds villian is actually very plausible, (or at least as plausible as this film gets) but ultimately, he's chiefly just there to move the plot along and contrast the protagonists.

The aesthetic of the film is...stunning. Whether it's the theatre reenacting Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and Titanic as Gullivers life, or Jack Black being forced to dress up as a doll by a giant baby, it's very rare that theres something in the scene that doesn't make you at least chuckle. The effects are...well, I really enjoyed them. I've said in the past that 3-D often isn't worth the effort, but it REALLY works here, being used almost exclusively to give the film depth, rather then relying on cheap oohs and aahs by making stuff pop out of the screen. This combined with the fact that unlike Tron Legacy, which I mention in my last post, Gullivers Travels is a very well lit film, so it really works. Effects like Jack Blacks stream of pee are...questionable, but work.

As for the script, well this ones a personal opinion. I found it hilarious, right down to little touches and flourishes in the jokes, but honestly I do think this is one where it comes down to personal taste. If you enjoy the sheer awesomeness of Jack Black stopping a generations old war by performing "War" (Huh? What is it good for?) by Edwin Starr, then you'll like it.

It's not a perfect film, I'll admit, the relationship between Gulliver and Darcy seems tacked on and hurried, with very little development and frankly, I think the film could have used a few more scenes showing that. At times the pacing seems to be dragging a little: while watching Jack Black play guitar heroes with a bunch of lilliputians acting as the console is utterly hilarious, it does slow the middle of the film down.

It's worth noting, it really is a case of Gulliver in name only, anyone hoping for the satire and insight of the original text will be sorely disappointed, but if you go into it separating it in your mind from the book, then it comes across very well.

So, in summary, I would advise you to go and watch Gullivers travels, it's not perfect, but it is very good, and a very good way to fill a lazy afternoon.

Thanks for reading folks!

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