Gulliver's Travels is one of those films that makes me feel pretty superfluous as a reviewer. This is because anyone reading this review already knows whether or not they want to stump up for a copy of Jack Black's latest Hollywood vehicle, and their decision to do so (or not) will be largely influenced by their opinion of Jack Black. I barely feature in the equation.
By now, audiences know what they're getting with a Jack Black-helmed picture. His brand of humour is a well-established template – equal parts intelligence, inanity, gross-out humour and cock-eyed exuberance – and Black can dial it up or down depending on whatever the movie's target audience requires – from adult fare like Tropic Thunder to family-friendly fun like School Of Rock. Gulliver's Travels finds him in the latter mode as a postroom clerk at a New York newspaper who blags his way into writing a feature about the Bermuda Triangle. Anyone familiar with Jonathan Swift's classic will know where things go from there. For those who aren't, here's a hint: Lilliput.
The movie is solidly entertaining although it doesn't boast the cross-generational appeal that, say, a Pixar feature might. There are couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but this is a film you'd tag as "heart-warming" rather than "funny" throughout. Black is appealing as a loveable goof but the rest of the cast feels strangley wasted, and when you consider it includes the likes of Blunt, Segel, Connolly, Tate and Corden, that's saying something. That having been said, O'Dowd is absolutely superb as villain, striking just the right balance between petty vindictiveness and haughty cluelessness.
The only other factor I could possibly bring to bear in this review is how the film shapes up as a 3D spectacle, and to be frank, it's actually really good. The 3D not only looks great in the pull-back shots and pans, which make the visuals look compelling, it makes Black's giant visual presence on screen all the more impressive.
But who am I kidding? You can surmise from the box-art if you want to see this film. If you do, I can tell you that the 3D Blu-Ray justifies the added extra cost on its own. If you don't, thanks for making it to the end of the review.
EXTRAS Amazon proclaims that the 3D Blu-Ray package of Gulliver's Travels has a boatload of extra content including a gag reel, deleted scenes and a ton of behind the scenes mini-docs. Unfortunately, I can't report on their worth as the disc I was sent for review only had the film and the scene-selection menu on it. Oh, and the audio and subtitle options. Which all seem to work just fine.