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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Letterman|
|Based on||Gulliver's Travels|
by Jonathan Swift (uncredited)
|Music by||Henry Jackman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$237.4 million|
Gulliver's Travels is a 2010 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Rob Letterman, produced by John Davis and Gregory Goodman, written by Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stoller with music by Henry Jackman. It is very loosely based on Part One of the 18th-century novel of the same name by Jonathan Swift, though the film takes place in the modern day. It stars Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, T. J. Miller, Chris O'Dowd, James Corden, and Catherine Tate and is distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The film was theatrically released on December 25, 2010 in the US and earned $237.4 million on a $112 million budget. Gulliver's Travels was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 19, 2011, by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Deeply depressed at his dead-end job in the mail room of a New York City newspaper, Lemuel Gulliver decides to talk to journalist Darcy Silverman. He convinces her he could write a report about his (false) extensive world "travels" saying his dream is to become a writer. After suffering writer's block and thinking that Darcy will not want to hang out with a "guy from the mailroom", he plagiarises a report from other publications on the internet. The next day, Darcy, impressed by his writing, presents Gulliver with a new task – to travel to the Bermuda Triangle and write an article about the legends of ships mysteriously disappearing there.
Upon arrival in Bermuda, Gulliver rents a boat and travels into the triangle. After falling asleep at the helm of his ship, he's caught in a freak storm and the boat is overwhelmed by a waterspout. He washes up unconscious on the shore of Lilliput, where he is immediately confirmed as a "beast" by the town's tiny people. After the citizens claim him to be dangerous because of his huge size, he is captured and imprisoned in a cave. Here, he meets another prisoner named Horatio who was jailed by General Edward because he loves Princess Mary of Lilliput, whereas Edward also wants her. After the island across from Lilliput, Blefuscia, infiltrates commandos to kidnap Princess Mary, Gulliver manages to break free of the plough-machine he is forced to work and then rescues the princess from being kidnapped. Gulliver also saves her father, King Theodore from a fire by urinating on it.
Gulliver is declared a hero by Lilliput's citizens and makes up a deal of lies saying he is the President of Manhattan, says Yoda is his Vice-President and a living legend in his homeland. Edward, however, becomes enraged due to the luxurious accommodations that have been built for Gulliver, and for being presented as an honorary general of the Lilliputian Army complete with uniform. The townspeople find Gulliver's boat and his things, when Gulliver receives angry voicemails from Darcy, who has to take his place and travel to Bermuda now, and she has found out about his plagiarism and now hates him. The next day, chaos ensues as the Blefuscian Navy lays siege to the city when Edward shuts down its defense system as an act of revenge for Gulliver's treatment. Gulliver defeats the armada, invulnerable to the cannonballs being fired at him (although he receives numerous welts on his stomach). Embarrassed once more, and with Mary no longer wanting to have anything to do with him, Edward defects to the Blefuscians and brings with him blueprints of a robot coming from Gulliver's Guitar Hero III game manual. The Blefuscians secretly build the robot, with Edward as the pilot.
The Blefuscians invade Liliput and the robot-wielding Edward makes Gulliver admit to the people that he is "just the guy from the mail-room" and nothing more. Edward banishes Gulliver to the shores of "the island where we dare not go" (Brobdingnag). There, he is snatched up by a "little" girl (Glumdalclitch) who towers over him. She captures him easily by trapping him inside a glass cup. When Gulliver wakes up, he finds himself in a pink dress and is played with by the "little" girl, which ends with him being tucked in bed. Horatio, who has gone to find Gulliver after being spurned by Mary, reveals to Gulliver that Darcy was imprisoned by the Blefuscians after she was lost in the Bermuda Triangle in the same manner as Gulliver. Gulliver narrowly escapes with him, using a parachute that he took from the skeleton of a dead U.S. Air Force pilot (presumably from Flight 19) sitting in the dollhouse.
Once again accepting a duel from Edward, this time not only for Lilliput's freedom but for its fate as well – as Edward threatens to destroy it should Gulliver fail – Gulliver ultimately defeats him with the assistance of Horatio, who disables the machine's electrocuting weapon. Horatio is hailed a hero and gets King Theodore's permission to court the princess. Edward, reaching the point of insanity, threatens to kill the princess, but the princess, finally having enough of Edward, beats the traitor up in frustration. Gulliver then helps to make peace between the rival island-nations by reciting Edwin Starr's "War" and he, along with Darcy, returns to New York City on their repaired boat. The film ends with Gulliver, now a travel writer, taking Darcy to lunch while holding hands, after returning from another travel assignment.
In a January 2010 interview on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Segel explained his character spends most of the film in Black's shirt pocket. The film features 7.1 surround audio in select theaters. The name of Liliput's rival country, Blefuscu, was also changed to Blefuscia. Filming of the Lilliput royal palace was at Blenheim Palace. Miniature 1:12 scale dolls' house furniture and accessories from Derbyshire firm The Dolls House Emporium were used to bring the movie alive with less need for special effects. Jonathan Swift, the original author of the novel that the film was loosely based on, is not mentioned during the credits, despite the titles mentioning that the film is not an original piece.
The official trailer for the film was released on June 3, 2010; and attached to Marmaduke a day after. The second trailer was released on November 5, 2010 and it is also attached with Megamind. As a prize on the television show Survivor: Nicaragua, four of its contestants were able to watch the film before its release.
Originally scheduled for release on June 4, 2010, it was released on December 25, 2010. 20th Century Fox later announced on March 23, 2010 that the film would be converted to 3D. On December 13, 20th Century Fox announced that it would again move the release date, this time to December 25, 2010.
A fourth Ice Age short, Scrat's Continental Crack-up, was released with the film's theatrical release. The short is a parody of continental drift, and centers on a humorous alternative explanation for the creation of the continents (rather similar to the ending of the earlier Ice Age short, Gone Nutty, where the continents split up into their modern-day forms). It also hints at the next Ice Age film which was released in 2012.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 20% based on 118 reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though Jack Black is back doing what he does best, Gulliver's Travels largely fails to do any justice to its source material, relying instead on juvenile humor and special effects." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100 based on reviews from 32 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
The Hollywood Reporter commented that "any sense of fun slowly drains away as the movie insists on highlighting effects over character and story" while Time Out gave it 2 out of 5 stars, commenting that the film "veers between the very mildly chucklesome and plain not funny." The Christian Science Monitor called it "a movie of such stupendous uninspiration" that it was "monumentally dreadful" and the San Francisco Chronicle called it "cute" but "sleep-inducing." Slant Magazine rated the film 1.5 out of 4 stars and Empire rated 2 out of 5 stars calling it "a low-grade comedy that'll have Jonathan Swift turning in his grave." Other critics were less harsh, although still not praising of the film. Roger Ebert commented that knowing whom the film is for, and whom it is not for, might help viewers appreciate it. He awarded the film three out of four stars, saying "I want to tread carefully here, and not because I might step on a Lilliputian and squish him."
Gulliver's Travels opened to $6.3 million for its opening weekend, landing at #8 in the US; this ranks it as the 84th worst opening for a film with a wide release tracked by Box Office Mojo. The film grossed $42.8 million in the US and Canada and $194.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $237.4 million against a production budget of $112 million.