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Film / Gulliver's Travels (2010)

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Gulliver's Travels is a 2010 comedic "adaptation" of Jonathan Swift's book starring Jack Black. It opened to poor reviews and failed domestically in the USA, though it was saved from being a bomb by strong overseas sales.

Lemuel Gulliver is a thirty-something loser who has been working as a mail-room clerk for ten years, not having the drive or ambition to make anything of himself. But his world view is left shaken when a younger co-worker is promoted ahead of him in just one day, and he decides to try and make something of his life. In a botched attempt to ask out his attractive co-worker Darcy, who also happens to be the newspaper's travel editor, Gulliver instead asks if he can try writing a piece for her.

Gulliver has a knack for writing, or at least copying and pasting articles from more talented writers, and an impressed Darcy ends up sending him on an assignment to the Bermuda Triangle. Unfortunately Gulliver ends up shipwrecked on the island of Liliput, which is filled with tiny people. He's captured and put to work by the General, until he ends up saving the King and Princess from invaders. He's then celebrated by the people instead. When his ship is found, along with his phone, Gulliver receives several angry voicemails from Darcy, who has found out that he copied his work from other people. Afraid to return, he decides to stay in Liliput.


However the General isn't happy with that, especially when the King asks him to step down from his position so that he can promote Gulliver to General. He decides to take matters into his own hands, to show the people of Liliput that Gulliver isn't the hero he claims to be.

The movie provides examples of:

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Gulliver is a dangerous giant in the land of Lilliput then he gets pushed around by a giant girl when he ends up in "the island where we dare not go" (Brobdingnag).
  • All There in the Manual/Shown Their Work: Gulliver putting out the fire by urinating on it comes straight from the original novel
    The heat I had contracted by coming very near the flames, and by laboring to quench them, made the wine begin to operate by urine; which I voided in such a quantity, and applied so well to the proper places, that in three minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and the rest of that noble pile, which had cost so many ages in erecting, preserved from destruction.
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  • The Bermuda Triangle: Gulliver's titular travels begin after his ship wrecks in this region.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Blefuscian motto is "Rapio E Abfugio" which means "Plunder and Run" in Latin.
  • Completely Missing the Point: In the book, Gulliver's most apparent and consistent quality is that he is honest to a fault and almost always incapable of omitting details. In this version, Gulliver will lie without flinching, just to escape his pathetic life.
  • Cut the Juice: Horatio pulls the plug on the electro-shock hands of the Mecha.
  • Damsel in Distress: Parodied—before Gulliver changes things around, the princess is apparently incapable of doing anything but standing on the balcony, calling for Edward to save her. Near the end of the movie, she has enough with being kidnapped.
  • Dance Party Ending
  • Dare to Be Badass
  • Eat the Camera: Darcy when she gets captured.
  • Everyone Owns a Mac: See Product Placement. MacBook Pros, iPhones, and a reference to iPads (gPads).
  • Evil Chancellor: General Edward.
  • Face–Heel Turn: General Edward, after being rejected by Mary and unable to put up anymore of Gulliver's shenanigans, joined the Blefuscians.
  • The Film of the Book: If you prefer books over films, read the book instead. Out now on iPad!
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: All of Brobdingnag, leading to No Name Given.
  • Humongous Mecha/ Transforming Mecha:
    • Edward pilots one to fight Gulliver.
    • Of course, this being Lilliput, it is only slightly bigger than Gulliver.
  • I Choose to Stay: after hearing how angry Darcy is at him, Gulliver decides to stay for a while longer in Lilliput.
  • In Name Only: While many elements are borrowed from the book, it is a very, very loose adaptation.
  • Inspector Javert: Deconstructed in General Edward. His efforts of thinking Gulliver as a threat and how the people are not gonna listen to him anymore leads him into defecting to the Blefuscians.
  • It's All About Me: Edward. When the Blefuscians try to kidnap Mary in the beginning he runs off to the rescue while shouting "NO ONE SAVE THE PRINCESS!"
  • Lilliputians
  • Lost World: The story is set in the Bermuda Triangle. Darcy is initially skeptical of the claims of weird stuff going on there.
  • Neutral Female: One person helps out in the big fight. It isn't the giant girlfriend.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: The number of times the alarm bell is rung indicates the nature of the emergency. Five rings of the bell indicates that something is going on that has never happened before.
  • One-Eyed Shot: Both Gulliver and Darcy have close-ups of their eyes.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Several layers of big going on— We have Gulliver who is a giant to the Lilliputians, then the girl who is giant to Gulliver.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Unable to come up with good travel writing examples, he steals them from online sources. The next morning, Darcy notes that they have a variety of styles, with one piece sounding like what you'd get from X, and another piece sounding like it came from Y. Later on, she realizes that it's because they did come from X and Y.
  • Playing Cyrano: Gulliver give Horatio lines from several rock songs to use to woo the princess.
  • Product Placement: Parodied in an Orange Telephone ad where Jack Black complains about product placement in the scene where he's captured by the Lilliputians. Exaggerated when the Lilliputians actually read the instructions on how to unlock an iPhone. Played straight with Coca-Cola and Guitar Hero.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Setting Update
  • Snowball Lie: Gulliver claims that he was the titular character of hundreds of movies, and is the president of his country. When asked if his people need him, he explains that Vice-President Yoda will handle things well in his absence. At one point, General Edward points out that Gulliver's claims are unbelievable, but everyone else sides with Gulliver.
  • Spoiled Brat: The giant girl that turns Gulliver into a living baby doll.
  • Stealth Pun: Gulliver's boat Knotforsail, and one of the other boats is called Ship Happens.
  • This Loser Is You: With a healthy dollop of I Just Want to Be Special.
  • Toilet Humor / Bowdlerise - Gulliver urinating remains from the book, but he doesn't defecate.
  • The Voiceless: Presumably the Brobdingnagians, going by the girl.

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