One of Susie and my big passions BC (you know, Before Children) was watching movies. It is really the only thing that I miss about our days BC (that, and being able to eat at a restaurant without having to be responsible for the nutrition, manners and general cleanliness of another human being.) For some reason, I give myself completely over to the screen and only focus on what is going on. So much so, that I even have a “look” that I unwittingly take during most movies. Susie calls it the “movie watching face”. Essentially, it is me, staring at the screen slack-jawed, not blinking. I take movies pretty seriously.
I was intrigues a few weeks ago when I saw a commercial for a ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ starring Jack Black. While I knew that I wouldn’t be able to see it in the theater (love you Hannah and Amelia!), I thought I would make sure to check it out on DVD. Partly because I really enjoyed the book of the same name, partly because I think Jack Black is hilarious. Now, Mr. Black is not perfect and has been known to make a horrible movie or two (see Libre, Nacho). I also would not say that he is the world’s best actor (State’s Evidence A: Jack hands down wins the award for “Worst On-Screen Chemistry for a ‘Couple in Love’ ” when he was romantically paired with Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Shallow Hal’. I was uncomfortable watching them together. I can’t imagine how Gwyneth felt. The only thing worse was watching them when they would kiss. Gwyn looked like she couldn’t wait for the director to yell “Cut!” Despite this glaring plot hole, I thought it was a rather entertaining movie.) However, Jack’s overall hilariousness and an excellent classic novel seemed like a good match. Unfortunately, I relied upon Hollywood to not dumb down a classic novel. Rookie mistake.
If I were to ask you the first thing your thought about when I mention “Gulliver’s Travels”, I bet you think of a giant Gulliver being tied down by the tiny citizens of Lilliput. However, everyone conveniently forgets that Gulliver had three other ‘travels’ which were just as interesting and entertaining. (Of course, YOU didn’t forget this, for the readers of Mamihlapinatapei are very well-read.) Gulliver also travelled to Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the land of the Houyhnhnms.
In true Hollywood fashion all of that gets ignored. Sadly, when I first saw the commercial, I thought there were scenes where Jack was very small (a la being in Brobdingnag.) But after further review, I was wrong. (The movie should really be called ‘Inspired By Gulliver’s Travels’, or some such nonsense.) Still, the preview looks entertaining and I will probably see it eventually. But, I would still encourage you to go and read the original, if for nothing else but discover that this book was the source of the name of a very large corporation. The first person who names it will be handsomely rewarded!