Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Gulliver's Travels (2-Disc DVD Set)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
3 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver
Jason Segel as Horatio
Emily Blunt as Princess Mary
Amanda Peet as Darcy Silverman
Billy Connolly as King Theodore
Chris O'Dowd as General Edward
T.J. Miller as Dan
James Corden as Jinks
Catherine Tate as Queen Isabelle
Emmanuel Quatra as King Leopold
Olly Alexander as Prince August
Richard Laing as Nigel Travel Writer
David Sterne as Foreman
Stewart Scudamore as Blefuscian Captain

Directed by Rob Letterman

Special Features:
Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes
I Don't Know...with Lemuel Gulliver
Little and Large
Jack Black Thinks Big
Down Time
Gulliver's Foosball Challenge
War Song Dance
Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jack Black
Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jason Segel
Life After Film School Rob Letterman of Gulliverís Travels
World Premiere
Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 161 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Jack Black ('Kung Fu Panda,' 'School of Rock') is larger than life in this epic comedy-adventure based on the classic tale. When a shipwreck lands a lowly mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Black) on the fantastical island of Lilliput, he transforms into a giant ó in size and ego. Gulliverís tall tales and heroic deeds win the hearts of the tiny Lilliputians, but when he loses it all and puts his newfound friends in peril, Gulliver must find a way to undo the damage. Through it all, Gulliver may just learn that itís how big you are on the inside that counts."

"Gulliver's Travels" is rated PG for brief rude humor, mild language and action.

Mini-Review:
It seemed like a good idea at the time. A modern retelling of "Gulliver's Travels"? Sounds like fun. Starring Jack Black? I can see that working well. Co-starring Jason Segel, Billy Connolly, and Emily Blunt? OK, I'm on board for that. But something went way wrong in the execution. The end result is a film that's not only unfunny but has you rolling your eyes by the very end and counting the seconds until it is over.

"Gulliver's Travels" is really a one-note film. It's just jokes about Jack Black being a giant in a small world, then him telling them how he's the inventor of every pop culture reference ever made. Every joke in the movie comes back to one of these two themes. We see Gulliver pee out a palace fire. Ew. We see him play foosball against Lilliputians. We see him guide them in building him a house. Gulliver tells them he's the President of our world, that he lived the "Star Wars" saga, and that he also lived through "Titanic." (OK, I admit I chuckled at the "Star Wars" references, but that was about it.) There's little to the plot beyond this.

I think this movie had a lot of missed opportunities. The original book featured Gulliver going to a variety of worlds, each of which provided political and social commentary wrapped up in a fairy tale package. Any commentary this movie might have had was lost. In fact, about the only social commentary they have is when everybody sings and dances to the song "War" in the finale. It's simply annoying. I also have to say that the "War" dance number points to this being a sort of vanity project for Jack Black. Director Rob Letterman reveals in the bonus features that Black insisted the song be included from the very beginning of production. And when you see the beautiful Amanda Peet is made Gulliver's love interest, you have to wonder if Black had a hand in casting, too.

This is another one of those movies where every funny moment is included in the trailer. Kids will enjoy "Gulliver's Travels" but any sane adult will be counting the minutes until it is over.

This edition of the DVD comes with a second disc that contains most of the bonus features. Considering how unbearable the movie is, the bonus features are actually more entertaining. You get featurettes on the visual effects, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. The gag reel is one scene, but it's a textbook example of how you keep acting no matter what goes wrong in a scene. When Black and Romany Malco (at least I think it's him) jump in a car, it doesn't start. Black then jumps out and starts pushing it again and again....and his pants drop around his ankles. They probably should have included this in the movie because it was pretty funny. There are also a few Fox Movie Channel shows featuring Jack Black and Jason Segel, but most notable is "Life After Film School: Rob Letterman." In this, Letterman talks about the most important lessons he learned in school, tricks of the trade, and more. Any film student will want to check out this series (I'd recommend watching the Fox Movie Channel more than this DVD). Rounding out the bonus features is an amusing parody of "In Search Of" called "I Don't Know...with Lemuel Gulliver." In this Black does an amusing presentation about the Bermuda Triangle filled with wildly incorrect factoids.

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