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Gulliver's Travels 3D(2010)
Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.
For more about Gulliver's Travels 3D and the Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray release, see Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 22, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O'Dowd
Director: Rob Letterman
» See full cast & crew
Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray Review
Disappointing 3D helps to sink a movie of missed potential.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 22, 2011
You're never really gonna get any bigger than this.
Lost in the 2010 filmed adaptation of Gulliver's Travels is the rich allegory of Author Jonathan Swift's classic story of the same name, but in this case that's not necessarily a bad thing...or is it? Director Rob Letterman's (Monsters vs. Aliens) movie was made to be a broad-appeal Comedy, not a pointed social critique. Intent and expectations are everything in a movie like this, and both are made clear by the presence of star Jack Black (King Kong) in the lead role, immediately cluing viewers in that this is an audience-friendly Comedy first and, well, nothing, really, second. Unfortunately, the movie flops at every turn; a meandering plot, dull one-dimensional characters, genre cliché to the extreme, a shocking absence of humor, midlevel special effects, and even often poorly converted 3D visuals all greatly lessen what should have been a far better movie given the richness of the source material and the opportunity to do something special with it not necessarily from a thematic perspective but a visual one given the state of modern moviemaking technology, both digital effects and 3D alike. Jack Black is the one saving grace; he plays himself, really, which is what a simple interpretation of this classic story needs, but every single supporting element fails to help the movie along, instead only allowing it to crumble with every ho-hum plot development that comes along. Maybe the movie should have gone for the allegory after all.
Lemuel Gulliver (Black) is a mail room clerk with no ambition. He's been stuck at the same job for years, content to simply go with the flow and kick back with a good game of Guitar Hero during business hours. He's just been passed over for a promotion by a guy who's been on the job for mere hours, and his new boss clues him in on his problem: he lacks ambition. He finally works up the courage to ask out his crush, Darcy (Amanda Peet), but gets cold feet at the last moment, and instead of a date, he winds up with an assignment to prove his worth as a writer. Pressed for time and with nothing to say, he plagiarizes himself into an actual writing assignment, tasked with heading down to the Bermuda Triangle and writing up a story meant to reveal the truth behind the infamous disappearances that have earned the area its reputation. Of course, he, too, disappears after being caught up in a terrible storm. He awakens in Lilliput, home to tiny people with no connection to Gulliver's world and in awe and fear of his massive size. Gulliver finally ingratiates himself with the Lilliputians, claiming to be an important and famous figure from his side of the world. The only man he can't fool is the Lilliputian General Edward (Chris O'Dowd) who will stop at nothing -- even treachery -- to save his land from the negative influences of the otherwise lovable giant.
Oddly enough, Gulliver's Travels works better in the few minutes before the plot takes off and Black's character awakens tied and confused, a prisoner of the microscopic Lilliputians. In its opening salvo, the film manages a fair bit of humor and strong character development, both of which falsely prepare the audience for something a bit more refined and worthwhile than what is to come. Unfortunately, the picture unravels soon thereafter, the crux of the story of Gulliver living alongside his thousands of tiny new best friends failing to capture the imagination or even entertain as it should. Gulliver's Travels just seems like a disinterested movie, one with the potential to be something greater either in terms of raw purpose or visual excellence, but that instead fumbles its way through an unimaginative re-telling of the classic story that only retains the most basic plot element and the names of the characters and the place they inhabit. All bets of keeping even within a few light years of Swift's original material are off once Gulliver arrives in Lilliput. It's one thing to update the story a bit, and another all together to butcher it. A scene featuring the Lilliputians discovering Gulliver's iPhone -- which is bigger than they -- or watching a raw stage production of Star Wars are actually kind of cute and nice little modern twists, but the film seems so intent on wholesale changes to even the basic story, rather than simply adding a few touches or subtracting from a couple of scenes, that by the time Gulliver has to face off with a robot, those still awake or even present to care will just be glad it's all coming to an end.
It's fair to call Gulliver's Travels "frustrating." The opportunity for something special -- even if the film strays from source, as it has -- is undeniable, but given the laziness with which it was assembled, from the wayward script down to the often fuzzy, poorly-implemented special effects, the film sinks even further from "frustrating" and winds up as something else altogether, "forgettable" at best and "infuriating" at worst. Jack Black isn't bad in the movie; he's a great choice to play Gulliver, given his great comedic timing, raw skills as a loose and fun actor, and go-with-the-flow appeal. Sadly, his efforts are wasted by a wretched support structure that boils down to an unimaginative plot and one-dimensional characters. Really, it's the former -- the plot -- that's the real culprit, though; it's difficult to image just how much disconnect there is between the film's potential and the actual end result. It's completely irrelevant, and when it begins with its unbearably unrealistic -- even stupid -- Wild Wild West-style final showdown, even the most forgiving viewers will gladly pound in that last nail. The picture is also terribly devoid of humor, which aside from its missed opportunity to shine as a special effects and 3D modern masterpiece -- it's neither -- is perhaps its greatest folly. The large-versus-small sight gag only takes things so far; a good plot and strong humor -- at least in an adaptation that doesn't adhere to Swift's original intent -- are needed to carry the story beyond the primary gag, but there's nothing here to take it past the conceptual stage. Indeed, Gulliver's Travels is all about the idea; sure it looks good on paper, but the execution is decidedly lacking in most every important area.
Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
For a movie that seemed tailor-made for 3D, Gulliver's Travels is not only a disappointment in 3D, but it was converted after the fact rather than shot in 3D to begin with. Where the crew might have used the inherent scope and disproportionate sizes that make up the film's entire premise to great advantage using 3D technology, the picture was instead shot with 2D cameras and given the once-over to make it into a viable, but not exactly enjoyable, 3D release. Indeed, the results are fairly disappointing, and this Blu-ray release is indicative of the film's lackluster conversion. It's a generally flat image that more often than not looks no more extra-dimensional than a regular 2D image. Granted, there are moments where a greater general depth is evident or where objects seem to be spaced more naturally one from another, but the film rarely takes full advantage of the 3D capabilities, even when the material positively screams for something more visually interesting. On the positive side of the ledger, the 3D image sports a great color scheme that sees primaries pop and black levels true. The bright blue waters around Bermuda really shine, as does vegetation seen throughout the film. The image is crisp and strongly detailed, but this is still not quite the most intricate, all-revealing transfer out there. It's a touch soft here and there, and the digital photography really doesn't allow for much life. Fortunately, the image is free of excess banding and background noise. As a 2D-only image, Gulliver's Travels would rate considerably higher, but the shoddy 3D that only occasionally demonstrates much in the way of extra-dimensional goodness drags the score down significantly.
Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Gulliver's Travels sports a fairly strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. It's smooth and crisp, playing with a nice surround sound sensation that's apparent throughout, whether in action sound effects, ambience, or the fairly generic family-friendly score. Still, like the video presentation, the soundtrack never enjoys a more thorough, complete feel, seeming to lack that last little bit of oomph and clarity to ascend it to perfect-score heights. The track seems always pushing and pushing, often finding itself on the precipice of breaking out but never quite managing to explode and deliver what seems like should be a superior presentation. Still, what's here is quite good; there are a few snazzy directional effects; a solid low end when called upon; and efficient, center-focused dialogue. All in all, this is a good track that teeters on the verge of greatness, but that never quite gets there. Still, it's the best single part of this Blu-ray presentation.
Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Gulliver's Travels features all extras on the included 2D-only Blu-ray disc.
Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gulliver's Travels should have been a fantastic Comedy. It's got all the right ingredients: a story ripe for humor, the technology to back it up and make it work even better, and a great lead actor. Unfortunately, Gulliver's Travels is all about missed potential. Few films as primed to explode into something as good as this flop this terribly, but don't blame Jack Black. Despite the absence of a superior story and laughs that are as rare as a country filled with inches-tall people, he gives it his all and tries his hardest to inject a semblance of humor into the movie, usually by playing the part with an ever-present smile on his face and taking advantage of whatever opportunities there may be be for him to milk the material with a strong physical performance. Unfortunately, he has no support structure, and the film even flops in its 3D delivery; what should have been the film's greatest strength is instead a glaring weakness. The relatively flat 3D conversion fails to do much of anything even on Blu-ray, where the image is more often than not indistinguishable from a 2D presentation. The lossless soundtrack, however, is fine but unspectacular, and the included supplements are of average quantity and quality. Gulliver's Travels might be worth a rental for Jack Black fans, and even then 3D-capable viewers might want to instead choose the standard 2D edition.
Gulliver's Travels: Other Editions
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Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Gulliver’s Travels 3D Blu-ray Confirmed - March 2, 2011
In response to a query from Blu-ray.com, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has confirmed that Gulliver's Travels will also be released on April 19 in a four-disc set that includes the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray (2D), DVD and Digital Copy. Thus, this fantasy/adventure ...
• Gulliver’s Travels Blu-ray Announced - March 1, 2011
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced Gulliver's Travels for Blu-ray release on April 19, on a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. Jack Black brings his irreverent humor to this adventure-comedy based on the classic Jonathan Swift tale. No 3D Blu-ray has ...
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