Gulliver’s Travels (Blu-ray)
Jack Black is Lemuel Gulliver, an unmotivated slacker working in the mailroom of a New York newspaper spending most of his time playing guitar hero. Having enough of his loser persona he decides to make a change and musters up the courage to talk to his crush and editor of the travel section Darcy (Amanda Peet), he ends up applying for a writing job. After plagiarizing his writing sample submissions, the job is his. First assignment- The Bermuda Triangle. As the lone person sailing his little vessel, Gulliver is clueless when he runs into a massive funnel storm engulfing his ship. Awakening to a ton of tiny people, Gulliver finds himself a prisoner to a peculiar literally small town of Liliput. Finally seen as someone of importance, Gulliver becomes a great asset and hero defending the people and implementing modern views and entertainment.
As you might guess the majority of the humor is based around Jack Black being a carefree giant thrown into a tiny world a few decades behind in advancement from our own. Based on the famous novel by Jonathan Swift, GULLIVER’S TRAVELS is definitely a far more modern take on the story.
For a production that is utilizing special effects to create a large man among a tiny world, you might hope the spectacle would be more impressive. Unfortunately the gags are cheap and gimmicky. One scene in particular where Gulliver has entered the ocean to stop an oncoming tiny armada, looks like he is simply splashing around in a bathtub but still maintaining enough space so digitally placed toy ships appear on the screen next to him. If it’s gonna look like toy ships anyway, I suggest to just go ahead and let him splash around with toy ships.
The whole big among little gimmick felt really forced and poorly utilized. I actually preferred the film at the beginning when Gulliver was a loser pretending to be important. I understand that is not the basis of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS but this take was rather unoriginal and boring. Frankly, I’m not sure whom this film is geared toward. Sure it has a very family friendly style but for the most part the only jokes that were mildly funny were the one’s that probably weren’t appropriate for children. To be honest, I only laughed at the absurd childish of the joke in disbelief rather than with the joke. That’s not to say the jokes fell completely flat. I chuckled here and there when Gulliver passed off classic films such as STAR WARS or TITANIC as his own stories or a famous Prince song as his own poetry when speaking to women. But even those were easy jokes playing into people’s love for those things more than joke itself.
The wonderful cast including Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and Billy Connolly are all great sports for subjecting themselves to all the silliness but I couldn’t help feeling a little embarrassed for them when they broke into a pathetically choreographed song and dance. Jack Black is great as his typical self. I can completely appreciate and respect how he puts in 110 percent of him being him into every performance. But even if you are a fan of Blacks the material simply isn’t entertaining.
One of the best qualities of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS is that it runs just under an hour and a half, keeping it short enough not to feel too unproductive during the viewing. I wish I could say that I’m just not the target audience but I really don’t know who is and cannot recommend this film to anyone.
Video: (Widescreen 2.35:1) The picture quality is clear and vibrantly colorful.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) A very good sound with plenty of thuds and crashes due to a giant in a small world. However, I would think the voices of the people from Liliput should be hard to hear for Gulliver being that they are toy army man size.
I Don’t Know… With Lemuel Gulliver (5:15): A funny spoof hosted by Jack Black’s Gulliver about the Bermuda Triangle.
Gag Reel (1.28): This is one outtake completely mislabeled as a gag reel.
Deleted Scenes (15:12): Eight scenes on par with the type of humor from the rest of the film.
Little And Large (8:14): All about the work and tricks utilized to make Jack Black big and everyone else little. Black was an apparent trooper coming in everyday just to deliver lines to the rest of the cast.
Jack Black Thinks Big (5:59): How the Liliput began to adapt and implement Gulliver’s world like clothing, sports, music, movies and New York’s Times Square.
Down Time (4:24): This is a self-complimentary piece about how all funny people in the film would make each other laugh when they weren’t filming.
Gulliver’s Foosball Challenge (1:21): This is supposed to be like you are playing foosball but basically you just hit the proper arrows instructed for one minute than you win.
War Song Dance (5:45): The making of the last song number Jack Black sings and partly choreographs for the entire cast.
Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character With Jack Black and Jason Segel (11:22): This is divided into two separate featurettes, one with Jack Black and the other with Jason Segel where they discuss their character in the film.
Life After Film School: Rob Letterman Of Gulliver’s Travels (21:52): A Fox Movie Channel special where three students ask director Rob Letterman a series of questions about making movies and getting into the business.
World Premiere (6:02): Interviews with the cast at the premiere talking about the book and film.
BD Live – Jack and Jason’s Dance Class: The actors talk a little about working with each other.