The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 85 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Traditional Chinese
Starring: Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, Chris O'Dowd, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Rob Letterman
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller
Region Code: A,B
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 19, 2011
"Something big is going down"
Jack Black brings his irreverent humor to this adventure-comedy based on the classic tale. To impress the pretty newspaper travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet), an underachieving mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Black) takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda. When a shipwreck lands him on the fantastical island of Lilliput, he transforms into a giant in size and ego! Gulliver's 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 it's how big you are on the inside that counts.
Jack Black gets little respect in the circles I travel in but I generally tend to like his high energy and off beat comedic buffoonery. My only experience with this film was seeing its teaser trailer on another disc I had in for review. Based upon that my expectations weren't too high but the cast looked promising. Loosely based on the 18th century novel of the same name by Jonathan Swift Gulliver's travels is a modern day adaptation with a comedic theme that revolves around a magazine mailroom employee who takes a writing assignment that he isn't qualified for in the hopes of impressing Darcy (Peet) the Travel Editor who he has had a crush on for the past five years. Lemuel Gulliver is an affable but shy guy who spends his free time playing Guitar Hero and reenacting the Star Wars sagas with his collection of action figures. He inadvertently accepts the writing assignment which requires him to travel to the Bermuda Triangle to confirm that the legend of ships mysteriously disappearing in the area being caused by extraterrestrials is not true. After renting a boat and heading into the Triangle he encounters a bizarre fog which leads him into raging seas where he is swallowed up by a large funnel of water. He awakens to find himself in the distant land of Lilliput whose tiny inhabitants are dwarfed by Gulliver who towers over them. Gulliver is initially treated as a hostile and imprisoned but he wins the Lilliputians over after saving their king after a fire traps him in the castle.
They build him a residence and he is treated with reverence by all except General Edward who sees him as an outsider. Things only get worse between them when Gulliver befriends Horatio, the commoner General Edward imprisoned for having affections for Princess Mary with whom he considers himself betrothed. That is all laid aside when Gulliver intervenes during an attack on Lilliput by the neighboring Blefuscians, after which he is deemed a hero and their protector. Spending more time with the Lilliputians Gulliver begins to regale them with stories of his adventures which are based upon his favorite films and embellished tales of his relationship with Darcy as well as his status in the world he comes from. Dejected and rejected General Edward concocts a Benedict Arnold scheme of revenge while Darcy Ventures in the Triangle in order to complete the story on her own. Gulliver soon finds himself facing Edward's wrath as well as the truth about himself when the facts about his stories and Darcy surface in front of the little people he has grown so found of. Any hope he has of reconciliation will require him to become a bigger man not just in stature but in his heart.
This film is pretty silly and won't appeal to those looking for stimulating family entertainment. It can be mildly amusing especially if you like Black's antics. I did find the idea of romance between Darcy played by Amanda Peet and Gulliver played by Jack Black to be too much of a stretch. Otherwise the casting was decent. Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Billy Connolly, T.J Miller (too bad he didn't have a large part) and Chris O'Dowd all added something to the film. Generally speaking the fun is good-natured but when coupled with such a beloved and classic tale it feels cheap and brings the word drivel to mind. It didn't resonate with me but if you can put up with the over the top adaptation, don't mind Jack Black's shtik, and enjoy a little eye candy (Emily Blunt and Amanda Peet) Gulliver's Travels may have something to offer.
The rating is for brief rude humor, mild language and action.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
This is a great looking presentation that looks solid throughout. High definition detail is notable as images are firmly resolute with crisp edges, defining sharpness, and two dimensional perspective that enhances depth and dimension. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation and tonal warmth. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that enhances the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are stable and exhibit good dynamic range with discernable gradational highlights during darker scenes. Other than a little low level noise the digitally captured photography is whistle clean and makes for a pleasing visual experience.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack renders clear, articulated dialogue that maintains a position of prominence across the front three channels. Detail reproduction is noteworthy which augments mild atmospherics and textural nuance even during active scenes. Sound effects have excellent dynamic range and are full bodied and palpable. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere. The mix excels at reproducing sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field. When applied low frequency effects offer excellent response that results in deep bass energy that resonated throughout the room.
- (HD) I don't knowwith host Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black in character) - 5 minute feature on the Bermuda Triangle
- (HD) Gag reel - 1 minute
- (HD) 8 deleted scenes
- (HD) Little and large featurette - 8 minutes
- (HD) Jack Black thinks big featurette - 6 minutes
- (HD) Down time - On set footage (4 minutes)
- (HD) Gulliver's Foosball Challenge - Interactive game
- (HD) War song dance featurette - 5 minutes
- Fox Movie Channel presents: In character with Jack Black
- Fox Movie Channel presents: In character with Jason Segel
- Fox Movie Channel presents: Life after film school: Rob Letterman of Gulliver's Travels
- Fox Movie Channel presents: World premiere
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live: Live Extras - Exclusive: Jack and Jason's dance class
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
Loosely based on the beloved 18th century novel of the same name by Jonathan Swift Gulliver's travels is a modern day adaptation with a comedic theme built around star/executive producer Jack Black. The film is silly and generally good-natured but when coupled with such a beloved and classic tale it comes up feeling cheap. It didn't fully resonate with me but if you can put up with the over the top adaptation, and don't mind Jack Black's antics it may have something to offer. I had no complaints with its Blu-ray Disc presentation from Fox which sports excellent high definition audio/video quality and a decent assortment of extra features which includes a bonus DVD and digital copy. I would say that this is worth a rental if the kids want to check it out.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package