Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray Review

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by Simon Crust May 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

  • Movies review

    Gulliver's Travels 3D Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £29.99


    The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p transfer on a 3D only disc, the Region is locked to B and C and the menu’s are also 3D. What we have here is another 2D to 3D convert with all the inherent and associated drawbacks with technology, i.e. it’s all rather flat and false, but these conversions are getting better and better as The Green Hornet testifies; this particular convert is nowhere near as successful but there are some decent enough effects, though they are way too inconsistent to bring the picture up to natural 3D scratch. The opening credit scenes probably show the best three dimensionality, they are shot by ‘miniature faking’, a technique using shallow depth of field and blurring that has the effect of making life sized objects appear extremely small, or miniature like. The use of 3D over this sequence shows some very nice depth to the frame, the skyline and parklands of New York really ‘stand out’ while the credits themselves ‘float’ out of the screen. Other notable sequences would be some of the overhead shots of the Lilliputian Palace, or the Lilliputians talking to Gulliver in two shots, where there is a reasonable distance between the characters. However, layering into the frame is still very limited and worse still is that each layer itself has no dimensionality to itself, thus the two shots mentioned above do convey a sense of distance the characters themselves remain flat; this leads to a false looking image. Shots of the Lilliputian streets, particularly those of Gulliver’s Billboards do have a tangible dimensionality into the frame, aided by some decent foreground set ups, but on the whole establishing shots do remain rather flat and ordinary. Objects, such as the ships, or room attire, have no solidity, i.e. no front, middle or back and thus are flat; characters too suffer from this problem, so faces also look flat. Generally speaking when a semi-decent three dimensional shot is realised is brings you out of the picture because you notice it and it is this inconsistency that takes away from the natural aspect you need to keep the brain fooled into the third dimension; thus the image is very limited.

    Other picture aspects prove to be quite good though, detail is very sharp picking out skin detail well, some decent clothing weaves or the distinct nature if Black’s eyes down to water and veins and the many landscape shots are near postcard perfect in their representation, Blenheim Palace (the Lilliputian palace) looks suitably splendid.

    Colours are well realised without being over the top, primaries come across very well, the reds are vibrant, see those on Black’s shirt or the Blefuscu’s uniforms and sails, while the blues of the sea and skies are well maintained without wash or bleed.

    Contrast and brightness are set to give some strong indication of black with the dungeon showing some nice shadow detail on the columnar jointing.

    Digitally there are no compression problems, no banding or posterization and the image is free from any print problems while being clear of edge enhancement also. There was no crosstalk to speak of either. On the whole this is a very good looking print, but the distinct lack of any true three dimensionality means this one only scores a seven from me.



    I concentrate on the English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. On the whole this is quite a lively mix with some pleasing surround effects to fill the room, the foremost of which is the tornado that hurls Gulliver to Lilliput in the first place, which has wind and water whooshing around the room, although the Blefuscu’s armada gunning the city and Gulliver comes a close second. Both these scenes contain decent LF effects, with bass in general is suitably low, though it never plumbs the depths of the very best out there. Stereo effects are given wide separation across the front though there are seldom such action form the surrounds. Dialogue is well realised, clear and precise and emanates form the frontal array; there is never any danger if it being drowned out by the on screen action. The score, although pretty forgettable, comes across well utilising all the speakers. A decent enough mix, though nothing to show off your system to its maximum, but certainly no slouch.



    • I don’t know – with Lemuel Gulliver (5.15, HD) – Black in character discussing the Bermuda triangle and his trip to Lilliput in this not very amusing spoof.
    • Gag Reel (1.28, HD) – More failing comedy of the lowest order.
    • Deleted Scenes (15.12, HD) – Eight scenes some of which are extensions to those that made it into the final cut; all are pretty self explanatory form their titles and none make any difference to the final film, glad they were cut as it was less to endure. Their titles are: Old Hank, Gulliver Meets Royals -- Extended Edition, Defence System, Royal Banquet -- Extended Version, Basketball, King & Queen Practice Basketball and King Makes Breakfast, Horatio and Princess on a Date, and Gulliver and Edward Duel in Gulliver's House.
    • Little and Large (8.14, HD) – No, not Sid and Eddie (how old am I?), but rather the cast and crew of the film discuss Black’s size in relation to the Lilliputian’s before we look at the technical exploits used to achieve the finished effect.
    • Jack Black Thinks Big (5.89, HD) – Discussions of the modern update to this classic tale as well as the New York influences on Lilliput.
    • Down Time (4.24, HD) – Looks like the set was a fun time, what with a whole bunch of comedians trying to ‘our funny’ each other – the film should have been more like this.
    • Gulliver’s Foosball Challenge - An interactive foosball game, press the remote arrows that correspond to the on screen action.
    • War Song Dance (5.45, HD) – Recording and rehearsing the film’s final song “What, what is it good for?”
    • Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jack Black (6.30, SD) – Short interview with Black on why he took the role and his part in the characterisation.
    • Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jason Segel (4.52, SH) – Same as the above, this time with Segel
    • Life After Film School: Ron Letterman on Gulliver’s Travels (21.52, SD) – The most substantial extra on the set sees the director questioned by three budding film students, questions range from his career and style, financing and production of Gulliver’s Travels.
    • World Premiere (6.02, SD) – Fox movie channel follows the premier of the film along the red carpet with a few sound bites from the stars.
    • Theatrical Trailer (2.22, HD) – If only the film was this short.
    • 2D Blu-ray – The film, this time in 2D Blu-ray form, also houses all the extra material.
    • DVD– The film, this time in DVD form.
    • Digital Copy - The film, this time in digital copy form.
    • Book– The film, this time in book form!

    What look like a full spread of extras is actually pretty puff piece, with no all encompassing making of documentary to cover all the bases, however that is actually a blessing in disguise; what we do have is fair watching, but I think, you need to be a fan of the movie.



    Oh dear. Jack Black’s latest vehicle for the down trodden but with a heart of gold character that he has perfected is a shambolic mess of a film that brings a new height (geddit?) to tedium. Whist the idea is sound and, indeed, the classic tale is widely loved, this film jettisons all attempts at empathy in favour of toilet humour and unoriginal scripting to bring a film that is so mind numbingly dull to sit through it actually becomes annoying. There is no doubt that Black’s character has its appeal and in the right movie that can be a positive boon, but here it is wasted and out of place, whist that might fit with the ‘out of place’ motif of the ‘travels’, it simply does not work and as a consequence the film fails to raise a smile, and commits the worse sin of all; it is not entertaining.

    As a 3D Blu-ray package there is plenty on offer with a 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy and book within the set, however the 3D is severely lacking due to the conversion process, even if the actual picture remains clean and bright and whist the sound is pretty good the extras package is rather limited. All this is moot though, as the film is simply not worth the time.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.99

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