I’d better say up front that this is a review of the flat or 2D version of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ so people don’t confuse it with the 3D version that’s coming soon. ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ looks large as life on American Region A locked Blu-ray with a very good 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image is colourful with warm skin tones and wonderful blue skies. Exteriors benefit from being sunny, so vibrant colours are impressive. Gulliver’s red T-shirt stands out, as do the red sails of the Profusian’s ships. Contrast is excellent and blacks are inky pools. Coming from such a recent source, the picture is devoid of any dirt, dust or print damage. It is also impressively sharp and detailed without being clinical. An ultra-close up shot of Jack Black’s eyeball displays every tiny red vein. Crowd shots look great and even the fine gravel on court yards stands out. The film does have a ‘composed for 3D’ look to it and it should come as no surprise that a 3D version will be winging its way to Blu-ray soon. The effects shots generally fare well on the High Def medium, apart from the odd ‘suss job’ and the very occasional eye line seeming odd – but let’s face it, 6 year olds won’t be bothered by this detail. All in all, this is a very nice looking transfer.
The audio on ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 flavour and, while it’s not a heavy, thunderous mix the surrounds are used to good effect on certain scenes such as when Gulliver’s boat is sucked up by the inverted whirlpool. The rushing water is all around you. When the Profusians attack the castle, the cannonballs whizz through the sound field and land with a solid thump. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, coming mainly from the centre channel, while avoiding being drowned in the mix by the surrounding mayhem. The main stereo pair along with the subwoofer come alive during the ‘War - What is it good for’ song and dance number. Quite a nice, enjoyable mix that doesn’t kick your head in too much.
The version submitted for review was the flat (non 3D) American Region A locked 3 disc set. Disc 1 contains the Blu-ray movie and extras, disc 2 houses the standard definition DVD, while disc 3 holds the Digital copy.
I Don’t Know ... With Lemuel Gulliver (SD, 5 mins) - Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver in a mildly amusing spoof scientific documentary covering the Bermuda triangle and his visit to Lilliput.
Gag reel (SD, 1 min 28s) - Huh? I thought a gag reel meant a string of out-takes and fluffed lines. This one item has Gulliver trying to push start his friend’s truck and his pants fall down. Yep, very subtle and it shows how desperate he was to get laughs.
Deleted scenes (SD, 15 mins) - A collection of 8 scenes which are either extensions of scenes from the final movie or extra background scenes that were deemed unnecessary. It’s interesting to see the break up around the hair of the actors where the effects haven’t been fully rendered. We also get to see the Stand-in wearing a blue suit in the fight scene with the Transformers style character.
Little and Large (SD, 8 mins) - The cast and crew struggle to work out Gulliver’s size in relation to Lilliputians before taking us behind the scenes on the CGI work involved in the movie. This is how it’s done folks!
Jack Black Thinks Big (SD, 6 mins) - The cast and crew discuss the modern influences on this version of the classic tale of Gulliver. This is the ‘brought up to date’ story for da kids.
Down Time (SD, 4 mins) - We hear how much fun it was to work on the movie from the cast. A bunch of comedians trying to outfunny each other off set had a whale of a time. It’s a shame they just didn’t let them ad-lib instead of forcing them to stick to the script. They all learned to play the ukulele in between takes.
Gulliver’s Football Challenge - Yup, it’s a game folks – like pinball football where you watch out for arrows on the screen and quickly press the corresponding direction button on your remote to score. I couldn’t get the hang of it. Kids probably will.
War Song Dance (SD, 5 mins) - Here’s Jack Black recording the song ‘War-What is it good for’ in the sound studio and the rest of the cast rehearsing the dance routine on location.
Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jack Black (SD, 6 mins) - Jack Black tells us about his part in the movie – in his own style.
In Character with Jason Segel (SD, 5 mins) - Another Fox Movie Channel promo piece where Jason Segel explains how his character Horatio learns from Gulliver in the movie.
Life After Film School: Ron Letterman on Gulliver’s Travels (SD, 22 mins) - Three film students question director Rob Letterman on his career to date, movie financing, production details and anything that might help them with their own potential careers.
World Premiere (SD, 6 mins) - Tava Smiley of Fox Movie Channel covers the Premiere of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and buttonholes the cast on the red carpet with all the usual questions.
Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 mins) - The story is edited down to a couple of minutes. Looks fun.
The Jack Black vehicle ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ looms large on (non 3D) American Region A locked Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colours are vibrant on this sharp and detailed transfer from a wonderfully clean recent source. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix places the viewer in the midst of the action when required without drowning out the crisp dialogue.A collection of mini-featurettes take us behind the scenes of the production which seems to have been a lot of fun to make. The movie itself brings the Jonathan Swift classic up to date for the modern age before launching Gulliver into the land of Lilliput. Not too bad family fare – aimed squarely at children, though lacking in sparkle for adults. Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate, Emily Blunt and James Corden are wasted in supporting roles to big star Jack Black.
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