Gulliver’s Travels appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a good but unexceptional presentation.
My only minor complaints connected to sharpness, as occasional shots appeared a bit on the mushy side. These seemed to exist as an artifact of visual effects, though, as the various soft shots occurred during composites. Those were exceptions to the rule, though, so most of the movie offered good clarity and definition. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes or print flaws.
Colors looked fine. The movie went with a pretty natural palette that offered a mix of vivid tones. These came across with nice clarity and liveliness. Blacks were dark and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated positive visibility. Only the mild softness created distractions, as the rest of the presentation was solid.
I felt more impressed by the lively DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Travels, as it offered a lot of pizzazz. The soundfield created a terrific sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate. The movie’s various action sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a dynamic manner.
Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.
Audio quality always seemed strong. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added a lot to the movie.
Travels comes with a roster of many small extras. I Don’t Know… With Lemuel Gulliver runs five minutes, 15 seconds as it offers a program similar to In Search Of as Black’s Gulliver character discusses the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. It’s essentially an ad for the movie, but it’s a clever way to do so.
A Gag Reel lasts one minute, 28 second. It’s unusual in that it focuses entirely on one scene that features an uncooperative vehicle and the actors’ attempts to deal with it. That makes it ore fun than most.
Eight Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 15 minutes, 12 seconds. These include “Old Hank” (1:25), “Gulliver Meets Royals – Extended Version” (1:20), “Defense System” (0:47), “Royal Banquet – Extended Version” (1:51), “Basketball” (2:26), “King and Queen Practice Basketball and King Makes Breakfast” (3:27), “Horatio and Princess on a Date” (2:54) and “Gulliver and Edward Duel in Gulliver’s House” (1:12). “Old Hank” offers foreshadowing for Gulliver’s voyage, and a few others like “Banquet” throw out additional exposition. Most simply deliver more attempts at comedy, though, and they’re just as lousy as the material in the final film.
A bunch of featurettes follow. These cover Little and Large (8:14), Jack Black Thinks Big (5:59), Down Time (4:24), and War Song Dance (5:45). Across these, we hear from director Rob Letterman, production designer Gavin Bocquet, VFX producer Cari Thomas, VFX supervisor Jim Rygiel, producers Bert Cooley, John Davis and Gregory Goodman, song producer Jim Kimbrough, choreographer Fran Jaynes, and actors Jack Black, Billy Connolly, Jason Segel, James Corden, Olly Alexander, Emily Blunt, Chris O’Dowd, and Catherine Tate. The featurettes cover techniques used to mix actors portrayed at different sizes, set design and costumes, cast and performances, and the recording/shooting of a musical number.
The various featurettes remain consistently fluffy, but that doesn’t make them a waste of time. We get a lot of footage from the set and enough useful info to fill out the pieces. You shouldn’t expect anything fascinating, but the clips deliver decent glimpses of the production.
Gulliver’s Foosball Challenge gives us a simple game. It allows you to play foosball if you press your remote’s buttons when told to do so. It’s awkward and not any fun.
The next three pieces all come from Fox Movie Channel programs. We find Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jack Black (6:31), Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jason Segel (4:52) and Life After Film School: Rob Letterman (21:53). During their segments, Black and Segel mostly just offer general notes about story and characters; they throw in some minor production notes, but not much info emerges.
“Life” also acts to promote the movie, so expect some puffiness. Nonetheless, the program gives us good thoughts about Letterman’s career and aspects of the movie business. It’s not exactly hard-hitting, but it’s informative and interesting.
Finally, we look at the World Premiere. This segment lasts six minutes, three seconds and takes us to Hollywood for the movie’s debut. Along the way, host Tava Smiley briefly chats with Letterman, Black, Segel, and Blunt. This is a superficial puff-piece.
The disc opens with ads for Rio, Marley & Me: The Puppy Years and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This area also throws in an animated short that acts as a preview for 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. We also find the trailer for Travels.
Disc Two gives us a DVD Copy of the film, while Disc Three throws in a Digital Copy of Travels. Note that the DVD is the same one available separately, but because the standard DVD release is a two-disc set, it lacks supplements other than the gag reel; the other components – which appear to be the same as the ones on the Blu-ray – reside on the second platter.
Not only does Gulliver’s Travels totally trash its literary predecessor, but also it simply fails to become an enjoyable movie. Packed with crummy jokes and cheap gags, nothing here succeeds; even with a brief running time, it’s tedious and unlikable. The Blu-ray comes with pretty good picture, terrific audio and some decent supplements. If you’re looking for fun family fare, go somewhere else; Travels deserves to be left on the shelf.