3 Worlds Of Gulliver, The
Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
Released on: December 13th, 2016.
Director: Jack Sher
Cast: Kerwin Matthews, June Thorburn, Jo Morrow
Purchase From Screen Archives
An adaptation of Jonathon Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels, this film focuses on Doctor Lemuel Gulliver (Kerwin Mathews), a man very down on his luck who decides against the wishes of his fiance, Elisabeth (June Thorburn), to sign up to ship off to India and escape from all of his problems.
A storm hits and Gulliver falls into the ocean, later to wash up on the shore of a remote little island called Lilliput. The citizens of Lilliput are unique in that they are only a couple of inches tall, and when this giant of a man washes up on their shore, they instantly distrust him.
Soon though, Gulliver is able to convince them of his worth and they begin to help them in their ongoing war against a race of sixty foot tall people known as Brobdingags. When he arrives on their island, he finds himself in a similar situation to the people of Lilliput as everything around him is huge, and something as simple and harmless as a squirrel can now pose a serious threat to his well-being.
The Three Worlds Of Gulliver is a fun little movie that moves along at a brisk pace and is good entertainment for kids of all ages. There's enough wit in the dialogue and story to appeal to adults, and enough effects work and action to keep the little ones entertained as well. The cast do a good enough job with the material they have. Kerwin Matthews makes for a fine lead, he’s dashing and handsome and cool in his own extremely wholesome way, while Jo Morrow, well cast here as Gwendolyn and June Thornburn, starring as Elizabeth, ensure that the female cast members more than hold their own in this picture.
Once again, Harryhausen's effects are given a great chance to shine as we see Gulliver deal with giants and tiny people alike, along with a random assortment of beasts and animals – highlighted by a fight with an alligator towards the end of the movie.
The film also benefits from an impressive score form none other than Bernard Herrmann that helps to add to the action, drama, romance and tension inherent in the storyline. Jack Sher’s direction is also solid, it keeps the film going at a good clip and the hour and thirty-eight minutes that the film runs go by quite briskly. This is pretty great stuff – lots of clearly inspired creativity on display here, solid production values and a really fun, quirky story told right. If you’ve yet to see this, remedy that as soon as possible, and if it’s an old favorite? Well, now it’s on Blu-ray, and that’s a very good thing indeed. Speaking of which…
The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver debuts on Blu-ray framed at your choice of 1.66.1 or 1.78.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition in a transfer that completely blows away the previous DVD release. Colors look absolutely gorgeous here, really showing off the filters used to light up the weird cave where much of the finale takes place and also allowing for some really radiant sunshine and outdoor landscapes. Skin tones look lifelike and natural, there are no issues with noise reduction to note, while compression artifacts are held firmly in check. Edge enhancement is never a problem and the source material appears to have been in excellent condition as outside of a couple of specks here and there, the picture is more or less pristine. Detail and texture are both very obviously and impressively better than what we had with standard definition and while some of the film’s many optical effects are maybe a little more obviously just that, this is really an excellent picture.
The only audio option for the feature itself is an English language DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio track, with optional subtitles provided in English SDH. Levels are properly balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion to note. Dialogue stays clean and clear the score from Bernard Herrmann sounds great.
Extras start out with a commentary track from film historians Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner and Herrmann biographer Steven C. Smith. The track starts off with Smith leading the charge, talking up Herrmann’s contributions to the film and noting that it was, out of all of his Harryhausen collaborations, his favorite. From there they go on to talk about the cast involved in the picture, offering up some interesting biographical details for pretty much all of the main participants, Jack Sher’s directing style and of course, Harryhausen’s contributions in the effects department. Along the way we hear about how Harryhausen’s work concentrates on using a cleaner matte to get the ‘sizing effects’ clean, the sets and locations used in the picture, some tense moments that occurred during the recording when Herrmann wanted more strings, the light tone of the film, the film’s literary influences, the differences between Super Dynamation and plain old regular Dynamation, potential metaphors in the storyline, the animation used to bring the alligator to life in the end and a fair bit more.
Also on hand is a brief five minute making of featurette that includes some interviews with Harryhausen and some storyboard art to the mix. The making of segment is fun and it's nice to see the storyboard art and some alternate footage here, but it's far too short to go into too much detail about actually making the film. The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles and This Is Dynamation featurettes that were on the Sinbad Blu-ray’s from Twilight Time and on the older DVDs from Sony/Columbia are also included here.
Outside of that, the disc also includes the film’s original theatrical trailer, an isolated score track in DTS-HD Master Audio, menus and chapter selection. Inside the Blu-ray case is a nice full color booklet of liner notes from Julie Kirgo that offer up some insight into what makes this film as quirky and interesting as it is.
The Final Word:
The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver is a ridiculously charming fantasy adventure for kids of all ages and grown-ups too! There’s a lot to love about this one, it’s creative, it’s fun, it’s entertaining and it’s really well made. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds wonderful and it’s got some solid extras too. All in all, a very fine release for a really fun movie.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!