Friday, December 24, 2010

Feature Film: Gulliver's Travels (Part 4)

(Note that my primary posts on Gulliver's Travels are spread out over four entries; this is an artifical division, and once they have all been posted, it will make more sense to read them together as a single unit.)

Ugh, glum worthless princess again. The movie has cliche plot points, and nothing to make me care about any of the characters; everyone who has been characterized is a douchebag. Gulliver should effect political change by killing Bombo. Maybe Little as well, but especially Bombo. Interesting bit with the detour sign, and holding off on revealing it until after its work is done, tho it's clear what it is. Armada dragging is creepy as it is fronted with rotoscope. Gulliver's 2¢ philosophy apparently trumps long thought out plans of conquest. Princesses must have crappy blue birds alight on their fingers. Was that some sort of cliche before Snow White? Apparently the little spy and Gabby are supposed to end up as a couple at the end.

The second half is not stultifying in the way the first half is, but it still isn't very good. My least favorite Fleischer cartoon of the year that doesn't center around a donkey. You need to construct features differently than shorts, and they do here, but I don't think what they used was ultimately a workable feature structure.

There's something Hoyt Curtain-y about the shipwreck scene. Gabby sounds a bit like he has Alvin and the Chipmunk technology applied to his voice. Lots of smeared backgrounds. So much division; lots of kinda connected stories; Gabby, the kings, the kids, the spies, Gulliver (kinda). The rotoscopes are almost eyeless. Bombo pulls a lot of faces in the face of a torrent of emotion; it doesn't really work. I suppose the memory inset was a technological marvel. The prince has Snow White's hairdo...

Being an inventive group, I suppose they thought an extended sequence focusing on the engineering accomplishments of moving a sleeping giant was a good idea. If they did, I do not agree with them.

This is the most exhausting entry I've had to do, for the obvious reasons of length. But surprisingly for the boringness of it as well. The king's speed also sucks things into its path. Gulliver says "well" and "my" quite a bit. I think the beard barbers are the Mario Brothers. The dancers in the bluebird song are what the prince and princess should look like. The dancing in that sequence is also interesting. And King Little's singing is interesting. Creepy boring pointless song by Gulliver. The tall spies look a bit like if the witch queen was one of the dwarfs. The wedding cake wreck presaged the prince's fall. The overall film is something like a bland Van Bueren cartoon from several years earlier. It was alright for Snow White to be unfunny; Disney cartoons weren't very funny. But the Fleischers were abandoning all that made them who they were by telling a blandly comfortable/mushy story.


  1. Yeah ultimately it was a huge disappointment for me as well. So bland, so boring, so predictable. I think they went for the widest market appeal and in the end it appeals to no one. It doesn't get better with multiple viewing either. It tried. And to think they spun off Gabby into his own series.

  2. Haven't been forced to watch this in years. That's the only way I would ever watch it -- I would need to be forced.

    Gulliver has the personality of a pylon.

    After the Fleischer Studio spent years successfully making personality-driven cartoons like Popeye and Betty Boop, why would they make the lead character of their first feature film such a stiff?

    As for Gabby, when I was young, he and the spies were the only characters that I found remotely interesting in "Gulliver." Since that time, I have learned that many people found Gabby to be particularly annoying. He's a bit like Grumpy of the 7 Dwarfs. But Grumpy worked so well because he had six Dwarf co-stars to play off. Gabby has almost no one to play off, and suffers by comparison.