I haven’t done a review in a while, but I had to review this movie. Not so much the movie itself, but the DVD on which we watched it.
20th Century Fox isn’t the only company that’s starting to make DVDs this way, but this disc was the worst we’d seen. The company has programmed the disc to completely override the user’s control of the disc. When you insert, previews begin to play. You can’t skip, you can’t fast-forward, and you can’t jump to the menu.
This is absurd.
I understand companies disabling user controls during the FBI “anti-piracy” warning; I’m not even going to complain about that. But forcing me to watch 13 minutes of previews every time I insert the disc should be considered “piracy” of my time.
The solution? Insert the disc and let it play while you’re watching something else on TV. Wait until your DVD player’s LED screen says “menu”, and then start watching the DVD.
The movie itself was mildly entertaining, and relatively family-friendly. It’s so loosely based on the actual story of Gulliver’s Travels that the viewer should pretend the movie has a different name and isn’t related to the old familiar version. I wish these types of remakes weren’t allowed to use the original names of the books or movies that inspired them.
Jack Black is entertaining, while Amanda Peet and Emily Blunt provide a nice dose of attractiveness. Jason Segel is perfect as the best friend / sidekick, though it’s odd to see him being the small guy in the movie.
The plot is simple: guy with no self-esteem gets involved in a sticky situation, learns that lying isn’t the solution, eventually builds self-esteem and gets the girl. The sub-plot — the part that’s loosely based on the old story — is expected, but the end of it is silly. Gulliver (Black) convinces the two armies to stop fighting by singing Edwin Starr’s “War“. While the song undoubtedly carries a simple and true message, it’s highly doubtful that one musical number could end a generations-long war.
But back to the DVD. There are several reasons to watch a movie at home on DVD, instead of at the movie theater. One of those reasons is the control that the viewer has on what he or she is watching. You can pause to go to the bathroom or get more snacks, fast-forward to your favorite part, or fast-forward past offensive parts if kids are watching. You can slow it down to a frame-by-frame rate to see really cool versions of amazing scenes. And you can skip the previews if you want.
Taking away that control is a bad move on the part of the disc-making company, and will make it less likely that I’ll watch their movies in the future.
(How realistic is it that I’ll actually keep track of which companies are doing this? Not very realistic at first. But if it was this irritating the first time out, you can bet I’ll start noticing when it happens again.)
IMDb: Gulliver’s Travels
Wikipedia: Gulliver’s Travels
(for brief rude humor, mild language and action)
Length: 85 min. (1:25)
Director: Rob Letterman
Genre: Adventure / Fantasy
My Rating: 6 of 10
Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd