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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best adaptation to date
Despite its many faults, Hallmark's 1995 version of Gulliver's Travels is still the finest adaptation of Jonathan Swift's satirical classic - largely because it not only includes ALL of Gulliver's many travels but also includes the satire that's often overlooked. Unfortunately the twin problems of the book's highly episodic structure and a television budget (even a fairly...
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by Trevor Willsmer

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gulliver's Travels
I am slightly disappointed with this film it is not quite what I was expecting but enjoyable all the same.
Published 14 months ago by Lez


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best adaptation to date, 26 Jun 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gulliver's Travels [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Despite its many faults, Hallmark's 1995 version of Gulliver's Travels is still the finest adaptation of Jonathan Swift's satirical classic - largely because it not only includes ALL of Gulliver's many travels but also includes the satire that's often overlooked. Unfortunately the twin problems of the book's highly episodic structure and a television budget (even a fairly lavish one) remain. The book is a somewhat rambling collection of traveller's tales moving simply from one surreal landscape to another, but Simon Moore's adaptation tries to impose some order on the chaos by providing a parallel plot that sees Gulliver returned to England clearly deeply traumatised and trying to prove his way out of the insane asylum where the rival for his wife's affections has had him committed. The England scenes at once mirror and comment on the travels, elements of which occasionally spill over into the real world. The trouble is that for the first hour or so it acts more as a distraction, constantly pulling you away from the story just as it starts to get interesting. The Lilliput scenes suffer worse here, with the feeling that the home scenes are too often designed to save them from filming the more expensive setpieces - this has to be the only version where we don't see Gulliver pulling the Blefescu fleet behind him.

Yet once Gulliver makes his escape, the tone becomes more consistent as he finds his situation reversed and himself the pet of the giants of the Utopians of Brobdingnag, a guest of the wise men of the floating island of Laputa who are so engrossed in science that they have no common sense left, the guest/prisoner of a historian who learns history directly from the source, offered immortality with all it's terrible consequences before finally finding a world he wants to belong if only he can convince the sublime talking horses the Houynhnhms that he's not an uncivilized Yahoo, each new destination convincing him of what an absurd and petty species humanity is. For the most part it's a darker set of Travels than expected, with only Gulliver's curiosity and commonsense and disappointment keeping it from plunging into irretrievable bleakness - and even this is offset by the scenes in the asylum where it becomes more obvious that even if he is telling the truth it may well have driven him genuinely insane. It's in these latter scenes that Ted Danson's Gulliver really shines, never more so than in an extraordinary speech where he turns his trial into a disappointed judgment on the whole human race.

Being made for television, the Yahoos are rather less literally scatological here than on the page, but for the most part this is a more adult treatment than you might expect with no real dumbing down. The star cast is certainly impressive, and for the most part well-used (if somewhat briefly in a few cases) - Mary Steenburgen, James Fox, Peter O'Toole, Edward Woodward, Omar Sharif, Shashi Kapoor, Edward Fox, Ned Beatty, Alfre Woodard, Kristin Scott Thomas and Isabelle Huppert among them. It's hard to imagine the upcoming Jack Black version even coming close to being a fraction as impressive as this.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece., 22 May 2003
This review is from: Gulliver's Travels [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
this really is a fantastic production. Danson really performs the role well. I really can't recommend this more, for children and parents alike.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gullivers travels ted danson, 16 May 2003
By A Customer
Fantastic film,great acting by ted danson.
All the other actors and background actors did a great job to make this film what it is, even (look for jim from eastenders )....a lot of film for so little money.
even the 2 guards looking after gulliver did a great job,
well I should know, I was one of them.
Buy it, watch it, the kids and you will enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Production, 13 May 2012
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Ted Danson is sublime in this production it is Excellent , Excellent, Excellent. l would recommend this gem to anyone who is studying the Classics the whole cast bring Swifts masterpiece to life, the special effects and costumes a visually stunning too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gulliver's Travels DVD Review, 10 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Gulliver's Travels [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
bought this item as a teaching tool to compare alongside the book. this adaptation is the closest thing to swift's original string of books. it manages to blend the author's subtle humour with well directed action. most of the acting roles are well-played by artists from both sides of the atlantic. really can't fault it if you are looking to entertain and educate children above the age of ten, or if you are simply looking to enjoy the story for yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding adaptation of Swift's classic novel., 8 April 2010
By 
M. Board "sheepisher" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gulliver's Travels [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I saw this version of "Gulliver's Travels" when it was first broadcast in 1996 and I was simply bowled over by it. When the series came out on DVD, I had to own it!

The script is excellent. Not only is this the first screen version of "Gulliver" to adapt all four voyages, it is also remarkably faithful to Swift's original stories in both tone and detail. Many of Swift's specific satirical inventions and observations are engagingly recreated. Those changes that are made for dramatic purposes (the third voyage is the most significantly altered) are understandable and work naturally with the story.

In addition, the script adds a framing device - that of Gulliver returning home to his family in an apparent state of madness as he obsessively recounts his travels, and of a scheming doctor who is intent on incarcerating Gulliver. This device works brilliantly on several counts: it grounds Gulliver's tales in reality, it adds a sense of mounting dramatic tension as he fights for his liberty, and it helps the targets of Swift's satire hit home.

The cast are uniformly excellent. Wisely, Ted Danson (Gulliver) doesn't even attempt a British accent, instead carrying us along with his energetic central performance. Mary Steenburgen brings her usual sympathetic, wounded quality to Gulliver's long-suffering wife, Mary. The supporting cast features dozens of big names from British and American cinema, theatre and television (Sir John Gielgud, Peter O' Toole, Omar Sharif, James Fox, Alfre Woodard to name but a tiny number), who are all clearly enthused by the material and help bring the peripheral characters to life in their fleeting appearances.

The special effects were breath-taking at the time and they hold up remarkably well to today's standards, which is only to be expected from the involvement of the Jim Henson Workshop. Each of Gulliver's worlds is truly brought to life; the effects are ingenious but subtle, never calling attention to themselves, and aided by stellar location work. In fact, I can think of several recent blockbuster hits in which (to my eye) the effects were less convincing.

The miniseries was filmed back in 1996 and so the transfer to DVD is as crisp as one could hope for. The disc contains two special features of note, one being a series of stills from the film itself and from production, the other being a 25-minute documentary feature on the making of the series. I do wish the documentary could have been longer, but then it was made in the days before DVD extras, and the behind-the-scenes glimpses they do include are interesting and informative.

My one gripe would be the price. For a miniseries 180 minutes long in total, and with sparse special features, 35 feels too pricey, considering what some feature films cost on DVD. However the series itself truly is of the highest quality, and goodness knows how overpriced other TV series are on DVD (yes, "Doctor Who", I'm looking at you), so I can't take off a star just for that.

In summary: whether you're an avid reader who would love to see a faithful adaptation of Swift's novel, or you're a lover of high fantasy and adventure who just wants a packed and imaginative story, I'd strongly recommend this film. After 16 years I still love watching and re-watching it, and there aren't many films or series about which I can say that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical version of Gulliver's Travels, 18 Oct 2013
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This is by far the best adaptation of the classic Swift novel that I have encountered. I remember being captivated by it when I saw it in my youth and am now so glad that I have bought this to share with my own children. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good movie, 1 July 2013
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It's a very good film to watch I liked it going to watch it again next weekend with my mates :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ted Danson really suits this role! cheers, 2 Jun 2013
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It doesn't stick exactly to the book but succeeds in keeping many of the wider political and philosophical points, even if it does miss out some of the more specific satire of the age.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal, 26 May 2013
By 
KG (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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The real story. It is too easy for film makers to lose sight of the darkness behind the satire but this excellent production does full justice to a classic book.
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