DVD Review: Gulliver Returns

DVD Reviews, News, Reviews, Top Story

When Volodymyr Zelensky was elected the president of Ukraine, he was noted as being the Jon Stewart of Eastern Europe. Among his many showbiz gigs was being the voice for Paddington in the dub versions of the films in Ukraine. Before he was elected, he played the role of president of the country on a TV show. It’s no surprise that he is part of the crew that came up with Gulliver Returns. When he was getting the project started, he had no idea that Putin and the Russian Army would invade his county, bomb his cities and send hit squads to execute him. He probably imagined that at this point in time he’d promoting the film and tourism to his country instead of begging for more potent weapons to be shipped over the border for his troops.

The people of Lilliput are extra excited because their savior the Great Gulliver will return to them after 40 years. But the Lilliputians are shocked when a man their size enters the city gates and swears that he is Gulliver. This is not the giant Gulliver of legend. They need their huge ally because the kingdom of Lilliput is being threatened by their neighboring country of Blefuscu. This Gulliver isn’t going to protect them from the military invasion like he did the last time. The leaders of Lilliput think he’s an imposter since they’re all as big as him now. What good is he at their size? Gulliver is slightly confused why he doesn’t dominate the scenery although he enjoys seeing familiar faces at eyelevel. He needs to come up with a way to save Lilliput from Blefuscu if he can’t just stomp them like before.

While Gulliver Returns is aimed at younger viewers, there is be an element that speaks to what is happening in the adult world. Volodymyr Zelensky is dealing with a large army that has invaded his country and demands his surrender. He needs to a giant to defend his nation. Being a CGI animated film, the production started long before Putin ordered Russia’s army to attack Ukraine. The movie played festivals in the summer of 2021. The country had previously lost land when Russian backed separatists grabbed the Eastern edge. This was an impending fear. It makes the film interesting to watch as a grown up. Is Gulliver Returns Volodymyr Zelensky’s warning that worse is coming and he needs help from old allies?

The primarily Ukranian production brought on a few American animation experts. Screenwriter Michael Ryan has been working in animation since writing a script for Goof Troop back in 1992. He’s worked on The Powerpuff Girls, Phineas and Ferb and different Scooby-Doo shows. He brought together the ideas created by Zelensky and others. Also joining the international team as Art Director is Tony Bonilla who had worked on Disney’s Big Hero Six, Zootopia, Moana and Encanto. The story and CGI animation of Gulliver Returns feels a bit smoother than expected.

A portion of the net profits are being donated to the World Central Kitchen. The charity has been serving up meals to those fleeing the devastation that has been ongoing since Russia invaded on February 24, 2022. The film is available through digital download sources starting July 26.

The Video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks good with the CGI animation coming off fine. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes in English. The movie is subtitled in English.

No bonus features.

Shout Factory presents Gulliver Returns. Directed by Ilya Makismov. Screenplay by Michael Ryan. Starring Tyler Bunch, Wayne Grayson, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Billy Bob Thompson & Tom Wayland. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 90 minutes. Release Date: August 9, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.