Just why an animated sequel to Jonathan Swift’s classic work, Gulliver’s Travels, exists really must be questioned. Just because actor turned Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said, “I have an idea,” doesn’t mean it should be realised.
I recall Ronald Reagan once said, “We have every right to dream heroic dreams.” And while that drives Gulliver Returns, something must have gone wrong during production. It should not only be a story about what Martin Luther King Jr. once said concerning civil rights, but also reflect upon what’s changed since the titanic hero left to become a world adventurer.
The political agenda won’t mesh for its intended target audience. If there’s supposed to be satire in this piece, I must have missed it. Kids will enjoy the action and music in this updated take, but for anyone else, it doesn’t offer anything hugely inspirational. Despite having some nice set designs, and a charming voice actor in the lead, some character development is straight out of Matt Hatter Chronicles, I was more disappointed because it tried to do too much.
Plus, the animal mascot Gulliver has by his side is unneeded. As the title implies, this character is back in Lilliput because he’s asked to. But he’s no longer the giant of a man that these people thought he was.
The adventure is sadly forgettable, and the fact this movie is also a musical is weird. That’s mostly due to the fact that previous versions of the original tale went down this route. I don’t count Jack Black’s version, and I don’t think there’s been a faithful adaptation. I recall two animated takes–The 1939 version was heavy with song and dance, and it may have influenced this latest version’s design.
As for saying Gulliver Returns is the perfect follow up, it is hard to say. I applaud the fact that a portion of the sales to this film go to World Central Kitchen in Ukraine. I hope it’s enough, because this work is at least worth a place on my video shelf. As for whether I’d watch it again, probably not.
3 Stars out of 5