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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Adventure > Action > Comedy > Swords > Battles > Creatures > Literature > Babies > CG I Animation > The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver (1960/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Storks (2016/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Teletubbies: Snowball (2016/Sony DVD)

The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver (1960/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Storks (2016/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Teletubbies: Snowball (2016/Sony DVD)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B & B-/B/C+ Sound: B-/B/C+ Extras: B/C+/C- Main Programs: C+



PLEASE NOTE: The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, from the links below


Now for the newest child-aimed releases...



Jack Sher's The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver (1960) may not be a perfect adaptation of Jonathan Swift's landmark classic tale and book Gulliver's Travels, but it remains the best live-action version of the story on the big screen or in any TV adaptation. With some visual effects by legendary Ray Harryhausen (credited here as SuperDynamation, though much of the effects are forced perception and not stop-motion animation) as Dr Lemuel Gulliver (a convincing Kerwin Matthews) travels the world and finds places where he is a giant, extremely small and many things in between as the various persons and groups he encounters all have unusual reactions to him.


Of course the political aspects are stripped away and we should not expect an annotated art film (at least here), but the Sher/Harryhausen group are more interested in emphasizing the exotic, other worldly, unusual, odd, even ethnic (fictional or not) other worlds he goes to and does this better than those other live action versions. It is arguable that 56+ years and going, no one has come close to what they did here in this approach (even if they go overboard in this way a bit) and few likely ever will.


Sony has decided to take this Columbia Pictures fantasy classic and only make it available as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray as they had with Mysterious Island, so serious fans of cinema, the genre and the film will want to pick this up because these copies tend to go quickly (the Sinbad sequels did instantly and are not very pricey) and in a further irony, after hundreds of awful VHS, Beta, 12-inch LaserDisc and DVD public domain versions (including a disappointing Blu-ray version form Image we reviewed elsewhere on this site), the Fleischer Brothers' 1939 feature-length animated Technicolor version of Gulliver's Travels finally arrived off of a real 35mm three-strip Technicolor print in fine condition as a limited edition by the Thunderbean label and it is already out of print, going for over four times its original price as of this posting. That I why you should act now on this one just in case.


The film also stars Jo Morrow, Peter Bull (Dr. Strangelove), June Thorburn, Charles Lloyd Pack, Basil Sydney, Lee Patterson, Martin Benson, Marian Spencer, Mary Ellis and the stop motion creatures by Harryhausen, of course. In 1935, the Soviets made a version of the book that I considered the first-ever full length stop-motion animated feature film. Hope we see that one next.


Extras include the film in two aspect ratios (see more below), a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, then the Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary track by Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner & Steven C. Smith, Isolated Music Score, vintage This Is Dynamation! featurette, The Harryhausen Chronicles featurette, Original Theatrical Trailer, and a Making Of featurette.



Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland's new CGI animated comedy Storks (2016) is an interesting, even odd and unusual idea for a new franchise from Warner's new CGI unit. The title characters no longer deliver newborn babies, but (I guess they have it on drones, as well as USPS, Fed Ex, UPS and even DHL) packages, but the return of the repressed throws everything into chaos when a 'baby making machine' produced a little girl who goes wild and throws the whole operation into chaos.


No drunken stork here as in the old Warner animated shorts, but not much of a script either as the short 87 minutes coasts on its concept while needing to avoid explaining childbirth in real life to its target audience, the elephant in the room that will stay as such. On the plus side, this has some amusing moments, a few funny ones and a voice cast that includes Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston and Danny Trejo that adds to the energy you would expect from any Warner animation unit.


We were lucky enough to get the Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version with a regular Blu-ray and it is funnier in 2160p when you can see the animation more clearly, as the visual gags are funnier when they are clearer. I don't know if we'll see or need any kind of sequel, but at least they tried something new, so I give all credit for this not being a sequel, remake, prequel or spinoff of any sort.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber (minus iTunes) capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the same The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short seen in theaters with this release, Storks: Guide to Your New Baby, Storks #Kiss the Sky# Sing-A-Long, feature length audio commentary by Douglas Sweetland, Nicholas Stoller, John Venzon and Matt Flynn, Deleted Scenes, Deleted Scenes Commentary and Outtakes.



Teletubbies: Snowball (2016) is a holiday special for the long-running hit TV show, covering Christmas as much as anything, which is ironic considering the attack the show suffered (then brushed off by continuing to be successful) from someone on the extreme Right of politics that even caused that individual to get a backlash. This is actually the first time we have ever reviewed the show. It is not bad, safe for children and just fine for the entertainment for it audience it wants to be.


The episodes here only run a combined 74 minutes, but there may have only been so many shows the series produced that fit the theme of this release. Still, I would have liked more, but that's just enough to pass as a good single DVD for fans. We'll have to see how future releases compare.


Two brief video clips Behind The Scenes and for Christmas are the only extras.




The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Storks is just ahead of the rest of the discs here to be the best visual performer on the list with better color, depth, detail and color range than the rest, including the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition regular Blu-ray image that looked good on its own, but suffers more in comparison (especially in color range) versus the 4K version.


The 1080p digital High Definition image transfer on Gulliver is here in two aspect ratios on the same disc, which we very rarely see. You get a 1.78 X 1 version that fits all HDTVs, but the original aspect ratio of 1.66 X 1 option (the way the great Director of Photography Wilkie Cooper framed and shot it) is better, shows more frame, has smaller grain, finer color and better composition. Outside of some visual effects looking more dated than others, this is a fine print of the film, though it can show the age of the materials used. Again, though, the film sports odd color and an odd color history. U.S. posters and ads credit the film as only in Eastman Color, but Columbia was using older, difficult to control and cheaper Pathe Color and labwork, so it is Eastmancolor by Pathe, yet in England and France, 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints of the film were issued that would hold up better and have more consistent color than U.S. prints.


This is easily the best I've ever seen the film over the years and I doubt it could look too much better. It is also for the best they don't try and update the visual effects. The 1.66 X 1 version can compete with Storks at 1080p, though both have odd color schemes.


That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Teletubbies looking just fine for the DVD format and like we've seen the show before, but color is consistent.


As for sound, both the 4K and 1080p versions of Storks sport DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mixes that have some good moments but are not up there with the best in CG animated features. Still, this is professional and consistent enough and is the best performer on the list as expected.


Gulliver was a theatrical monophonic release, so we get a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix that allows the film to sound as good as it can, though the isolated music score brings out more in the music and Bernard Herrmann fans will want this disc just for that. Too bad the rest of the sound stems and master elements did not sound as good or a stereo upgrade could have been made. Of course, the music is by the brilliant Bernard Herrmann and that keeps the film stringer and more effective than had it been scored by most anyone else, so Herrmann fans will want to snag this disc just for that.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Teletubbies is just fine for the format but lands up in third place because it tends to be quiet and gentle often and the soundfield is a little inconsistent, but I did not expect much less or more, so this is a typical mix for such a release.



To order The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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