I attended a preview screening of Gulliver’s Travels about a week prior to it opening nationally. Most film screenings are theaters full of families who have scored free tickets through newspaper advertisements, radio promotions or similar, with a small number of seats reserved for us critics. The more base and crude the film, the more this can feel like the studio manipulating us reviewers: critics generally prefer complex, sophisticated films that tap into the rich language of cinema, but jam a theater full of people seeing a movie for free and it’s date night, paid by Paramount, Universal, Fox, Miramax, or similar.
One of the great current debates in Hollywood is about 3D films. On one side are producers like James Cameron (Avatar), who swears every film will be in 3D within a few years. If Gulliver’s Travels is anything to go by, however, 3D is going to die a slow, unhappy death and be a forgotten side note in cinematic history, as the red/blue 3D technology was in the late 1950’s. Gulliver’s Travels was the worst, least effective 3D I’ve seen this year, and that includes the poorly retrofit 3D of Clash of the Titans (see my review) and lazy 3D of the otherwise creative film Alice in Wonderland (again, see my review).