An Englishman returns after nine years abroad and tells strange stories of the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnang, the flying island Laputa and the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses.
I had watched this on Italian TV as a kid and recall being fond of it – in view of its mixing live-action with animation; however, it was universally panned at the time…and, catching up with it again after all these years, I have to admit that the critics were right!
What must have seemed wondrous to a child's eyes is actually very poorly done, not to mention boring for a fantasy-adventure; fatally, both star (ex-'Angry Young Man' Richard Harris) and director (action expert Hunt) are ill-suited to the material! At least, Michel Legrand's score (with lyrics provided by scriptwriter Don Black) is serviceable – if not exactly inspired. By the way, a number of well-known personalities are featured among the voice artists on this British-Belgian co-production (Julian Glover, Bessie Love, Murray Melvin, Robert Rietty, Vladek Sheybal, Graham Stark and, this being his last film work, Michael Bates).
While the essential plot points of Jonathan Swift's classic novel ('giant' Gulliver becomes the pawn in a war between the little people of two neighboring countries and, on escaping, ends up in a land of real giants) do emerge here, it's done on a strictly kiddie level (with stereotyped characters though, thankfully, little intrusion of the comic/romantic variety) – which renders the whole venture somewhat pointless, outside of its intrinsically experimental nature, since Max and Dave Fleischer had already done a splendid feature-length cartoon version of the book way back in 1939!
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