Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gulliver's Travels

While procrastinating recently, I decided to watch one of my favorite movies from childhood, the animated version (from 1939) of Gulliver's Travels. How I came to have and love this video I really don't know but it definitely is a classic. The movie was, I believe, the first American, non-Disney, animated movie. And it's pretty awesome. I actually found it on DVD pretty recently (for very cheap) and this was probably my first time watching the movie in about a decade.

Gulliver's Travels is based on the Jonathan Swift book of the same name, though it is, being a children's movie, not much like the book (although I must confess I haven't actually read it... yet).

The movie takes place entirely in Lilliput, a land of tiny people. Lemuel Gulliver (seriously? Lemuel?), the traveler, finds himself shipwrecked there and though the locals (Lilliputians, they're called) are scared of him at first, they all end up friends. And no one gets eaten. Of course, there's more to it than that including a big fight over a couple of songs, a king I always thought was the queen, and some very sneaky guys who help start a war and stuff. In the end, Gulliver pretty much fixes everything and everyone lives happily ever after. I am curious about how these things go in the book (I'll get to it someday!) because I know what Swift was like with his satires. I will mention one scene from the movie in which Gulliver helpfully puts out a raging fire with a little bit of water. Apparently this also happens in the book (I'm guessing in a similar scene) although he, well, doesn't use water. Just thought I'd mention that. My point is that the movie does seem to care about what happens in the book but totally overlooks the messages and/or social commentary presented. Well, it is meant for kids.

While I naturally thought a movie with the word "travels" in the title was appropriate for my blog, I can actually relate this in another way as well. When I went to Ireland, I decided that instead of flying, I would take the ferry from Holyhead, Wales to Dublin. Why am I mentioning this? Because the name of the ferry was the Jonathan Swift. See, here's where the ferry company decided to be cute. The Swift is the fast ferry so the name is quite appropriate, if slightly groan-inducing. And I say that as a great lover of all kinds of word play. I think they actually had a contest to name the boat and that was the winner. Clever.

I actually do have more to say about Jonathan Swift and his post as Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin. That will have to wait for another day, like when I figure out which church pictures in Ireland are which. Or maybe around Christmas when it makes sense to write about Handel's Messiah which also has ties to St. Patrick's. We shall see. Meanwhile, here's some water in Ireland:

1 comment:

  1. Lemuel?! Really?

    I think I watched Gulliver's Travels as a kid, too. I totally forgot about it till now. It was my first TZ-esque moment because I remember being all, "Wow. Gulliver is huge," and my mom being all, "No, Gulliver is normal. The Lilliputians are small." And it totally blew my mind in a way that it wouldn't be blown till that TZ episode with Endora being tormented by aliens.