Gulliver’s Travels was written by Jonathon Swift in 1726. I found a hardback version by Jonathon Swift, published in 1912. I did read quite a bit of it, but decided to view the film instead; due to the limited amount of visuals in the book. Although the author uses descriptive and imaginative words, I prefer to view a film versus reading the book. I seem to relax a little too much while reading and end up asleep. The following is an overview of the film “Gulliver’s Travels”.
Gulliver’s Travels. 1996. Jonathon Swift/Charles Sturridge. Lions Gate.
Story Summary: This story is about Lemuel Gulliver, a doctor that boarded a ship on a journey. The boat capsized and Lemuel found himself in strange worlds as he finds his way back home in England. When he gets back, he begins to tell everyone about the places he had been and he is committed to an asylum for taking crazy. He tells of a land of miniature people, having miniature kingdoms, trees, and animals. He tells of a land of giants, where he was the miniature one and tales of a floating city. Within these tales are historical facts and references, for example in every place Lemuel visits there are kings, queens, princes, and the royal court. But, culturally there were many differences, raising the curiosity of neighboring lands. The whole time Lemuel tells about his journeys he has only one believer, his son.
Issues Addressed: The message in this story is to never let go of your imagination. As children, we are more apt to tap into our imagination and relate to a fantasy world and I believe that is why he had the faith of his son. I did notice a large amount of similarities between the places he had been and our own world; including war, technology, and fear for survival in these fantasy worlds. But, within each individual place was reality. It was full of the same pleasures, fears, and beliefs as our own world. The only time where Lemuel was the same size of the rest was in the intellectual world and the magical world. The other places were only fantasy because Lemuel was of opposite size than the others.
Age Level: I would recommend this film to all ages, due to the joining of reality and fantasy. I think it is natural to wonder “what if” and it is fun when it seems to come to life right before our eyes. A good author can do this with mere words and when put into imagination or film, it comes to life.
Activities for Sharing: I think it would be fun to watch the film and find the history words in each world Lemuel visits. For example, king, queen, royal court, Alexander the Great, Roman Emperors, etc…