Comments on Gulliver's Travels

Kenny Liu

Gulliver's Travels - The Movie really brought to life what was for me a dry and boring book. From what I understand the movie captured the essence and imagination of the story. Indeed, the satire of Victorian and more generally human society was plainly evident through the larger adventure. Ted Danson was great espousing the virtues of British society while slowly becoming disillusioned with it. First in the land of Brobdingnag he tries to explain the usefulness of certain institutions and only manages to expose their inadequacies. Then in the land of the Huinymn, it is man himself that is exposed for the base desires that underly our society and our intelligence.

In both these scenarios Swift changed our perspective to gain a better understanding of our society. In a way, this is like entering a higher dimension and seeing the world from an entirely different point of view. For example, through the perspective of time the Yahoos were us, only stripped of clothing and paper money.

Another good example of how Swift used time as a dimension in an interesting way albeit without any social commentary (that I'm aware of) was in the house of Omar Sharif. When Gulliver feels that he is constanly sitting down for dinner and having a drink, it is like time as a fourth dimension is removed and he is truly living in only a 3D world where nothing ever happens. Then when Gulliver escapes this trap he summons all these people from different times. This is like removing the restraint on time of having events occur sequetially. It's like seeing a movie where instead of the film being run by a light source one after another, they are cut up and stacked one on top of the other and then shining the light through. Everything happens at once.