Title: James and the Giant Peach
Director: Henry Selick
Original Release: 1996
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
We've been fans of James and the Giant Peach for a long time at our house. We first listened to the audiobook as read by Jeremy Irons on a road trip when our daughter was quite young. When she got her iPod Shuffle a while back, the book was her first download. She'd listen over and over again, often reading along with the book herself.
Given our great familiarity and affection for the original Roald Dahl book, I am a bit resistant to the film as it is quite different. Our Girl, however, is not bothered at all. This was our second time watching the film interpretation and she loves it. I can't deny that it's a well-made film - the combination of live action and stop-motion animation very effective.
The orphan James Henry Trotter lives a miserable life with his abusive aunts in 1930s England. One day, a giant peach falls from a tree in the yard. James crawls inside where he is befriended by the enlarged insects living within. The peach carries them all away to the sea, just the beginning of a journey that takes them all the way to New York. That much of the story is the same as the book. Other details along the way are added and altered but the spirit of the story is preserved.
On your recommendation I will watch this film! But must say, when the children were young, my wife read the story to them --because it scared the heck out of me-- and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I read them other stories, never that. Perhaps the film will cure me and I can...oh dear, the kids are all middle aged now. I must face this alone. I shall be brave!ReplyDelete
I admire your bravery! As is often the case with Roald Dahl stories, the scariest part to me is the evil grown-ups - far more so than any of the fantasy elements. I do think the book is better but the movie is certainly worthy of consideration on its own terms.Delete
A delightful film by one of my favourite authors!ReplyDelete
He's one of ours, too. Growing up, I'd only ever read the Charlie books but have explored further as a parent. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still my favorite.Delete
The 'evil grown-ups' remark reinforces to me what I was thinking, as I read your review, about Harry Potter's wretched aunt and uncle. Being able to escape a situation through some strange magic in which a child is rendered powerless by rotten authority figures is a recurrent theme in children's literature. I know I'm stating the obvious, but I'm thinking it, nonetheless.ReplyDelete
There is definitely a Dahl influence on the Harry Potter series. In addition to the evil grownups, much of her humor is Dahl-esque as well, I think.Delete
Ha! I can imagine the Oompa-Loompa's singing a wry song about the fate of Dolores Umbridge!Delete
Hermione would definitely have taken issue with Wonka's labor practices!Delete
Always thought this one a little odd. Animation was really good though.ReplyDelete
I'm with you on both. Odd isn't necessarily bad, of course. It's an odd book, after all. I do wonder how I would have felt if I'd seen the movie first.Delete