Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
James and the Giant Peach
Adventures this big don't grow on trees.
James' happy life at the English seaside is rudely ended when his parents are killed by a rhinoceros and he goes to live with his two horrid aunts. Daringly saving the life of a spider he comes into possession of magic boiled crocodile tongues, after which an enormous peach starts to grow in the garden.
An animated masterpeach.
Based on the Roald Dahl story, Henry Selick's "James and the Giant Peach" is good looking, stop-motion, musical tale that follows young James on his journey across the Atlantic in a giant peach. The film has enough whimsy for younger audiences and enough dark corners for older audiences to enjoy.
What keeps "James and the Giant Peach" from being a film on par with other dark, stop-motion adventures of the Burton/Selick/Laika mold is a story that never fully engrosses. The narrative seems clipped and short; it never allows its audience to gain a foothold in it. The imagery of its animated characters and environs seems to be at a much higher premium than the film's story. It's style vs. substance, and, here, style wins out. Still, that style makes for a film that is worth seeing.
Part of my Scavenger Hunt #2 list. Task:
8. A Film featuring Claymation or Stop Motion
I'm determined to watch all of the movies on this list within this month, I'm wearing a wig (long non-tragic story), my boyfriend hangs out with 90year-old men handling bees and James and the Giant Peach felt like the perfect movie to watch. Like taking a deep breath before diving, because A Serbian Film is up next.
Unfortunately, I've never had the privilege to have read the works of Roald Dahl growing up. But I did grow up watching Czechoslovakian children programs with puppets, and us Swedes had a lot of strange things going on as well. A whole generation having childhood traumas due…
It had been at least a decade since I last saw this one. I found the live action parts incredibly abrasive, but that animation is glorious and has aged immensely well. The humor's still there as well.
I think if I had seen James and the Giant Peach as a kid, I probably would have given this a much higher rating that it's given. Because viewing this with adult eyes, this is one trippy, messed up movie that's hard to comprehend.
Seriously, I have no clue what the living heck I just watched. Some unexplained demon rhino can eat parents for no apparent reason, creepy lesbian aunts abusing a little boy simply wanting to have fun, Pete Postelwaite possibly being a weird pedophile stalking this little boy's life, a giant peach growing out of magic crocodile tongues, James managing to go inside the peach and turning into a claymated human, insects that can talk and sing bland…
Completely harmless, perfectly paced family fun. Much too overlooked and underrated.
Although 1st prize goes to Paul Terry for being the most goddamn irritating child actor in existence.
this film renewed my interest in fruit. also FUCK that spider is good in so many ways
I always wondered if the Rhino in the movie was some kind of metaphor, or a childhood allegory for some other kind of villain or death, but no, it's just a giant cloud spirit rhino. I think this sums up my issues with James and the Giant Peach perfectly- a movie that is gorgeous, funny, weird, and unique in so many ways has ample opportunity to transcend the level of film that it ended up being and instead settled for surface. Still a delightful watch.
The team of Henry Selick and Tim Burton ("The Nightmare Before Christmas") was the right choice for adapting this Roald Dahl book, or any Roald Dahl book for that matter, to the screen. What Dahl needs is someone who can appreciate the dark and morbid humor to be found in his stories -- they DON'T need to be given the sanitized Disney treatment.
Still, this is only a so-so version of the book, one of my absolute favorites when I was a child. The animation is cool, but there was no way the filmmakers were going to be able to compete with my childhood memories of reading this book over and over again.
It's probably not even fair for me to review the movie for that very reason.
- Nominated, Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
CHRONOLOGICAL WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS-A-THON (or at least the ones I own or can easily access, anyway!) APPENDIX #16:
How a movie, about a little boy who goes on an adventure with giant bugs, so steeped in homage to German expressionism and the weird bug themed work of animation pioneer Ladislas Starevich could be such an unbelievable drag is beyond me. Yet, somehow it is.
Almost an hour into this thing I decided to check see how much was left, imagine my shock upon realizing I'd only been watching for ten minutes. I generally really like Henry Selick's work, but I don't think that his style (which is loud and apparent here) really translates that well to live action. And…
It's the second best Roald Dahl film adaptation. 'Nuff said.
In comparison to similar titles, James and the Giant Peachis sooo weak.
An unimportant adaptation.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Excluding these because they are not in Letterboxd's library:
My Man (1928) The Battle of Paris (1929)
Footlights and Fools…