i just watched a quality film named "james and the giant peach", i have to say i was very impressed on all levels of the film: the acting was good, the soundtrack was awesome by a couple of good medleys by randy newman, the story was quite interesting, but above what intrigued is that the character of james is a character many people cant identify with. now some idiot might say what identify with a kid who gets converted to small size and spends his adventures inside a giant peach with insects at his friends? lol it's that kind of narrow thinking by a narrow critic that tries to subdue the great qualities and messages the film has, and i will explain them all and you will see this film is not just a film for kinds to enjoy but adults too, adults who don't have any inspiration to follow their dreams like james does.
james (paul terry) is a nice and quite moral little boy who has two loving parents. while near the beach, he and his mom get killed (although this is not shown since it's a pg film) by a rhinoceros. yes this is a fantasy film in part and there are many magical elements in the film. james custody then is then taken over by two ugly aunts: aunt spiker (joanna lumley from "absolutely fabulous" fame) and aunt sponge (miriam margolyes) who are classic examples of adults who abuse their children. they are the classic example of the trash and evil nature that exist in all wretched adults who seek exploit others for their wealth. in fact, james's aunts use him as basically a slave to work around the house. they starve him and feed the breadcrumbs that are in the trash. they yell at him when james wants to make new friends and talk to kids who he can't relate to. nah it doesn't get much lower than quality of life aunt sponge and aunt spiker have on james. one day a mysterious man gives james a mysterious bag full of crocodile tongues I believe, which he says are magic and can make James dreams come true. In this case, James dream was to go to New York City and see Empire State Building. It was actually both James parent's dreams and James dream. However, even though James parent's are long gone, James still wants to go to New York an accomplish the dream he and his parents set out to do. This is one impressive kid, he has a big heart and the kind of determination that almost no adults have nowadays. That's one lesson of the film right there , which is not to give up on one's dream, it's literally embodied in this great kid.
So this special bag of magic combines with a small peach to grow into a gigantic peach which Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker capitalize for their own selfish profits!!!! Now if you think this made James's life any easier youd be wrong. Nope James's life continues as before, even worse as his rich selfish Aunt have become greedier and more manipulative and more vindictive. It's hard to believe that these "aunts" are the blood relative of James. Now before I go on, I couldn't help but think of James and Harry Potter. Sure Harry Potter was an orphan, but he and James are taken in by their slimy relatives who basically want to exploit and abuse them without any rights whatsover. Potter eventually escapes his vile relatives and so does James. Potter becomes one of the most loved characters at Hogwarts and James also near the end (without revealing too much) becomes one of the most loved kids in the world. Anyhow James interests in the peach grows huge to the point with the aid of the magic bad of tongues , James becomes magically converted to small size and invades the beach. Inside the beach, James discovers a group of zany characters all symbolizing common day insects who have now made James the center of attention. James meeting the characters of Mr. Grasshopper (Simon Callow), Mr. Centipede (Richard Dreyfuss), Ms. Ladybug (Jane Leeves from Frasier), Ms. Spider (Susan Sarandon), learns that they have been watching him as he is mistreated by his aunts and know that James dreams of going to New York City. Eventually James learns that the characters not only want to go with him but they are going to help him on his journey as well. This is a great movie about friendship as well. Let's face facts it's not likely James would have gone to New York on his own, but these group of wonderful friends give the help and encouragement to do it, when he needs it.
When James and the group decide on a plan to go to New York City, they're journey is stalled by several dangerous adventures which include a metallic shark, dead caribbean pirates, and the hazardous condition which threaten to end their journey. However that isn't stopping anyone and James and his friends, as a group are determined to make it New York and James is determined to make his and his parents dream come true....
As you can see you can describe the movie any better than better, and the movie itself is loaded with amazing special effects that elevate this entertaining fantasy world that James has now come into contact with. In fact when I first looked at the effects, I thought I was watching another classic fantasy film like in "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and guess what both films were directed by the same great director, Henry Selick. I was success and an eye for greatness embodied in fantasy is a signature for Selick. He really outdoes himself here.
Sony Imageworks and a trio of great animators provide the stop motion technology and animation that make the world of James and The Giant Peach so fantastic. Speaking of fantastic the voice talents in this film are all great with Sarandon, Dreyfuss , Leeves, and David Thewlis as Mr. Earthworm are great, you can tell that they captured the characters really well, but the person who outshines them is Paul Terry as James, he give's quite a performance and I couldn't think anyone better to do the role he did.
So as you can see James and The Giant Peach is far from being just a kids flick, it's that kind of stupid attitude that shows the true ignorance of so called critics who we'll miss out on the many meanings of films like "James and The Giant Peach". In fact one critic even mentioned that the film brings up ideas by Karl Marx for example the relationship of the slave, and master which are true in some regard, but above this a film that really does capture the spirit of having a dream and not quitting until he or she achieves that dream, because as you watch the ending, you can see in the ending, that James's dream really affects many people, not just himself.
I could go and on about how great "James and The Giant Peach" but I think I've nailed everything good about it, all that's left now is to recommend the film to those who haven't seen it.
Ah, the DVD is excellent coming up with several extra features:
*Behind the scenes on the making of the movie
* A special music video by Randy Newman who wrote several songs for the movie
* A beautiful transfer of the movie shown in letterbox format.
* About 13 character sketches on the characters themselves giving a glimpse
into the artistic process of the film
* Dolby Digital Surround sound.
As you can see a good DVD definitely worth checking out especially if you want more details about the film.
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