HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
OnTV Today's Date:

James and the
Giant Peach

On the heels of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the dream team (to some of us, anyway) of Disney, Tim Burton and director Henry Selick turned to Roald Dahl. A popular children's author with a dark sensibility, Dahl wrote books that certainly influenced Burton and Selick, with a sense of whimsy and morality that spoke to kids without dulling the sharp edges of their fears.

And so they adapted James and the Giant Peach, a stop-motion animated picture with grotesque (in a good way) live-action bookends as the good-hearted James (Paul Terry) escapes from the tyranny of living with his horrible Aunts Spiker (Joanna Lumley) and Sponge (Miriam Margolyes). Dahl was not big on subtlety in his imagery.

When James finds refuge in that magical giant peach, Selick really gets to unleash his magic, as he's guided by several suddenly intelligent giant insects as well. Yes, so that's the weird part, but some of us like the weird part as several celebrities voice the insects, and Selick works well in a quasi-dreamscape. Jack Skellington even makes a cameo as an undersea ghost pirate, years before Geoffrey Rush would think of such a thing.

It's also a musical with lyrics taken from Dahl and scored by Randy Newman. Since Newman has a somewhat unique voice, his songs already had the habit of carrying non-singers along, and even Richard Dreyfuss sounds pretty good.

Yet James and the Giant Peach seems to be a somewhat forgotten Disney film, made shortly after the first Toy Story changed the game for everyone. Finally, it's arrived in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, with features largely lifted from the previous DVD release and only one addition for Blu-ray.

That would be a "Spike the Aunts" game, pitting the film's villains - or at least a reasonable facsimile of them - against the rhinoceros that killed James' parents. Maybe I'm drawing one or two extra conclusions here, and despite that mordant idea, it's not a game that's going to last long unless you marvel at the sophistication of game concepts that can fit as an afterthought on Blu-ray. Still, it would be nice to get things beyond the DVD set top games that Disney provided on all their direct-to-DVD sequels.

Despite the lack of new insight into the movie in the form of extras, I continue standing by my enthusiasm for Blu-ray when watching animation. The detail on Selick's work pops in a way that I haven't yet gotten when watching full live action. It almost makes the film like The Wizard of Oz; when are we going to get to the color section?

Ultimately, it's fun, with a resourceful kind hero and bugs. Let's face it: kids love bugs. And they can handle a little creep out now and then, so try this one out as we approach the fall.

Hey, wait a minute… it's peach season, isn't it?

Derek McCaw


Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites