James and the Giant Peach (1996) - Two-Disc Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Animation / Family / Fantasy
Disney || PG - 79 minutes - $39.99 || August 3, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-07-24


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Henry Selick
Writer(s): Roald Dahl (book); Karey Kirkpatrick and Jonathan Roberts and Steve Bloom (screenplay)
Cast: Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon


Theatrical Release Date: April 12, 1996


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Music Video
  • Interactive Game
  • DVD Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.66)
  • English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I vaguely remember seeing James and the Giant Peach back when I was kid at the IMAX theaters. I loved the heck out of the movie and saw it probably close to ten times in the theaters, mostly to make my parents go nuts. The film is amazing animated flick with the only downside being that the runtime is too short. Hey, we were all kids once; we loved this kind of movie.

James (Paul Terry) is a child living in a crappy house with his awful Aunt Spiker (Joanna Lumley) and Aunt Sponge (Miriam Margolyes). They treat him like dirt until one day he meets an old man who gives him some magical glowworms. James accidentally loses all the worms but one, which manages to implant itself in a peach that ends up growing to huge size. James decides this is his trip to New York and gets in the peach to start his adventure. Inside the peach are animals from his life: Grasshopper (Simon Callow), Centipede (Richard Dreyfuss), Ladybug (Jane Leeves), Glowworm (Miriam Margolyes), Miss Spider (Susan Sarandon), and the Earthworm (David Thewlis). The seven head off to the skies for an adventure none of them is about to forget.

The movie is one of the lighter Tim Burton films, which is kind of funny to type. The movie was made in 1996 prior to Burton making it big in the theatrical world, and while the film wasnít a commercial success it did pave the way for his future animated flicks to become darker. The cast provides some great voice work and truly captures the book that we read as children into a phenomenal movie. Kids will love it for the cute critters and adults will enjoy the flick just because of the jokes encased within.

So what exactly didnít I like about the movie? Well, it takes roughly 30 minutes to get going, and by then the movie is nearly halfway over! The movie clocks in at a paltry 80 minutes, which including credits and start time, is only 70 or so. I was surprised that this edition didnít have any deleted or extended scenes, as though movies under 90 minutes are generally unheard of unless they are straight-to-DVD. I loved the movie as a kid and even after so many viewings of this (as of this writing Iíve watched the movie twice now) I still find the film enjoyable.

Is there anything I would change about the movie? Other than the runtime, this is a fantastic flick that provides entertainment for both adults and kids. Iím not sure exactly why the movie is PG, as though by todayís standards, thereís nothing here to really warrant the rating. Back in 1996 though Iím sure this movie would be seen as a little violent in a few parts, but barring the rhino scene thereís nothing here to rate this anything more than a G.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Behind-the-Scenes (5 minutes): Burton and cast discuss the film briefly in a few clips that showcase the flick. Thereís nothing here for fans of the movie which is such a shame as though Burton films normally have some decent extras to them.

ďGood NewsĒ Music Video (2 minutes): The song from the flick is performed by Randy Newman. I wasnít a fan of the song more than a decade ago, and Iím still not.

Thereís also a Still Frame Gallery if you want to view with pictures from the flick.

** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **

ďSpike The AuntsĒ Interactive Game: This lame exclusive provides kids the opportunity to bash the aunts from the movie by hitting the enter key on your remote. I was bored after 30 seconds.

Finally, a DVD Copy is available for your viewing pleasure. Strangely enough, no Digital Copy is available.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Alright, Iíve come to expect five-star-transfers from Disney or darn close to it from all the past releases Iíve reviewed from them in the past, and Iím betting you have to. I understand that this is a fifteen-year-old film and as such itís not possible to restore it to that great of quality, but holy crap the quality here is atrocious. There are significant signs of artifacts, heavy DNR, and grain issue nearly the entire film. The filmís first forty or so minutes are dreadful and look nearly as bad as the DVD edition but after the flying of the peach begins the transfer gets a little bit better. Colors appear much brighter and vibrant, which is a huge relief compared to the abysmal color scheme at the start. Grain and noise tone down a little bit at this point as well, but not to the extent that I would have preferred. Disney, what happened here?

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is loud, engaging, and a huge step-up from the previous special editions Dolby Digital 5.1 track from years ago. Dialogue levels are appropriate and provide a great use of surround sound the entire flick. I heard my rears going off constantly from dialogue and other sounds, which means great things for those wanting some great surround usage. Speaking of surround usage, itís used extensively during the many action scenes provided and boy do they sound loud. The rhino scenes are great to listen to, but the problem I have with the track is that the inconsistency plagues the film. There were numerous times where I had to adjust the volume after an action sequence and then once again prior to action sequences. Thereís just no real reason behind this and Iím disappointed that I had to tweak the volume so often.



.::OVERALL::.

James and the Giant Peach is a fantastic kidís movie that is great for both the young ones and adults. The movie is relatively short and is pretty cheesy by todayís standards, which is kind of a downer. The real downer though comes from the fact Disney neglected to put anything of real value on the Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack. The video also isnít of usual Disney quality but the audio track certainly is so Disney got it half right with the technical area.

Hereís the conclusion: If you already own the special edition from 2000, then donít bother upgrading. If you however donít have any edition or havenít seen the movie, then this is a movie to add to your collection pronto.