James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Genre(s): Animation / Family / Fantasy
Disney || PG - 79 minutes - $19.99 || September 14, 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

.:: 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


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.66)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: 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.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This new edition looks identical to the previous version from 2000, so not a lot has changed here. Colors are dark and dreary to symbolize the negative mood that James goes through as a child living where he does, and then the transfer changes midway when his life picks up and the peach starts to fly. There are still issues here though with grain and noise, both of which are prevalent throughout most of the movie. The darker sequences look fairly awful, but for the most part the movie looks decent.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isnít anything special, which is a shocker to write about for the Disney studio. The track provides some decent surround sound and dialogue levels but yet again thereís nothing special about this edition to really type about. The surround levels are decent and I heard some good sounds coming from my rears, but they were few and far between. The dialogue levels were fairly appropriate for the movie but once the film switched from dialogue to action sequence I did have to tweak it up and down a few times.



.::OVERALL::.

James and the Giant Peach is a great flick but this special edition is anything but. There are no great special features here and the technical package isnít the best, both of which hurt to type. If you donít already own the film then you may want to rent it first to see if youíll enjoy it, as though the short runtime isnít enough to keep kids interest for a long period of time.