James and the Giant Peach (1996) – Review

4 Stars

Ronald Dahl’s wonderful children’s book, once thought un-filmable, is brought to the big screen in a magical effort that is an instant classic. The filmmaking team behind The Nightmare Before Christmas brings the same creativity and stop-motion animation process to James and the Giant Peach. This blend of live-action, animation, and song are combined to create a truly wonderful tale for kids and their parents. The visual splendor and off-beat approach to the material produce an almost psychedelic vibe to the amazing images on-screen.

When young orphan James spills a magic bag of crocodile tongues, he soon finds himself in possession of a giant peach that flies him away to strange lands. But that’s not half as odd as the oversized talking insects he finds living inside the peach.

By 1996 classical hand-drawn animation was in its last stages of relevancy as audiences’ attention was focusing on fully CGI films. And the painstaking art of stop motion animation was considered archaic. Still, despite changes in fads and tastes, James and the Giant Peach is an outstanding piece of art and family entertainment.

Director: Henry Selick
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Paul Terry, Richard Dreyfuss

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