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James and the Giant Peach is a 1996 British-American musical fantasy film directed by Henry Selick, based on the 1961 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was produced by Tim Burton and Denise Di Novi, and starred Paul Terry as James. The film is a combination of live action and stop-motion animation. Co-stars Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes played James's aunts in the live-action segments, and Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, David Thewlis, and Margolyes voiced his insect friends in the animation sequences.

James and the Giant Peach
James and the giant peach.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Selick
Produced byDenise Di Novi
Tim Burton
Screenplay byKarey Kirkpatrick
Jonathan Roberts
Steve Bloom
Based onJames and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl
Starring
Music byRandy Newman
CinematographyPete Kozachik
Hiro Narita
Edited byStan Webb
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures (Global)
Guild Film Distribution[1] (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • April 12, 1996 (1996-04-12) (United States)
  • August 2, 1996 (1996-08-02) (United Kingdom)
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$38 million
Box office$28.9 million (U.S.)[2]

Plot

James Henry Trotter is a young orphan whose parents were devoured by a rhinoceros, forcing him to live with his abusive and domineering aunts, Spiker and Sponge. James dreams of seeing New York City and visiting the Empire State Building, as his parents had wanted to do. One day, after rescuing a spider from his hysterical aunts, James meets a mysterious old man who gives him a bag of magical "crocodile tongues" before disappearing without a trace. On his way back inside, James stumbles and drops the crocodile tongues near an old peach tree. A colossal peach grows on the tree, and Spiker and Sponge exploit the peach as a tourist attraction. At night, as James picks up litter, he enters the peach's interior through a large hole that forms when he takes a chunk from a peach to eat it. Within the pit, he encounters and befriends a group of human-sized anthropomorphic insects: Mr. Grasshopper, Mr. Centipede, Miss Spider, Mr. Earthworm, Mrs. Ladybug, and the Glowworm. As they hear the aunts search for James, Centipede cuts the stem connecting the peach to the tree and the peach rolls away to the Atlantic Ocean.

Remembering his dream to visit New York City, James and the insects decide to go there. Centipede claims to be an experienced traveler and takes on the duty of steering the peach. Miss Spider's silk is used to capture and tie a hundred seagulls to the peach stem as the group fends off a giant robotic shark. After the group staves off hunger by drawing sustenance from the peach, Miss Spider reveals to James that she was the spider he saved from Spiker and Sponge. The next morning, James and his friends find themselves in the cold Arctic; Centipede has fallen asleep at the helm, and his exploratory credentials are exposed as fraudulent. After Grasshopper determines that a compass is required to escape the frozen wasteland, a remorseful Centipede plunges into the icy water below to retrieve one from one of the many sunken galleons, but is captured and taken prisoner by undead skeletal pirates. James and Miss Spider rescue him with the compass at hand.

As the group finally arrives at New York City, the peach is attacked by the tempestuous form of the rhino that killed James's parents. James, though frightened, confronts the rhino and gets his friends to safety before the rhino strikes the peach with lightning; James and the peach fall to the city below, landing on top of the Empire State Building. After he is rescued by firefighters, Spiker and Sponge arrive and attempt to claim James and the peach. James tells the crowd of his fantastical adventure and exposes his aunts' mistreatment. Spiker and Sponge attempt to silence James with stolen fire axes, but are stopped by the insects and arrested by the police. James introduces his friends to the New Yorkers and allows the children to eat up the peach. The peach pit is made into a cottage in Central Park, where James lives happily with the bugs, who form his new family and also find success and fame in the city. James celebrates his ninth birthday with his new family and friends.

Cast

Voices

Production

Walt Disney Pictures acquired the film rights to the book from the Dahl estate in 1992.[3] The film begins with 20 minutes of normal live-action,[4] but becomes stop-motion animation after James enters the peach, and then live-action when James enters New York City (although the arthropod characters remained in stop-motion). Selick had originally planned James to be a real actor through the entire film, then later considered doing the whole film in stop-motion; but ultimately settled on entirely live-action and entirely stop-motion sequences, to keep lower costs.[5] Unlike the novel, James' aunts are not killed by the rolling peach (though his parents' deaths occur as in the novel) but follow him to New York.[4]

Reception

Though Roald Dahl refused numerous offers to have a film version of James and the Giant Peach produced during his lifetime, his widow, Liccy, approved an offer to have a live action version produced. She thinks Roald "would have been delighted with what they did with James. It is a wonderful film."[6]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 91% based on reviews from 74 critics, with an average score of 7.16/10. The website's critical consensus states: "The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment".[7]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, praising the animated part, but calling the live-action segments "crude."[8] Writing in The New York Times, Janet Maslin called the film "a technological marvel, arch and innovative with a daringly offbeat visual conception" and "a strenuously artful film with a macabre edge."[9]

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, by Randy Newman. It won Best Animated Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Year Award Category Nominee Result[10]
1996 Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Directing Henry Selick Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Music Randy Newman Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Producing Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Storyboarding Joe Ranft Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting Richard Dreyfuss Nominated
Best Individual Achievement: Writing Karey Kirkpatrick
Jonathan Roberts
Steve Bloom
Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Animated Film Won
1997 Academy Awards Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score Randy Newman Nominated
Annecy International Animated Film Festival Best Animated Feature Film Henry Selick Won [11]
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Original Score Randy Newman Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature - Animation or Special Effects Won
Best Performance in a Voiceover - Young Artist Paul Terry Nominated

Home media

A digitally restored Blu-ray/DVD combo pack was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on August 3, 2010 in the United States.[12]

Music

James and the Giant Peach
Soundtrack album by
Released12 April 1996 (1996-04-12)
Length50:03
LabelWalt Disney Records

Track listing

All tracks written by Randy Newman, except where noted.

James and the Giant Peach (An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack)
No.TitleArtistsLength
1."My Name Is James"Paul Terry2:38
2."That's the Life For Me"Jeff Bennett, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow & David Thewlis1:59
3."Eating the Peach" (written by Roald Dahl)Jeff Bennett, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow, David Thewlis and Paul Terry2:54
4."Family"Simon Callow, Jeff Bennett, Jane Leeves, David Thewlis, Susan Sarandon, Miriam Margolyes and Paul Terry2:43
5."Main Title: James And The Giant Peach" 0:37
6."Clouds" 1:40
7."Spiker, Sponge, And A Rhino" 3:24
8."Magic Man" 4:15
9."Giant Peach" 1:54
10."Into The Peach" 2:04
11."James Makes Some Friends" 1:08
12."The Peach Rolls" 2:37
13."All At Sea / That's The Life (Reprise)" 2:12
14."100 Seagulls And One Shark" 1:58
15."Lullaby" 1:57
16."James' Dream" 1:03
17."Way Off Course" 1:47
18."The Rhino Attacks" 2:50
19."Empire State Building" 2:17
20."New York City" 2:53
21."Spiker And Sponge Come To America" 2:15
22."A Place Where Dreams Come True" 3:58
23."Good News"Randy Newman4:20
Total length:50:03

Adaptations

The film was made into a musical of the same title with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book by Timothy Allen McDonald. The musical premiered at Goodspeed Musicals in October 2010 and is currently produced in regional and youth theatre.[13][14]

References

  1. ^ http://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/james-and-giant-peach-film
  2. ^ "James and the Giant Peach". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Setoodah, Ramin (July 29, 2016). "From 'The BFG' to 'Matilda': How 5 Roald Dahl Books Landed on the Big Screen". Variety. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Nichols, Peter M. (2003). The New York Times Essential Library: Children's Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 134–136. ISBN 0-8050-7198-9.
  5. ^ Evans, Noah Wolfgram. "Layers: A Look at Henry Selick". Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  6. ^ Roberts, Chloe; Darren Horne. "Roald Dahl: From Page to Screen". close-upfilm.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ James and the Giant Peach at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (April 19, 1996). "James and the Giant Peach (1996) review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 23, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ Maslin review
  10. ^ "James and the Giant Peach - Awards - IMDb". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  11. ^ Annecy
  12. ^ Foster, Dave (May 19, 2010). "James and the Giant Peach (US BD) in August". The Digital Fix. Archived from the original on May 20, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth (21 October 2010). "James and the Giant Peach, the Musical, Blossoms with the Help of Pilobolus, Oct. 21". Playbill. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  14. ^ Gioia, Michael (22 April 2015). "Watch Skylar Astin and Megan Hilty Record Pasek and Paul's James and the Giant Peach! (Video)". Playbill. Retrieved 12 September 2016.

External links