|James and the Giant Peach|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Henry Selick|
|Produced by||Denise Di Novi|
|Screenplay by||Karey Kirkpatrick|
|Based on||James and the Giant Peach|
by Roald Dahl
|Music by||Randy Newman|
|Edited by||Stan Webb|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures (Global)|
Guild Film Distribution (United Kingdom)
|Box office||$37.7 million|
James and the Giant Peach is a 1996 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 Henry Trotter is a young orphan whose parents were devoured by a rhinoceros, forcing him to live with his sadistic 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 tunnel 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, Ms. Spider, Mr. Earthworm, Mrs. Ladybug, and the Glowworm. As they hear Spiker and Sponge searching 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. Ms. Spider's silk is used to capture and tie a large flock of seagulls to the peach stem as the group fends off a giant mechanical shark. After the group staves off hunger by drawing sustenance from the peach, Ms. 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 Arctic; Centipede had 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 Ms. Spider rescue him with the compass at hand.
As the group finally arrives at New York City, they are suddenly attacked by the tempestuous form of the rhino that killed James's parents. James, though frightened, gets his friends to safety and confronts the rhino before it 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. Enraged at James's betrayal, Spiker and Sponge attempt to hack 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.
- Paul Terry as James Henry Trotter
- Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Sponge
- Joanna Lumley as Aunt Spiker
- Pete Postlethwaite as Narrator/the Magic Man
- Steven Culp as James's Father
- Susan Turner-Cray as James's Mother
- Mike Starr as Beat Cop
- Simon Callow as Mr. Grasshopper
- Richard Dreyfuss as Mr. Centipede
- Jeff Bennett as Mr. Centipede (singing voice)
- Jane Leeves as Mrs. Ladybug
- Susan Sarandon as Miss Spider
- David Thewlis as Earthworm
- Miriam Margolyes as Glowworm
Walt Disney Pictures acquired the film rights to the book from the Dahl estate in 1992. The film begins with 20 minutes of normal live action, 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. Unlike the novel, James's aunts are not killed by the rolling peach (though his parents' deaths occur as in the novel) but follow him to New York.
The film was theatrically released on April 12, 1996.
Disney released the film worldwide except for a few countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, where Pathé (the owner of co-producer Allied Filmmakers) handled distribution and sold the rights to independent companies. The only countries where Disney doesn't have control over the movie are the United Kingdom and Germany, where the film was released by Guild Film Distribution and Tobis Film respectively.
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."
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".
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, praising the animated part, but calling the live-action segments "crude." 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."
Awards and nominations
|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
|Best Individual Achievement: Storyboarding||Joe Ranft||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting||Richard Dreyfuss||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement: Writing||Karey Kirkpatrick
|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 |
|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
|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|
|James and the Giant Peach|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||12 April 1996|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
All tracks are written by Randy Newman, except where noted.
|1.||"My Name Is James"||Paul Terry||2:38|
|2.||"That's the Life For Me"||Jeff Bennett, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow & David Thewlis||1:59|
|3.||"Eating the Peach" (written by Roald Dahl)||Jeff Bennett, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow, David Thewlis and Paul Terry||2:54|
|4.||"Family"||Simon Callow, Jeff Bennett, Jane Leeves, David Thewlis, Susan Sarandon, Miriam Margolyes and Paul Terry||2:43|
|5.||"Main Title: James And The Giant Peach"||0:37|
|7.||"Spiker, Sponge, And A Rhino"||3:24|
|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|
|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 Newman||4:20|
- "Top 100 worldwide b.o. champs". Variety. January 20, 1997. p. 14.
- Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 185–186. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
- 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.
- 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.
- Evans, Noah Wolfgram. "Layers: A Look at Henry Selick". Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- 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.
- 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.
- James and the Giant Peach at Rotten Tomatoes
- 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.
- Maslin review
- "James and the Giant Peach". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
- "James and the Giant Peach - Awards - IMDb". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
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