James and the Giant Peach

1996

James and the Giant Peach

Critics Consensus

The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 74

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 256,972
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Movie Info

A young boy's discovery of a gigantic peach triggers an eventful journey across the sea in this strikingly designed and surprisingly twisted animated adventure. A live-action framing device establishes the dark yet fanciful mood one might expect from an adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, as young British lad James (Paul Terry) is orphaned by the death of his parents and forced to live with two cruel, repulsive aunts (played by noted British character actors Miriam Margolyes and Joanna Lumley of British TV hit Absolutely Fabulous). The visit of a mysterious stranger provides a means of escape, however, through a magic bag of "crocodile tongues" that bring about the appearance of the giant peach. The curious James soon winds up inside the fruit, at which point his body changes, and the film switches to a combination of stop-motion and digital animation. The new James meets up with a group of talking, oversized insects, including a vampish spider (voiced by Susan Sarandon), a sarcastic centipede (voiced by Richard Dreyfuss), and a matronly ladybug (voiced by Jane Leeves). These creatures become his traveling companions when the peach rolls into the Atlantic Ocean, and James and his new friends must brave a variety of dangers to reach the shore. Director Henry Selick provides further proof of the visual skill he demonstrated in The Nightmare Before Christmas, creating a fascinating, often eerie alternate universe, while Randy Newman provides the upbeat musical accompaniment. Young children may be disturbed by the story's creepier overtones, but the mixture of remarkable visuals, oddball characters, and off-kilter fantasy will appeal to all other audiences. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Cast

Joanna Lumley
as Aunt Spiker
Paul Terry (II)
as James (voice)
Simon Callow
as Grasshopper
Jane Leeves
as Ladybug
Miriam Margolyes
as Aunt Sponge, Glowworm
Steven Culp
as James' Father
Tony Haney
as Reporter #3
David Thewlis
as Earthworm
Mike Starr
as Beat Cop
Girocco Dunlap
as Girl With Telescope
Katherine Howell
as Woman in Bathrobe
Chae Kirby
as Newsboy
Jeff Mosley
as Hard Hat Man
Susan Turner-Cray
as James' Mother
Mario Yedidia
as Street Kid
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Critic Reviews for James and the Giant Peach

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (67) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for James and the Giant Peach

  • Aug 09, 2014
    It's a serious diversion from Dahl's original book, but it still maintains an appropriate melancholy tone for the most part. The stop-motion animation is fantastic.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2013
    Just an all around all right film. Honestly, this film is so odd and bizarre it would take a true legend of the art of filmmaking for me to be interested in it. And I guess that legend's name is Henry Selick. While it definitely is not a film I hold in such high regard and it has very many plot holes, the animation is great enough to send me to a new world. Which if you are going to do a weird movie, that's exactly what it should do. Again, definitely not a timeless feature, but for what it is, I can see where a cult following is dignified.
    Jackson W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 27, 2013
    Honestly I've just found this movie to be unnerving and creepy as shit. I felt that way as a kid, and I still do now. Everyone I talk to seem to absolutely love this movie, and I just can't figure out why...it's not particularly good, and the characters aren't memorable or charming like they're intended to be.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2012
    Really?! This started out as an AWFUL musical, with songs like "I'm James" that seemed like they were put together by a 2 year old. I didn't even know Tim Burton did the animation part, because it seemed to be pretty poor to be honest with you. As the movie goes on, it becomes one of those pandering children's movie. These are hard for me to judge as "family entertainment". While your short attention span little kid might be enthralled by the visuals, songs and wackiness happening one screen, you as an adult (even though you likely enjoyed the book as a kid... it was written in 1961), will want to hang yourself on one of Miss Spider's webs.
    Mace R Super Reviewer

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