This Disney film is based on the bestselling children’s book by Roald Dahl. Producer Tim Burton is known for creating creepy animated movies like “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Beetlejuice”, and “Coraline”. The movie mixes stop animation with live-action scenes and includes some musical numbers. But if you’ve read Dahl’s book, you’ll notice that Burton changes quite a few details of the original storyline to create his own version of this magical fantasy. For example, in the book James’ wicked aunts are flattened to death by the giant peach, but in the movie they live to follow James to all the way to New York City. Warning: some parts of this imaginative PG movie may be too frightening for very young children.
The story starts out with real actors as James Henry Trotter (actor Paul Terry) lives a happy life on a beach with his parents. Tragically his mother and father are killed by a rhinoceros. Poor James is forced to live with his abusive Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, who make him work all day with little food to eat. One day his aunt spots a spider in his room and tries to smash it. Kindhearted James rescues the bug and sets it free in the garden. Suddenly a strange man (Pete Postlethwaite) appears. He tells the boy that “the answers to all your problems are in this bag.”
The bag has magic crocodile tongues. The strange man warns James that the tongues will work their magic on the first thing they get to. The crocodile tongues (which are computer-generated neon green noodles) escape the bag and land on a peach, which grows to an enormous size. His greedy aunts sell tickets to see the amazing giant peach. One night, James takes a bite of the peach, then crawls inside the hole. As he crawls, the movie transitions to animation and stays in this format until the final scenes. Inside the peach are giant talking insects: a centipede (voiced by Richard Dreyfuss), a ladybug (Jane Leeves), grasshopper (Simon Callow), an earthworm (David Thewlis), and the spider that James had rescued from certain death (Susan Sarandon). The bugs travel with James inside the giant peach on a wild adventure to New York City.
The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (by Randy Newman). Click on links below to read more about author Roald Dahl or the novel Coraline.