I remember watching this film when it first came out and I loved it, but watching it again with my children recently I wasn't quite as struck on it as I was before.
The story itself is fantastic and I'd like to think that a lot of children will already be familiar with the Roald Dhal classic about a unfortunate young boy who finds sanctuary from his evil aunties by adventuring with insect companions on a massive peach.
Obviously with any translation to screen, a book is going to be adapted to fit the movie - it is Americanised, but the principle cast ensure that it doesn't feel as though it's at a great cost to the film. But the story itself isn't as edgy as the book, the film relies more on the insect characters and of those only two stand out as interesting; the New Yorker Caterpillar (voiced by Richard Dreyfuss) and the worm. The worm is played by the unmistakable voice of David Thewlis - and to be honest he is the star of the film in my opinion, but then I'm perhaps biased as I'm a Thewlis fan, but when did you ever see him give a dud performance?
James and the Giant Peach becomes a fun musical, but apart from the song 'Eating the Peach' the soundtrack is jaunty but never catchy. You watch this and feel that it was perhaps all done to a higher standard in the brilliant The Nightmare Before Christmas
. If the songs had been of a higher quality then this would have been a fantastic family film - but as it stands, it's not bad.