James And The Giant Peach review

We review James And The Giant Peach - a wickedly fun version of Roald Dahl’s children’s tale

James And The Giant Peach

James And The Giant Peach

Certificate: U

Starring: Joanna Lumley, Miriam Margolyes

Release date: 1996

4 out of 5


A wickedly fun version of Roald Dahl’s children’s tale, this mixture of live action and stop-motion animation is just as funny for adults as for kids. Sent to live with his wicked aunts (Lumley and Margolyes) after his parents die, James (Paul Terry) dreams of running away to New York. When a mysterious man gives him a bag of magical glowing creatures that could answer his prayers, James accidentally spills them by an old peach tree. A giant peach grows and a starving James starts to eat it, only to find himself able to crawl inside, where he meets a group of unusual bugs (voiced by Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, David Thewlis, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon and Margolyes).

From the moment James enters the peach, the film switches from live action (which is camp and pantomime-ish) to animation, and perks up considerably as the motley group roll down the hill, into the sea and on to America. The script successfully captures all the humour of Dahl’s quirky book, as do the wonderful vocal characterisations from the star-studded cast, and the marvellous animation. A tasty treat.

Is James And The Giant Peach suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Small children (under 7) may not like the quirky stop motion animation, and may also be frightened by the aunts as they come out of water with their make-up running down their faces.

The Cloud Rhino would also be scary for younger viewers (it appears later in the movie.

If you like this, why not try: Coraline, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Witches,