I Kill Giants
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (26th August 2018).
The Film

"I Kill Giants" (2017)

Barbara (played by Madison Wolfe) is a young teenage girl that is going through a lot of difficulties in her life. She is being taken care of by her older sister Karen (played by Imogen Poots) who tries to hang onto a job while taking care of the home and is constantly stressed out balancing the two at a young age. Barbara's older brother Dave (played by Art Parkinson) doesn't much get along with her as he is more into playing video games with his friends than doing anything else to help the home. At school things are not smooth either as she is frequently bullied by schoolmate Taylor (played by Rory Jackson) and her nameless legion of school girl goons.

Barbara escapes into her own world, one where she says she kills Giants that are in the distance and frequently come to the mainland through the sea or through the forests. She sets traps, is on a constant lookout, and has taken down quite a few as she says. But is her life in reality and her life in her imagination colliding? Or is it making her drift further away from her real life struggles?

"I Kill Giants" was originally a graphic novel created by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura in seven volumes, published between July 2008 and January 2009 to acclaimed reviews. A blend of fantasy and reality with an anti-social lead girl that takes a journey to open her mind and heart to face her true demons was a multiple award winner and grabbed the hearts and souls of many worldwide. For the live action adaptation, the original writer Joe Kelly took to adapting his own source as his first screenplay, Academy Award winning short film director Anders Walter would direct as his first feature length film, and acclaimed producer Chris Columbus would be one of the producers of the European-American co-production.

There have been quite a few films in recent years dealing with the similar theme of reality and imagination colliding. "A Monster Calls" (2016), "My Neighbor Totoro" dealt with children coping with a sick mother and becoming lost in their imaginations. "Girl Asleep" dealt with the complexities of school outcast and an emotional disconnect from family. "The Bridge to Terabithia" dealt with friendship through the power of imagination but with a tragic twist of fate. "I Kill Giants" shares many of the themes with the aforementioned films/books, and while the visuals of the scenes with Barbara and the Giants are exciting and fantastic, it suffers from dealing with the main focus - Barbara's mental and emotional transition much too late leaving too many scenes that tread nowhere rather than somewhere.

There are two people who try to open up to Barbara's heart. Sofia (played by Sydney Wade) is the new girl who moves to town and becomes Barbara's friend by proxy and by fascination. While her character is important to see a more human side of Barbara, Sofia is mostly confused by how Barbara is stuck in her own strange reality, and scenes between the two do have some merit but not enough of a strong bond as it could have been. Mrs. Mollé (played by Zoe Saldana) is the school therapist who is also new into town, and is concerned about Barbara and tries to connect with her, often failing. She is Barbara's closest connection to reality and is a driving force to her transformation. It takes quite a bit of the film's runtime to solve the mysteries of what Barbara is blocking out of her mind. Why does she get upset with Sofia and Mrs. Mollé mentioning baseball? Why is she afraid of going up the stairs? What do the Giants really represent? While there are blatant clues along the way which many may easily guess along the way, the film takes too much time showing Barbara's mind in her own world and not progressing anywhere. And that may be exciting if the film showed her imaginary world much more, the special effects sequences are far and few between.

"I Kill Giants" as a graphic novel worked well, but cramming everything into a 106 minute film and in the cinematic medium does take a toll on the narrative structure. Even with fine performances by the actors and excellent visuals the film was never given a wide release in cinemas around the world, and never given much of a chance for audiences to find the film.

Note this is a region 0 NTSC DVD

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the PAL format. Colors are quite muted with greens and browns taking center stage of the production. There are some bright and bold uses of color in the imaginary sequences and are displayed very well. Overall a very good transfer, though considering it is a new production that should be a given.

The film's runtime is 106:10.



















Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
The 5.1 track is an active one, with the score and the effects using the surround channels effectively while the dialogue track is mostly center based. The dialogue, music, and effects are all balanced quite well, and there are no issues of audio errors in the track.

There are no subtitles for the feature.

Extras

Unfortunately there are no extras on the disc. The film starts once the disc is played and stops when the film ends. Embedded below is the trailer, courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.



The film has been issued on DVD as well as Blu-ray in the United States and in Germany, both a few featurettes and a reprint of the graphic novel in digital form on the US release and in physical form in Germany. It's unfortunate the Australian release is relegated to DVD only with no extras.

Packaging

The packaging states the disc is region 4 only, but it is in fact region 0.

Overall

"I Kill Giants" is a bit of a disappointment from its adaptation from book to screen. It takes quite long to get to the emotional connection and the imaginative elements of the Giants while great to see, are not as frequent as one would hope. The Umbrella Entertainment DVD features a good transfer but lacks extras entirely.

The Film: C+ Video: A- Audio: A- Extras: F- Overall: C

 


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