I Kill Giants, 2018
Signed up the 28/03/2017
I Kill Giants became even more visible and a viable watch because of how it was marketed to be some sort of relative to the Harry Potter-verse. The film is produced by long-time Harry Potter producer, Christ Columbus, and that's just about where the link ends between the two fantasy films, though.
The movie is directed by first-time (feature) director, Anders Walters, and is adapted from an award-winning comic book series of the same name, by Joe Kelly. The story follows a young girl, Barbara, who is much rather interested in the fantastical world than the real world. We later find that this is a form of escapism for her, as the imaginary worlds she has created serve as appendages to the cruel lived experiences she's so direly trying to escape from.
Barbara has compeletely disassociated from any human emotion at all that she's become an asshole you might tend to dislike more than root for. She has barred the rest of the world out and instead lives in her own head, so much so that she begins to believe the alternate realities she's created. She believes that there are giants who are out to destroy her small town, and has so assumed a hero's position by taking it upon herself to save her town from these monters wrath. According to her, she saves the town from complete disaster and eradication at least once a month. She has even infused a few portions, retrieved from ancient wizard craft books, to lure these giants so that she may kill them at will.
The downside of the film is that the transitions between Barbara's perspective and reality aren't clear enough to the audience until maybe the last act. This is particularly frustrating because even when it is apparent that Barbara has created a fort in her own mind, we're not able to distinguish what she's dreaming up and what is actually real.
Perhaps the director was trying to mindscrew us in this way, but it ended in the entire movie being compromised and brought down a few ratings. The film would've been much more laudable thus tenable had it subjected Barbara, and only her, to the make-believe worlds as true, while the audience is both able to fantasise with her and snap back to reality at will; so to be able to empathise with her disjointed journey in trying to run away from her cold, unavoidable reality.
Every aspect of the movie is a loose end that could've propped the movie up had it simply been tied. Imogen Poots plays the distressed big sister turned guardian who's in over her head. Although her story seemed interesting at first, we soon after find that she's a mere arbitary plot device. This goes for Zoe Saldana as well, who plays the school's psychiatrist.
Also, had the movie been more dedicated in depicting it's fantasy side, it would've became an instant fantasy hit. Unfortunately the poster and how the film was marketed hurt the film more than these marketing strategies helped it; they sold a lie that the movie wasn't able to redeem itself from. The only time we actually experience some sort of fantasy is when we get a glimpse of the giants Barbara so dedicates herself to.
This film could've been a fantastical wonder to behold, such as films like A Monster Calls and Pan's Labyrinth, but it instead curled itself into a comfortable aperture and refused to stretch itself beyond that. From visuals, to cinematography, and even the characterisation and setting, the movie could've done a lot better. Not to say that it is completely horrible, but it wasted a lot of open-ended potential. Hopefully Walters comes back with a more balanced film, as I believe he could. Afterall, even with all I Kill Giants' misses, he still managed to prove himself a distinct director worthy of acknowledgement.
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