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One Movie Punch

Jun 26, 2018

Today’s movie is “I Kill Giants” (2017), the coming of age fantasy drama directed by Anders Walter and written for the screen by Joe Kelly, based on a graphic novel by Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura. The film follows Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe), a young outcast protecting her contemporary seaside town from giants. However, her obsession begins to affect her family life, her school, and her developing friendship with a new arrival. 

Spoilers ahead.

It’s hard to talk about this film without spoiling some major plot points, purposefully concealed within the story until the very end. I think that mystery helps in the storytelling. Children have the most wonderful sense of imagination, which helps them deal with complex issues and which, unfortunately, fades as we grow older. Barbara, as a character, is right at the age where the line between imagination and reality is beginning to blur, a perfect time for telling this incredible story. 

The film has strengths and weaknesses. “I Kill Giants” was adapted from a seven issue limited series from Image Comics, and in some ways, that medium is better suited to tell this story, better able to blend reality and imagination into a unified vision. The costumes, sets and effects are all really well done in the film, but the overall aesthetic never seems to congeal in the same way as the comic book. Ten years ago, this film would have been considered phenomenal. However, our expectations are so much higher now, thanks to the incredible increases in special effects and, more importantly, storytelling with those special effects. With a comic book, we can fill the rest in with what’s left of our imagination, but with a film, you get what you get, and unfortunately, I wanted either something more or maybe something different.

The cast is pretty great. Madison Wolfe and Zoe Saldana really shine, even if their relationship feels a little forced at times, and I’m not just talking about the general counselor/adolescent relationship. Imogen Poots feels underutilized, playing a fairly one-dimensional character. Sydney Wade is fun as Sophia, but also feels underutilized. Walter’s direction is strong, with a very well done resolution sequence towards the end that elicits a lot of emotions, even if the final few scenes hold on a little longer than necessary.

“I Kill Giants” (2017) is an above-average coming of age story that does pretty well bringing the source material to life. While never really finding a perfect blend of fantasy and reality, it does find a way to tell a difficult story from a unique perspective, one that parents might find to be useful in teaching their children about difficult topics. If you like coming of age stories or modern fantasy films, or perhaps just a comic book movie that doesn’t necessarily have a superhero, then you should definitely check out this film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 79% (CERTIFIED)

Metacritic: 74

One Movie Punch: 8.2/10

“I Kill Giants” (2017) is not rated and is currently streaming on Hulu.