Saturday, 29 September 2018

I KILL GIANTS (2018) - review

Joseph Campbell famously said that "you are the hero of your own story," whether you imagine yourself saving a distracted child walking across a busy road, getting that promotion you always knew you deserved, or saving the world from monsters so terrible that that sun can't even shine in their eyes. Anders Walter's magical-realist adaptation of Kelly and Ken Niimura's graphic novel I Kill Giants pits the terrors of a hidden world against the will of determined teenager Barbara (Madison Wolfe).

From the onset we know that Barbara is in a world of her own imagining. In order to protect Long Island from a hoard of giants, she devotes herself setting traps, concocting potions with glitter, and keeping detailed notes in a scrappy book. It's that weird and whimsical obsessive, hand-made and insular aesthetic that only seems to happy within the fancy of over-zealous production designers. Mixed in with a very sassy, aggressive and forthright personality, you kind of want this bunny-eared protagonist to be the new hero to kick off a franchise.

However, this is a coming-of-age movie, so everything is not as straightforward as killing mythical beasts. Barbara is a girl who is not dealing with the world very well, and while the film tries to deliver a twist half way through, the twist is obvious, and so is the films lesson. Grief is the biggest monster, and while I Kill Giants may not add anything new to this idea, and Barbara is almost too composed by the end of the film (considering how much she has suffered), the conceit is enough to keep you interested.

The ending is a bit too tidy, and betrays a little bit too much of the Barbara I'd come to enjoy through the first half of the film, but it does raise an interesting method on how to tackle grief. Her counselor (Zoe Saldana) and sister (Imogen Poots) want her to face reality, but what if they'd attempted to help her face her demons as a team, give her some context for her wild imagination instead of trying to suppress it? I suppose she had to grow up somehow.



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