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Posts Tagged ‘“I Kill Giants”’

“I KILL GIANTS” My rating: C  

106 minutes | No MPAA rating

Technical brilliance and narrative muddiness wrestle to a draw in “I Kill Giants,”  director Anders Walter’s feature debut after a career in shorts.

Based on the graphic novel by Joe Kelly (who wrote the screenplay) and Ken Nimura, “Giants” melds Spielbergian adolescent fantasy with “Donnie Darko” pessimism. The results look terrific but feel phony.

Barbara (Madison Wolfe) is a teen outsider whose eccentricities may have passed beyond the endearing to the pathological.

With her oversized spectacles, unkempt blond mop and fuzzy rabbit ears (does she know she looks like a pedophile’s wet dream of a Playboy Bunny?), she’s the very image of a young adult  oddball.  A dungeons and dragons geek, she spends her spare hours stalking the woods near her picturesque seaside home and creating poisons and folk art talismans in a hidden lab.

Barbara is convinced that it is her job to protect her town from the giants that roam the countryside.  She has created Rube Goldberg-ish snares for these hulking monsters, and carries in an overdecorated purse a war hammer with which to battle the intruders.

Kelly and Walter establish early on that this is no charming childhood fantasy.  Barbara believes every bit of her trauma-inducing giant-slaying scenario, and devotes her life to the cause.  As a result she is tormented by a classroom bully (Rory Jackson) and spends an inordinate amount of her day in the office of the understanding but frustrated school psychologist (Zoe Saldana).

Thing is, she’s very, very smart.  Barbara can out-insult both adults and her fellow students (with her stinging wit she oozes contempt for “normal” kids), describes her towering foes as “total dicks” and radiates the weary seen-it-all attitude of a veteran warrior suiting up for yet another bloody campaign.

Her self-imposed ostrasization is dented only by the arrival of Sophia (Sydney Wade), a recent British import to the community, who befriends Barbara in spite of the latter’s loner attitude.

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