I Kill Giants: The pains of growing up are difficult enough to deal with, but keeping an entire town safe from monstrous giants makes things all the more complicated. Director Anders Walter’sI Kill Giants follows the heroic exploits of young Barbara (Madison Wolfe) as she lives in a world of imagination defending her surroundings from the mythical creatures that threaten to ruin her life. In reality, she is under the watchful, worried eyes of her older sister (Imogen Poots) and school psychologist (Zoe Saldana) who want to make Barbara see that the only demons are the ones lurking inside her.
Slay Me:The character of Barbara is a bizarre one, to say the least. She goes about her seaside town leaving traps for giants and handcrafting her weapons of choice, but under the quirky guise of the four-eyed, bunny-ear-wearing pre-teen is a vulnerable girl scared to lose those closest to her. There are moments when Barbara can seem downright annoying and past the point of angsty charm, but there is a redeemable quality that comes to the surface once more is discovered about her personal life. Madison Wolfe does a superb job of portraying the young heroine in a way that’s genuine and peculiarly mature.
They Might Be Giants: Although I Kill Giants is very much grounded in reality and the heartbreak that comes with it, there is an escapism that comes in the form of hulking giants posing a threat to Barbara’s world. These giants have their own history and vary in their design, depending on what region they dwell in, which is wonderfully illustrated in an animated sequence telling their history in the film. Although their presence is meant to represent an antagonizing threat, the giants have more dimension added to them as the plot progresses and fantasy fans will enjoy the various CGI sequences showcasing these towering creatures.
In a World of My Own:What makes this film a distinct departure from the typical kid-friendly adventure romp is its magical realism style. Yes, there is a battle between humans and colossal titans, but I Kill Giants focuses more on the real-life obstacles Barbara comes across at school, where she is the alienated outsider, and her troubled home life, consisting of an overworked older sister and a less-than-supportive brother. Zoe Saldana shines in her role as school psychologist Mrs. Mollé as she helps to shed a sympathetic light on Barbara’s bratty behavior. Imogen Poots also gives a solid portrayal of Barbara’s older sister Karen, the one trying to run the household and balance a job.
I Kill Giants draws a surprisingly cohesive line of childhood innocence and cruel reality that will inspire even the most stubborn of nonbelievers to look for magic in the woods.