James and the Giant Peach

Bomb Rating: 

Here's a typical lesson in Disney magic -- the lower down something is on the food chain, the more likely it is to be anthropomorphized by Uncle Walt's kingdom of underpaid and overworked slave animators and stop-motion filmmakers. Get ready kids, for the feel- good hit of 1997: Bernie the Dancing Slug and his pal, Andy the Anemic Amoeba. They ain't go no arms or no legs, but they've got love in their hearts and a full songbook of Oscar-winning Alan Mencken tunes to sing.

Naturally, Disney falls back on a number of mainstays to carry the film. There are the famous voices of Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon and David Thewlis, playing the Centipede, Ladybug, Spider and Earthworm, respectively. And just like "Toy Story" there's another not-Oscar-winnng song by everybody's favorite runner-up, Randy Newman.

In case you didn't know, the author of "James and the Giant Peach," Roald Dahl, had repeatedly turned down offers from studios and filmmakers to translate his work into film since its publication in 1961. Fortunately for Disney, Dahl croaked in 1990, which reinforced one of the company's golden rules: "Dead writers are our friends."

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