* * C
New on DVD, “I Kill Giants”, from Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films, is a young adult fantasy about a girl, Barbara Thorsen (Madison Wolfe) who sees giants and claims to be able to hunt and kill them. Zoe “Gamora” Saldana plays the school psychologist trying to help her. There is a big reveal in the third act that I won’t spoil. In addition to giants, Barbara has to deal with bullies, her older sister, who is barely coping with raising her, and her new (and only) friend, Sophia (Sydney Wade).
The acting is good, and the film visually appealing. It’s tone is depressing, and at times disturbing. This film continues the current trend of eliminating male characters (as was done in Annihilation). The only men in the film are the distant authoritarian principal and Barbara’s brother, who is a one note video game playing stereotype. Even the bully is another girl. The boys are seen, but never speak. This can be seen as somewhat natural, since Barbara is the point of view character.
The film lives in the same subgenre as “A Monster Calls” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”, where a child’s inner world overlaps the objective world, and the boundary between the two is explored. The author of such a tale has three options: in a work of fantasy, like “The Talisman”, the child’s subjective reality is “true”; second, the author make take a rationalist approach, where the child’s fantasy world is shown in the end to be just that; most rarely, the two can be portrayed as equally valid and parallel realities, as De Torro does so brilliantly in Pan’s Labyrinth.