James and the Giant Peach
September 13, 2011
(Cut to outside of a court with words at the bottom saying "Live - Internet State Penitentiary".)
British announcer: We are live at a press conference here in Chicago, Illinois, where we hear that any minute, The Nostalgia Critic is going to make a public appearance addressing his last video. For those who are unaware, the Nostalgia Critic posted a Let's Play of "Bart's Nightmare" last week, which was considered by many to be so horrendously unfunny, that they would rather shove a needle factory up their scrotums. OH! And here is the Nostalgia Critic preparing to explain his actions.
(NC wears a white shirt and goes up to the mic.)
NC: Hello everyone, I'm the Nostalgia Critic, uh, I remember it so you don't have to. Uh, they allowed me a short amount of time out of the Internet State Penitentiary. Little surprised to see that place actually existed. But apparently it's right next to the State Home for the Ugly. So, they allowed me a short time out to answer your questions addressing the video I did last week. (points to one of the audience) Uh, yes?
Reporter lady from off-screen: How does it feel to know that you made the absolute worst Let's Play ever to be put on the internet?
NC: Bad. Definitely, uh, bad! Uh, but hopefully I can make some more funny videos and move on from there. Yes?
Man: I had a robber break into my house, kill my wife, and eat my children. Uh, he's not as bad as you.
NC: Thank you for that. And, uh, I'm very sorry for your loss.
Man: Don't give me your pity.
NC: Uh, yes?
Man #2: Ahem. Melvin the Brother of the Joker, Emo Jones, this recent Let's Play, Nazi Germany. That is all.
NC: Ok. If we can keep these questions to actual questions, uh, that'd be fantastic! Uh, yes?
Angry man: HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THIS TRAVESTY AMONG THE WORLD?!
NC: Look, um, when everything is said and done, at the end of the day, I just made a bad video!
Chester A. Bum: YOUR FANS DESERVE BETTER MR. MacCRITIC! SURE YOU TRIED SOMETHING NEW! IT DIDN'T WORK! IT BOMBED LIKE MAD! BUT NOW YOU DESERVE TO GIVE YOUR FANS SOMETHING BETTER!! Hey, I liked it, I though it was the greatest video I've ever seen in my life. BUT YOU OWE YOUR FANS SOMETHING BETTER!!
NC: Well, I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what. Why don't I do a positive review of a movie that a lot of people seem to enjoy?
Chester: (happily) OH! You mean like "James and the Giant Peach?"
NC: James and the Giant Peach? THAT HUNK OF--...Cinematic brilliance?
(The title screen for the movie "James and the Giant Peach" is shown, followed by footage of the movie.)
NC: (voiceover) Ah, yes, how can I not forget the awkwardly-written-yet-structually-confusing masterpiece that is James and the Giant Peach? Not that there's anything WRONG with that, it's not like the film did poorly at the box office but got a surprising cult following over the years, or that the critical reaction at the time was lukewarm at best, but recently has been declared as a timeless classic.
NC: And it's not like my need to please the masses is going to affect my opinion in ANY conceivable way! I'm just going to praise it for the wonderful family romp that it is. (pause) Really!
(A picture of the novel is shown.)
NC: (voiceover) So for those who don't know, the film is based on the book by Willy Wonka* author Roald Dahl, and directed by famous stop-motion director Henry Selick, who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.
(* The book is actually titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But whatever.)
(Footage of the live-action opening is shown, James on a beach by a lighthouse.)
NC: (voiceover) As you can see, his stop-motion has clearly gotten better. Good God, they look like actual fucking people.
James: Look! (Points up at the clouds) That one looks like a camel! And that one over there looks like a train engine!
NC: (mimicking James) And that one looks like a crappy CGI effect. (Lethal looking photoshop guns surround the Critic) I mean...a good CGI effect! (Looking nervously at the guns)
James' father: And can you see the tallest building in the world?
(James sits up and looks at the sky, the camera...for some reason rotates rapidly to show a cloud shaped like the Empire State Building.)
James: I see it!
James' Father: (showing him a picture of the real thing) That's where we're going.
NC: (voiceover) Wow, the timing of those clouds was perfect! I mean, they form the Empire State Building just as they tell him they're about to go to the Empire State Building! I wish the clouds in MY neighborhood were that convenient!
NC: (sighs) If only there was a way I could avoid the Chicago traffic.
(The clouds read "The L Train".)
NC: Take the L train! Of course, that's a great idea! Aw...but which one goes to the Loop?
(The clouds read "Take the Greenline from Harlem".)
NC: Of course! How stupid of me! Oh, but what if I want to keep my options open?
(The clouds turn into a full map of the Chicago L. Hell, I wish clouds WERE that convienient!)
NC: Wow, that's amazingly helpful! Thanks, incredibly convenient passing pile of clouds!
(The clouds read "MapQuest can suck it!")
NC: (voiceover) So everything seems to be absolutely peachy for James and his angelic parents, but then things suddenly, and I do mean SUDDENLY, go very rotten.
(The parents disappear as lightning begins to flash)
Narrator: Then, one day, a terrible thing happened. An angry rhinoceros appeared out of nowhere and gobbled up his poor mother and father.
(The Critic stares at the screen. He takes a pen and writes something down before holding up a small cue card saying "What?" while showing a disbelieving expression.)
Narrator: An angry rhinoceros appeared out of nowhere and gobbled up his poor mother and father.
(The Critic writes something else down and holds up another cue card saying "What?" in even bigger letters and two question marks and a shocked expression.)
NC: (voiceover) I mean, really, what else can you say but, "What?!?" That is the most out-of-nowhere explanation of parents disappearing ever! They don't explain it, we never see it happen, just, the rhinoceros comes out of nowhere and eats them!
Narrator: Their troubles, if they had any at all, were over in 35 seconds flat.
NC: (voiceover) Yeah, I'm not editing that down, either! That's literally how they show it to us. Parents there, gone, blame the rhino. It's a pretty rushed explanation, isn't it? Can you imagine if one of the Disney movies did that?
(Footage of The Lion King)
Mufasa: Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.
NC: (voiceover) (as a narrator) And then a rhino ate him up. (A photoshopped rhino eats Mufasa and a card saying THE END appears while Hakuna Matata plays in the background.)
NC: Yeah, how do you think that'd go over? (The guns point at him again.) Probably better....
NC: (voiceover) So of course now he has to live with his evil aunts. Yeah, how come the kindest parents in the world always have the most dick-ass relatives?
Sponge: Look at him!
Spiker: Lollygagging in dreamland, when there's so much work to do!
Sponge: Weeds to pull, wood to chop!
Sponge & Spiker: Work, work, work, work, WORK!
NC: Okay, I think this calls for another....SCARY SLOW-MO!!!!
(The aunts' line is replayed in slow mo, which actually does looks pretty intimidating. And weird.)
NC: Whoa, Jesus Christ! I wonder if they use that picture for their email greetings...
Greeting Card: Happy New Year from the Hag sisters. May all your resolutions come true and don't forget to WORK!!!!!!
NC: (voiceover) So this is Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. You know, when you name your kids that, aren't you just begging for them to turn out like this? They're played by British comediennes Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margoyles. And in keeping with England tradition, they give the best British confidence build-up they can muster.
Sponge: Get these stupid dreams out of your head!
Both Aunts: And get back to work!
Spiker: They never even saw that rhino coming...
Sponge: That rhino....
Spiker: And the beast will get you too!
NC: (voiceover) Now, in any other movie, I'd say these two were as strongly constructed as a bomb shelter made out of Popsicle sticks (A Photoshopped image of that is shown)
NC: But in this movie, it works! Because....I really want you to like me right now.
NC: (voiceover) So as James gets back to work, work, work, work, WORK, he can't help but hum a merry little tune.
James: (singing) My name is James, that's what mother called me.
NC: (voiceover) Wow. What horrible lyrics, what a bland tune, what a totally forgettable melody. This could only be the work of...
(A picture of Randy Newman is shown, with a horror vamp)
Jerry Seinfeld (from "Seinfeld"): Newman!
NC: (voiceover) That's right, Randy Newman wrote these songs. And just like his other work, it's lame, annoying, repetitive, unoriginal...
(the guns appear...again)
NC: ...inspiring, charming, wonderful piece of music that I expect from such a musical genius!
NC: (voiceover) I mean, how can you NOT love such emotionally-packed lyrics like: My name is James, that's what mother called me. My name is James, so it's always been.
NC: That's ingenious insight! I mean, here I thought James, as in James and the Giant Peach, was referring to somebody else. But nope, this song points out that it's the James right in front of us, and not a James in another town or country.
NC: (voiceover) And the fact that he explains it's his MOTHER that named him is also very important. Because we could've made the horrible mistake of thinking his FATHER named him. But no, this incredibly crucial lyric points out that it was, in fact, his mother. I wonder what other incredible insight they're going to give us!
James: (singing) Sometimes I forget, when I'm lonely or afraid. Then I'll go inside my head and look for James.
NC: Well that obviously explains itself! I don't have to explain it for you!
NC: (voiceover) So while James is admiring what a beautiful set out it is today, he suddenly comes across the late Pete Postlethwaite, playing what looks like a time traveling Captain Crunch.
Magic Man: Oh, don't be frightened, James. I mean you no harm.
James: How do you know my name?
Magic Man: (laughs) I know more than just your name.
NC: I know your pants size, too! (The guns appear again!) Just let me have that! Just let me have that!
NC (voiceover): So he gives him a bag of Kryptonite pasta that he claims can make all his dreams come true. But what are they exactly?
Magic Man: One thousand long, slimy crocodile tongues boiled in the skull of a dead witch for twenty days and twenty nights, add the fingers of a young monkey, the gizzard of a pig, the beak of a parrot and three spoonfuls of sugar.
NC (voiceover): (singing) And a puked lunch in a pear tree!
NC (voiceover): The only downside is he trips and lets it fall all over the place.
James: Wait! (He chases after these tiny little fluorescent green specks flying everywhere)
Phillip Brainard (from "Flubber"): FLUBBER!
Spiker: There he is!
Sponge: Get up, you little worm!
NC: (voiceover) The two aunts are angry of course, because that's the one note they've been given, when they come across an amazing discovery!
Sponge: Look, a peach! There, on that branch!
Spiker: Why, that old tree's never had so much as a blossom on it, let alone a...well, I'll be blowed!
(The Critic smiles uncomfortably as the guns begin to nudge their way in...)
NC: I'm good!
(the guns slowly back off)
NC: (voiceover) But the peach apparently has the power to keep on growing, until it finally transforms into Garfield's anus. The aunts, of course, seize the opportunity to make a buck out of this, and start charging money for people to see it.
Spiker: Oh, Sponge, a photographer!
NC (voiceover): God, it's like someone put clown makeup on the Crypt Keeper.
Spiker: (warns James) And don't even think of going near our peach.
Sponge: Remember, they never did catch that rhino!
NC (voiceover): So while James is out doing - what else?
Aunts: Work, work, work, work, work!
NC: (voiceover) He comes across one last piece of nuclear snot that allows him to climb inside the peach and apparently change his appearance. (The film turns to stop motion here)
(James falls into the group of bugs.)
Centipede: ...in trouble!
NC: (voiceover) So it turns out the glowing turtle semen made a bunch of the bugs bigger and able to talk, and it turns out that they all, coincidentally, want to go to New York. But they have to hurry fast or else the two evil aunts will come across them.
Spiker: Yoo hoo! Where are you, boy?
Sponge: I think I hear a rhino out here!
NC (voiceover): Boy, they really like playing that rhino card, don't they? For something that was vaguely explained in like a millisecond they sure do bring it up a lot.
(The Centipede chews the stalk off the branch.)
Centipede: (whispering) Timber!
(Sponge and Spiker start screaming as the giant peach starts rolling away.)
NC: (voiceover) Oh hey, great. The movie's suddenly turned into Marble Madness!
The peach rolls through the village while the theme to Marble Madness plays in the background.
NC: (voiceover) So the peach rolls out to the Atlantic Ocean, where it appears all they have to do is ride it all the way to New York City.
Centipede: I'll get us there!
Centipede: Sure! I've sailed all the five seas!
NC: (voiceover) But they have to look out, for a giant mechanical shark ship - oh, don't act like you've never seen one! - floats to the surface and tries to catch them.
(The robot shark shoots rockets at the peach.)
Captain Nemo (from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"): We do our hunting and farming here, the sea supplies all my wants.
NC (voiceover): But James thinks up a pretty creative idea by roping all the seagulls he can find and using them to fly away.
(The seagulls fly toward the sky.)
Seagulls (from "Finding Nemo"): (audio) Mine mine mine mine mine mine!
James: Go seagulls!
Grasshopper: Put your backs into it!
(One of the harpoons gets stuck inside the spinning turbines of teeth the machine has. With the turbine clogged, the machine's inner mechanisms clash with each other and it explodes.)
NC: (voiceover) And if you're wondering where that giant harpooning metal shark came from or what his story was....good for you!
NC: (voiceover) So as they start eating part of the peach because they're hungry, all the bugs decide to...
Centipede: (singing) I've eaten many strange and scrumptious dishes in my time....
NC (voiceover): (Sighs) Really? We're singing a song about eating the goddamn peach?
Centipede: (singing) These foods are rare beyond compare, some right out of reach!
Jerry Seinfeld (from "Seinfeld"): Newman!
Centipede: (singing) But there's no doubt I'd go without a million plates of each....
NC: (voiceover) I mean, not that I have a problem with them singing about this at all! I'm sure this does a great deal to further the story and give insight into the characters! I'm just a little curious about what other similar musical numbers they turned down to fit this one in! Such important songs like, "The Sky is Blue" "My Tongue is in my Mouth" "Butts make Poo" and God knows what else! God, can you imagine what this movie would be like without these essential Randy Newman songs?
NC: No, but GOD I'm trying to!!!
NC: (voiceover) So as the Spider starts to tuck James to sleep--or is she planning to eat him--he finds out that she much prefers a life of being alone.
James: I think it's much nicer to have friends, don't you?
Miss Spider: I would not know.
James: They would be your friends too. The others, I mean. If you'd just let them.
Miss Spider: No. It is in their nature to have fear of me. This I cannot change.
NC: (voiceover) Well, wait. When in any of the previous scenes did it indicate that they were afraid of her? Or that she kept her distance? Or hell, even that she was quiet?!? She interacts with them, dances with them, (mocking) she even sings some of Randy's songs. So where's this sudden loner story-arc coming from?
Miss Spider: Now to sleep. You have had a very tired-making day.
NC (voiceover): (as Miss Spider) By the way, if I am sucking your brains out in the middle of the night, I apologize.
(James falls asleep on Miss Spider's web)
NC: (voiceover) So James goes to sleep and has a dream...that he's in Monty Python's Flying Circus.
(James has become a caterpillar with animation identical to the style often used in Monty Python.)
Dream Aunt Sponge: You can't crawl away from us!
(Caterpillar James runs away from the gas cylinder accompanied by music from Monty Python's Flying Circus and the giant foot thrown in for fun. The smoke turns into the rhino...and just as he's about to die...he wakes up.)
NC (voiceover): Now, of course, that scene was necessary, because it needed to show that James is afraid of a giant rhinoceros that killed his parents. See, I'm glad they had this scene in the movie, because I NEVER would've put together that James was afraid of a giant rhinoceros that killed his parents!!!!!!!!! Heck, I'm surprised Randy Newman didn't write a song about that!
(A picture of Randy Newman is shown while the NC mockingly imitates a Randy Newman song that may have been appropriate for this scene.)
NC (voiceover): (as Randy Newman) Rhinos, they scare little boys, assassinating parents, don't bring them much joy, that's Randy....
NC (voiceover): But it turns out the Centipede led them in the wrong direction, and now they're in the Antarctic. So they go underwater to see if they can find a compass to lead them in the right direction. They come across several pirate ships, including one that has the statue of his aunts in front of it - I don't get it - when they suddenly come across skeleton pirates, one of them played by Jack Skellington. Was this an incredibly clever cameo, or was Henry Selick just too cheap to make other puppets? Either way, it's pretty cool.
Centipede: (being tortured) Listen, fellas, I got a long history of back problems...
NC (voiceover): (as Jack Skellington) Now...tell me what you know about Christmas Land!
NC (voiceover): (normal) But James and the Spider come to save him...just making up the law of underwater physics as they go, and manage to get the compass.
(James causes the Skeleton to trip and his head rolls off.)
Jack Skellington: (singing) And since I am dead, I can take off my head!
(James and Miss Spider are pulled back onto the peach.)
Ladybug: Oh thank goodness, you're alright!
Grasshopper: Mr Centipede, would you please do us the honor of navigating us out of this icebox?
NC: (as Grasshopper) Seeing how you got us into this icebox!
Centipede: You said it, Mr Grasshopper!
(The seagulls fly the peach out of the Antarctic.)
NC: (voiceover) So just as you're wondering if those birds ever need to eat or sleep, we see James come across a rather touching musical moment.
(James makes his way to the top of the peach where the Grasshopper is actually playing the violin quite beautifully.)
NC: Aw...well that's nice, that's a very genuine moment. That's an enchanted musical scene that doesn't need to succumb to the typical Randy Newman formula...
Grasshopper: (singing) Take a little time, just look at where we are...
Jerry Seinfeld (from "Seinfeld"): NEWMAN!!!!!
Grasshopper: (singing) We've come very very far, together!
Bugs: (singing) Love, is the strangest thing.
(Centipede starts dancing with Miss Spider.)
NC: (voiceover) No, don't dance with her, it is in your nature to have fear of her!
Bugs: (singing) Love, is the sweetest thing. Love, does exactly what it wants to do.
(The penis begins to....rotate in outer space where mobile space contraptions and planets literally hang in midair like mobiles.)
NC: (voiceover) By the way, if you're wondering what all of those things flying around in the background are, guess what? Never explained. But, that's not a bad thing! No, it makes about as much sense as, oh, I don't know, an unexplained giant rhinoceros killing some middle aged people!
NC: But, it works! In a way I can't possibly explain at all! It still works, it still works!
NC (voiceover): So just when it looks like they've finally made it to their destination, they come across a rather unfriendly visitor.
(Lightning flashes and storm clouds gather)
GOZER (offscreen): Choose. Choose the form of the destructor!
(Yes, the evil rhinoceros has come back!)
Earthworm: Remember what your parents said, James!
NC: (confused) "Look out, a rhino!"????
Earthworm: "Try looking at it another way!"
James: (bravely faces the Rhino) You're just a lot of smoke and noise!
NC: (voiceover) So the rhino zaps the birds, allowing the peach to fall.
(James falls into blackness, the peach follows and a THE END card appears, to the accompaniment of "Rhinos, they scare little boys" by NC as Randy Newman.)
NC: (voiceover) Actually, it lands on top of the Empire State Building, right dab in the middle of New York. And, just what exactly was that rhino that James said was only a bunch of smoke and noise?
NC: I don't know! I don't know. All that build-up, then they never explained what he was running from that whole time. (Starts to shake with suppressed rage and growls through clenched teeth.) And that's...just...FINE!
NC: (voiceover) So after James changes back to his normal self, the aunts come in and try to take back what they claim is rightfully theirs. But James isn't going to have any of that.
Spiker: This is all something he dreamed up!
James: (Stands defiantly on top of a nearby car) Well, maybe it started that way, as a dream, but doesn't everything? Those buildings, these lights, this whole city! Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that's what I did.
(NC looks at James in awe and salutes him while truimphant music plays)
James: I dreamed about coming here, then I did it.
Spiker: You're going home with us!
James: No! Not this time! I flew the giant peach across the ocean....
(NC continues to show his appreciation)
James: .....I landed on top of the tallest building in the world. I made it! I'm not the one who's nothing; you are!
(A clip from Rocky 4 plays in slow motion, where a theatre audience rises and starts applauding. NC salutes again and wipes a tear from his eye.)
Spiker: How dare you speak to us this way!
(Sponge and Spiker grab two axes)
NC: Jesus, ladies!
(They start going after James with the axes. You know, for kids!)
NC: (imitating Jack Torrance from "The Shining") Here's PEACHY!
NC: (voiceover) But it turns out the bugs come in to save the day. The city can't believe their eyes.
(Miss Spider throws her silk over the aunts.)
NC: (voiceover) So they pull the two aunts up and wrap them up in web, no doubt suffocating them to death. I love how the police officer, all this time, is like "Yeah, I'm gonna allow this,"
(The people of New York start cheering)
NC: (voiceover) So everybody brings out the confetti they've been holding onto for God knows what reason, and James becomes a hero telling all the kids on the block his tale.
Miss Spider: (coming out of the house wearing a chef's hat) James, dinner is ready.
James: Alright, nearly finished.
NC: (mimicking James) And then, an exciting unexplained anticlimax with a rhino.
(The movie ends)
NC: And that's James and the Giant Peach. It's fantastic, glorious, stupendous! (Pause) But if I was to find some fault with it... (the guns are whipped out again) Just hear me out, just hear me out!!!!
(A montage of clips from the movie play as NC gives his final thoughts.)
NC: (voiceover) I would say that while the film is creative, it's also pretty clumsy. A lot of stuff doesn't add up, a lot of scenes go nowhere, the songs are pretty forgettable, and the live-action stuff is surprisingly more over the top than the animated stuff. What they change from the book actually raises more questions than it does simplify things, which results in it being both weird and confusing. But with that said, the animation is very good, designs are a lot of fun, and even things like those cheesy sets actually do have sort of a strange charm to them. You also have to give the film credit that it didn't need to resort to pop-cultural references as a lot of animated films were doing at that time. It was at least trying to tell a timeless story. So is it for me? No. But I can see why it has an audience. The stuff that's neat is still pretty neat, and there's a lot of things in the movie that could be considered very impressive. So I guess I can't really fault people for enjoying something that does give way to a lot of imaginative scenarios. It may be flawed, but I think we all know that you're going to get a great big dose of something really creative.
NC: And that's all I've got to say about that. There! Have I restored anything in your guy's eyes?
Douchey McNitpick: (Offscreen) He says he didn't like the movie!
Guy offscreen: Kill him.
Again, the guns appear. The Critic screams, the screen goes black and gunshots are heard.
[Channel Awesome Tag: Work, work, work, work, WORK!]