Hearing the words reality and fantasy, literature and film comes to mind. Why, you ask? Well, both mediums serve as gateway just like when you read a book or watch a movie and you unlock a different world. Sometimes that world doesn’t make sense. But that, my friend is absolutely okay because it’s fantasy.
Now you might think of J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. That is, in fact a great example of fantasy and a good film franchise. But what I want to share with you are two films that merges reality and fantasy just like The Fall (2006) and A Monster Calls (2016).
I Kill Giants (2017)
Barbara Thorson struggles through life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters.
I Kill Giants (2017) is a film directed by Anders Walter with a screenplay by Joe Kelly, based on Kelly and Ken Niimura’s graphic novel of the same name. It stars Madison Wolfe, Imogen Poots, Sydney Wade, Rory Jackson and Zoe Saldana. Based on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, “I Kill Giants” holds an approval rating of 79% based on 53 reviews, and an average rating of 6.6/10.
Not bad, right? It’s just sad that there are a few who think that this is a trashy family fantasy and a ginormous waste of time. Despite that, I Kill Giants is doing better than…
Sucker Punch (2011)
A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.
Sucker Punch (2011) is directed by Zack Snyder and co-written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya. The film stars Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac. Zack Snyder’s 2011 masterpiece was negatively reviewed by most film critics. Aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 23% of 210 critics have given Sucker Punch positive reviews holding an average rating of 4/10.
First off, I Kill Giants and Sucker Punch are very similar films. Both feature a young girl escaping into a fantasy world to avoid the pain of the real world. As per the ratings, I Kill Giants was received better then Sucker Punch. The truth is, both did not get the attention and appreciation they deserve.
Critics say that Sucker Punch utterly failed at balancing the concept and story elements. I for one believe that Snyder’s film is very ambitious but it did deliver and the impressive visuals were just an add-on.
Truth be told, I watched Sucker Punch countless times – once in theatres and then on cable TV. The more I watch it, the more I understand and appreciate the film. It just so happens that it was created and shown way ahead of its time. If Sucker Punch was released around the time when female superheroes are being recognized, it would have garnered more appreciation and probably some controversy because everything is offensive or controversial nowadays.
Moreover, merging reality and fantasy is challenging as it can make or break the storyline. As a viewer, there are times when you should question what is shown on screen. You also have to dig deeper into each character’s motive in order to understand what is being represented. Only then will you understand what the film wants to convey.
Now for I Kill Giants. Take note that I am not familiar with the graphic novel; however, I can truly say that the film is not trashy nor a waste of time. Sure, it feels weird seeing a child fight off giants. But all the issues presented in the film are part of reality. It may not be your reality but it definitely is someone else’s which means you have to look beyond it and dig deeper.
It is also worth mentioning that since the female lead is definitely much younger than the one in Sucker Punch, her version of a fantasy world is far different. If she finds giants, hunts giants, and kill giants then so be it! It’s not weird at all because children do have wild imagination. With the portrayal of the characters and amazing visuals, I Kill Giants was able to deliver a solid story with moral lessons and a final resolution.
If you see these two available on cable or on video streaming services, make sure to give both a chance and keep an open mind.