I Kill Giants Blu-ray Review

An Unhappy Girl Fights Off Giants With Help From Zoe Saldana

A middle school girl saves her town from monsters… at least in her own mind. I Kill Giants is a dark, moody and invigorating fantasy drama built on the turbulent emotions of an imaginative, but volatile, young lady. It is an involving, emotional roller-coaster ride about an unhappy young girl living in her own fantasies about giants roaming her town.

Based on an acclaimed graphic novel from Image Comics by writer Joe Kelly and artist Ken Niimura, the movie treads eerily familiar terrain to another recent movie. Regular comic book readers will be familiar with Joe Kelly, a mainstay at Marvel Comics for years with runs on Deadpool and Ultimate Spider-Man. The movie’s concept is similar to the fusion of imagination and reality found in 2016’s A Monster Calls, this time with a female protagonist driving the plot.

I Kill Giants stars Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots, Madison Wolfe, Jennifer Ehle, and Noel Clarke. It is directed by Academy Award-winner Anders Walter (Helium). The all-female cast should clue you in a bit as to this movie’s intended audience.

The real star in this cast is Madison Wolfe, the young actress playing Barbara. She’s the character at the center of I Kill Giants, a strong-willed girl that’s an outsider at school and has problems with authority figures. It’s clear that Barbara is angry about something in her life. Those problems with authority figures extend to Karen (Imogen Poots), her sister running the family’s household, and Mrs. Molle (Zoe Saldana), the school’s new psychologist.

This is powerful, emotionally wrought fantasy weaved with the best of intentions

Barbara is emotionally troubled, often living in a fantasy world she’s created in which she’s the sole guardian protecting the town from giants roaming the forests and nearby ocean. She often escapes from reality in her mind when bullied at school. It has made her an outsider at school with no friends, until a new girl from England enters school. Willing to overlook Barbara’s strange convictions about giants and odd behavior, Sophia soon becomes friendly with her.

One big question overhangs the first two acts: Where are Barbara’s parents? Barbara and her brother live together in a household run by her much older sister, a twenty-something woman struggling to maintain order and keeping an eye on Barbara as she works. The movie saves that answer for the end, when everything becomes clear about Barbara’s situation. As Barbara gets more and more rebellious, she places herself in danger.

Make no mistake, I Kill Giants is a beautifully crafted film with a superb cast. This is powerful, emotionally wrought fantasy weaved with the best of intentions. At times it’s quite moving as we see Barbara’s struggles. But a few things hold it back. The CGI elements, mostly Barbara’s imagined giants, resemble something from 2008. They didn’t blow the budget on top-notch CGI. The movie also runs about fifteen minutes too long, becoming dull after we learn the reasons behind Barbara’s turbulent feelings. Zoe Saldana’s character lacks development; it’s an underwritten part that probably didn’t require a big-name actress.

If you have seen A Monster Calls, I Kill Giants won’t really hold any surprises for you. The movie is a worthwhile drama, punctuated by light fantasy elements to keep younger viewers interested.

Video

I Kill Giants has an incredibly razor-sharp presentation. Its scenic exteriors, filmed on location in Ireland and Brussels, possess reference-quality clarity. This is easily one of the best-looking Blu-rays on the market struck from a 2K Digital Intermediate. The movie’s color grading prefers teal tones and darker lighting. Otherwise it is a picture-perfect display of digital brilliance.

RLJ Entertainment has done a great job bringing this movie to Blu-ray. There is virtually nothing worth noting from a videophile perspective that went astray in bringing the movie’s digital master to 1080P video. The AVC encode has almost no problem handling the film’s clean, pristine presentation, aside possibly from incredibly brief posterization.

The 2.40:1 presentation is filled with gorgeous digital cinematography. Filmed on the Arri Alexa digital camera, the depth and definition are on par with the best Hollywood blockbusters. If there is a weakness in the movie’s visuals, it is the fairly average CGI monsters. While the video quality is fantastic, the CGI looks a few years out of date in comparison. The giants rarely pop from the screen in terms of visual impact.

Audio

A strong orchestral score and atmospheric surround action are the highlights of this superb 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Lushly recorded with fine dynamics and a naturally expansive soundstage, the surround mix is very effective at immersing listeners. It selectively employs an ample bass presence when needed, such as whenever the giants of Barbara’s imagination appear.

I Kill Giants has crisp, intelligible dialogue that doesn’t get lost when Barbara’s imagination starts running wild or something dramatic happens. There’s nothing subtle about the movie’s audio, which in this case is a good thing. Children will love the audio design of the fantasy scenes.

Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles play in a white font, inside the 2.40:1 frame at all times.

Extras

RLJ Entertainment includes a couple of featurettes along with the first chapter of Joe Kelly’s graphic novel. I wish more Blu-rays would include a taste of the source material like this on their special editions. You get a good sense of what compromises and changes were made adapting it for the screen. The featurettes include short snippets with the cast and crew on various production issues.

A slipcover is available. A flyer for the graphic novel is included inside the case.

The Making of I Kill Giants (05:39 in HD) – A concise featurette which interviews the graphic novel’s creators, Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura, among other people involved in the production. It’s a fast-paced EPK featurette worth watching.

Anatomy of a Scene (04:52 in HD) – Actress Madison Wolfe is interviewed on set the day of filming her character’s confrontation with the Titan. Crew members involved in the VFX are interviewed as well in the behind-the-scenes featurette. Despite being set on a beach, the scene was filmed entirely in-doors on a studio set with digital trickery faking the seashore.

Photo Gallery

I Kill Giants Graphic Novel: Chapter One – Using your direction pad, you can scroll back and forth through the first chapter of Joe Kelly’s graphic novel. It appears this movie adaptation is fairly respectful of the graphic novel, even if the scenes aren’t exactly copied.

The following trailers for other RLJ Entertainment releases play before the main menu: Odd Thomas (02:29 in HD), The Cobbler (02:21 in HD), The Adventurer – Curse of the Midas Box (01:56 in HD).

I Kill Giants
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

A real A/V winner on Blu-ray, I Kill Giants rehashes many of the same themes as A Monster Calls. It’s an involving emotional drama about an unhappy young girl living in her own fantasy world.

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The unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 10 I Kill Giants screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 12,000+ already in our library), exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.