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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
James and the Giant Peach
James Is Actually Dead And Fighting His Way Through The Nine Circles Of Hell (Dante's Inferno).
James is actually dead before the movie begins, and he is fighting his way through the nine circles of hell (according to Dante's Inferno).

1. Limbo: At the beginning of the movie, James is in Limbo (A deficient form of heaven). That's why it is only him and his “parents”. James knows he will never be truly happy there, and so he kills his “parents”. The rhino is just a symbol of James's murderous act.

2. Lust: James is then taken to his two “aunts”. Two women who live together... Hmm... That's right, they are lesbians. They could not get married because it was illegal. But instead of trying to change, they moved in together and still had sexual relations. Therefore, lust.

3. Gluttony: James is then given a bag of magic “tongues”. He is not told what to do with them. He must decide for himself how to use them. What do you use a tongue for? Eating. Therefore, gluttony. (I know this one isn't direct, but it is a definite reference. Also, he would have to decide if he was going to use the “tongues” in moderation or not, the same way we need to choose if we eat in moderation).

4. Greed: His “aunts” then choose to make as much money as can from this giant peach that James has inadvertently created. James must choose weather he will be greedy and work with them, or try to stop them.

5. Wrath: He then takes the peach to the ocean, where he must fight off a giant robotic shark (he feels the wrath of the shark).

6. Heresy: They then become hungry, so they eat the inside of the peach. This is symbolic for one who becomes “hungry” for something more in his religion, so he goes to it's core and changes it completely. Therefore, heresey.

7. Violence: James has a dream in which he is murdered by his aunts. Murder tends to be a bit violent...

8. Fraud: The centipede then reveals that he lied about being a commodore, and that he knows very little about the sea.

9. Treachery: James then finally makes it to his destination, but his “aunts” are waiting for him. They then attempt to take back the peach for more money, and show little care about the well being of James. That's a pretty treacherous thing to do, if you ask me. James then stands up to his treacherous “aunts”, defeating the ninth circle of hell, and finally being happy.

The 'Crocodile Tongues' were some form of Mutagen.
Just look at how it affected the bugs. Granted the way it changed James and the peach doesn't exactly match that. But the mutagen has always been kind of random, so it kind of works. The magic stuff was probably some kind of excuse so the kid wouldn't ask about it.

Now they're in New York and it's only a matter of time before they meet their fellow mutants.

The old man was a young Time Lord.
The Doctor had stated that he was trying to be old and mature when he was young to seem important and grand, and as he aged, learned to lighten up and cut loose a bit. So, another renegade Time Lord (there was like an entire generation, after all) with the same mindset is born, steals a TARDIS as well and goes off. He comes across James, and much like the Doctor, is compelled to help. The weird mix? It's either just a joke, or it really is made from that stuff, with some alien tech thrown in. The rhino? Somewhat blotted out memories of a Judoon attack.

The Rhinoceros is a Heartless.
It's black and shadowy with glowing yellow eyes and is apparently being controlled by two very nasty people. Also, it eats people despite rhinoceroses being herbivores usually.

The peach-travel part of the movie is an acid-inspired dream.
The "crocodile tongues" are a potent mix of just about every hallucinogenic substance known to man and James, so miserable that he'd take anything offered by the first person who'd shown him even the smallest bit of kindness since he came to live with his aunts, was willing to accept the "witch's brew" answer at face-value. What really happened is the priest Spiker charged double called Child Services, who discovered that relatives of James's were living in New York City and took him there while he was asleep and tripping balls. (Still a happy ending, but seriously, that shark could only have been seen with, erm, outside assistance.)

Going with the above, Spiker and Sponge are the witches Mingella and Blobbelda from Banjo-Tooie
... prior to going on a cracking crocodile tongue trip!

Spiker and Sponge are demons.
... That's why they made James' life a living Hell.

The film's robot shark was a Deceptacon.
It had red eyes and shot at anything that moved. It might have also been used for more unsavory purposes, as the begining showed.

The man who gave James the crocodile tongues was his dad.
Well, we don't know about his mom still, but think about it. He knows what James has been through as though he's secretly been keeping an eye on him throughout his whole life... and with some rough years gone by, it looks like he really could be his dad.
  • Except that his parents are shown at the beginning of the film, and they are killed. That's why James is living with his aunts.

Spiker and Sponge made up the rhino in means of explanation. They killed James' parents.
The rhino James encounters later is simply a thunderstorm, and due to his fear of rhinos (due to the aunts' fabrication), he sees it as one.

When the man who gave James the crocodile tongues said that all of his wildest dreams would come true, he meant the good as well as the bad.
Yes, the tongues gave him friends and an escape from his horrible life with his aunts, which is all that James ever wanted. Just like that island in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, however, the thing that brings people's greatest daydreams to life also brings to life their greatest nightmares. The mechanical shark? As stated on the main page, it spits out the same fish heads that James's aunts fed to him at the beginning of the film that he was so disgusted with. Likewise, the cloud rhino was a product of James's fear of the rhino that killed his parents. This even extends beyond merely creating physical beings. One of James's worst nightmares is that his aunts will somehow find him and make him return to his old life. This would definitely explain how Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge were somehow able to drive across the ocean, judging by the state of their car: James's fear was brought to life by the tongues and gave them the ability to do so.

The man with the crocodile tongues was a magical supervillain who intended for James to obliterate reality as we know it.
He gave the kid a whole jar of these things, just one of which can mutate a peach and several bugs inside it. And he didn't intend for James to drop them all on a barren rock. He encouraged James's dream to travel to one of the most populated areas in the world and to take the tongues there with him.

The Rhino from the film was a thunderstorm.
Don't know how obvious this is, but I'm throwing it out there. James and his parents were watching clouds and picking out shapes. A thunderhead rolls up on them. James thinks it looks like a charging Rhino. Pa and Ma James get struck by lightning. James thinks the Rhino killed them. James' aunts are asshole enough to make fun of him for it. James sees every thundercloud as a rhino from that point forward.

The Rhino at the end was Gozer
It came across the peach at just the right time for poor James to unintentionally choose the new Destructor Form.

Jack really was the pirate captain
  • Alternatively, it was the skeleton of a different Jack, and possible evidence that they're really one and the same.

Most of the film version took place in James' head.

In the opening song, James talks about retreating into his mind when he's scared.

The surreal tone- the mecha-shark, the bizarre cloud rhinoceros... James invented them.

The rhino that the aunts claim killed James' parents is a lie. Something far worse killed them and the aunts tell James it was a rhino.

The bugs were never bugs
They were really humans, James just saw them as bugs.

Let's just say that the Crocodile Tongues were hardcore drugs. They made James go completely nuts. So, the Peach wasn't a peach (maybe it was a boat?). But nonetheless, he escaped his aunts and went to the "peach". On the inside, he met men and women with names that were of insects (and arachnids), and that only supported his drug-crazed theory that they weren't human. Miss Spider was French, Mr Centipede was from Brooklyn, and so on, with the Glow-worm being an elderly woman and the Earthworm being a blind, paranoid man. They all took off in the peach-boat and went through their adventures.

Halfway through, maybe the boat crashed and they had to replace it with a fallen airplane they came across (maybe it was called the "seagull").

James' hallucination never wore off, causing a few people to believe him crazy, but it made a good enough story for his new friends anyway.

The bugs represent the countries their from.
Mr. Centipede represents america Ms. Spider represents france Mr. Grasshopper represents england Ms. Ladybug represents ireland Mr. Earthworm represents scotland and Ms. Glowworm represents i guess russia? but that's sounds about right.
  • In the movie, at least, all the bugs are from various parts of the British Isles, except for Miss Spider being French and the Centipede being from the USA.

The rhino never existed to begin with.
The rhino was just a made up ploy by his aunts to scare James into obedience. James, being young as he is, presumably doesn’t remember what really happened. They constantly threaten him with it and the story is that they ate his parents despite the fact that rhinos are strictly herbivores – they do not eat meat. Also, the only time this rhino appears outside of his nightmares is during a storm, which might have been ether a hallucination or a projection of his fears.
  • This troper assumed it was a metaphor: Either James was young enough that he misremembered the accident - maybe they'd just gone to the zoo, or read about rhinos - or he wasn't present when his parents died, and the 'rhino' was something the adults told him, either to try and make it less harsh or (in the case of his aunts) terrorize him. A car or train accident seems most likely, especially the latter, given the sparks and sound effects that accompany the rhino's appearances in the movie, plus the way it seems to
form out of black smoke while spewing it like a smokestack.

Miss Spider is the reincarnation of James's mother.
Mrs. Trotter was able to come back to Earth in a different form to take care of her child. Despite being a spider and in danger in Spiker and sponge's house, she doesn't leave James, comes back to the hill after he frees her from his aunts, and, over the course of the film, takes care of him the most. She may not have all of her memories from her time as a human, but the thing that brought her back- the love for her son- remains.
  • In the original Novel, all of the Insects are suppose to be replacement relatives for James: Miss Spider acts as James's mother while Mr. Centipede acts as James's Father. The Grasshopper acts like James Grandpa. The Ladybug and Worm act like his aunt and uncle (Respectively). The Glowworm acts like his Grandma, and The Silkworm acts like a lazy cousin. Yes, they aren't his real family, but in the Novel (And to a lesser extent the Film) they do become his family.

James's parents were killed by a drunk driver.
Think about it, James was very young when his parents died so he wouldn't remember it well, But what if they died in a car accident because the other driver was Drunk at the Wheel, James could have seen a Black Shape, the headlights could have looked like glowing eyes and a hood ornament could have looked like a Horn. Also he could have overheard people say they were killed by a "Wino" and misheard it as Rhino, then his imagination got the better of him. Plus when Spiker and Sponge found out what he thought happened they used it as means of controlling him, telling him if he doesn't behave the Rhino will get him.

The Iron GiantWMG/FilmJames Bond
The Iron GiantWMG/Western Animation (Film)The Legend of the Titanic

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