Follow TV Tropes


WMG / James and the Giant Peach

Go To

James Is Dead And Fighting His Way Through The Nine Circles Of Hell (Dante's Inferno).
James is 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 whether 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 its core and changes it completely. Therefore, heresy.

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 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 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
... before going on a cracking crocodile tongue trip!

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

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

Spiker and Sponge made up the rhino in means of explanation. They killed James's 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.
  • Seeing as his parents seem to have been pretty well off, his aunts may have killed his parents for their money. Unfortunately, they blew all the money on their purposes and in the process lost all of it, hence why they all live in a broken-down shack.

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 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 upon 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.
  • Alternatively, given that they seem to live right by the ocean, it was some sort of freak storm from the sea. When it "ate" his parents, its winds simply sucked them up or swept them away.

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 the same.

Most of the film version took place in James's 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's 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 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?). 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 they're 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 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 happened. They constantly threaten him with it and the story is that they ate his parents even though 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 either 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, throughout 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 supposed 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 rhino was rabid
If the rhino that killed James's parents was indeed an actual rhino instead of something metaphorical, the only logical explanation was that the rhino somehow managed to contract rabies or some other similar violence-inducing degenerative violence. The Trotter family were just very unfortunate to be at the zoo on the very day the disease finally took root in the rhino, causing it rampage and killing James' parents in the process. Either the way they were killed was so brutal that James's young mind at the time interpreted it as them being eaten, or the rhino really did eat their corpses due to the disease taking hold. The rhino was safely put down and euthanized, thankfully, but James was scarred for life.

The fact Spiker and Sponge used the rhino to scare James into obedience if there was a killer rhino would only make the two even MORE heinous they originally thought, and any future appearances of the rhino would be James's horrifically memories and fears being projected upon whatever life-threatening thing came his way (in this case, a massive hurricane/thunderstorm).

The family that the Aunts kicked out would testify against them as payback
  • After making press headlines, the family would recognize the aunts that kicked them out of the peach's display just because the little girl wanted to touch the peach. They'd explain everything that happened to them, and possibly file a lawsuit for the abuse (and thus cause many others to speak against them and for James). So, if the "Spike the Aunts" epilogue was just an arcade game, and not what happened to them, then chances are, the aunts would suffer more than just prison and possible (but deserved) execution.
    • That and the Aunts' arrest took place on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Unless that family was a tourist family from New York (which might be the case, it was never stated in the book or movie IIRC), they wouldn't even know of the Aunts' fate.
    • Being mean to kids isn't illegal. Hell, it's not even a sueable offense. And execution? Where do you live, Saudi Arabia?
      • Being mean to kids is illegal in Auradon. Spiker and Sponge would've been sentenced to life imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost for abusing James (and probably killing his parents and making up the rhino story) in that continuity, given that they are Disney Villains.
    • Even in the 1950s, denying a kid the right to touch a peach for an unjustified reason would result in her parents spreading the word that the two women displaying the peach are very nasty, giving Spiker and Sponge a negative reputation and deriving them of tourists. What also twists the knives in their cold hearts is that right after the poor girl, a cameraman was there. He might've helped the girl by giving the peach display a negative review in the papers.
      James became an overnight celebrity, so he might report on the origins of the peach. The girl's family finds out through a newspaper the fate of the aunts, and sigh on their karma.
      Attempted murder can warrant a long time in prison. But if one of the above WMG is correct, the aunts will get themselves hanged if convicted of murdering James' parents.
      • At the very least, they'll be deported from the United States, not just for attempted murder, but also for attempted terrorism, given that they would've killed everyone in New York City in their Villainous Breakdown had the bugs not appeared in time (you can't call the police "useless", as they were given no time between getting everyone to safety and shooting the aunts dead to protect James). And to protect James even further, they'll be banned from ever leaving the UK (if they ever leave prison).

The Rhino was the old man's familiar.
Until it turned evil, possibly corrupted by dark magic, and somehow became a thunderstorm and kills people at random. James's parents' were unfortunate targets. This is the reason why the old man helped James out, as he felt responsible for his parent's deaths, and also fears the Rhino will return for him.

Mrs. Trotter was pregnant when she died.
In the book, it's stated that, when James was four, his parents were eaten by a rhino while on a shopping trip to London. Mr. and Mrs. Trotter didn't take their son with them. What if, aside from knowing a four-year-old would prefer to play at the beach with his friends, they knew they were expecting a second child and were going to shop for a new baby? After all, they were still a young couple and since James was only four, it would have been a good time to have a second child. Perhaps they would have come home from their London trip and told James he would soon have a new brother or sister. If so, it would have made their deaths all that more tragic.

The "immense grey batlike creature" encountered by the peach is the Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon from the original book version of The Iron Giant.
The proof is that both were Adapted Out of the film versions.

Either one of James's parents was bullied by Sponge and Spiker
Considering that James had Good Parents, it's very likely that, whichever parent of his was their sibling, Aunts Sponge and Spiker bullied them throughout their childhood/adolescence and was The Unfavorite of inattentive parents who instead spoiled their two wretched daughters. His parents treat him well because getting hurt so often by two horrible sisters made their sibling decide they would never treat anyone as horribly as them.

Even then, that leaves the question of which side of the family, Sponge, and Spiker are on?

During the scene where Sponge and Spiker openly antagonize him for his intent to travel to New York, they say "(his) mother had his head in the clouds". This raises two possibilities:

1) If his mother was their sibling, it's likely they resented her more kindly nature and felt she'd be a bad influence on any child of hers (once again, assuming they had parents who constantly indulged them but unfairly disciplined the third child).

2) If his father was their sibling, that could mean they harbored distrust towards his wife and would thus have no problems speaking ill of them any chance they got.

Either way, it would explain why James started with a better life before tragedy struck.

Spiker and Sponge were victims of abuse themselves.
Most of the time, abusing one's family is not without reason. James's aunts may have been through the same level of abuse that they put him through when they were his age, thus they might've done so to him because they felt it wasn't fair that he should get to enjoy being his childhood when they never did theirs.
  • Possibly, Spiker and Sponge were abused and bullied by James’ mother/father and hold it against James.

James's parents were wildlife smugglers or poachers
That rhino that ate them? Either it was a target of theirs that escaped and gave them a Karmic Death, or the feds busted them while they were dealing with smuggled rhino horn. The shopping thing was just a coverup they told to James to protect his innocence.

Sponge and Spiker's abusive ways stem from their disgust at them and thinking James either is or will turn out a criminal like them and are trying to stamp out any potential evil in him. Still doesn't justify their actions though.

Mr. Trotter's first name is Spencer.
If Spiker and Sponge are his sisters, that would fit with the theme naming.