I KILL GIANTS – A Poorly Timed Production

I KILL GIANTS is a family fantasy movie? A family counselling film? A giant movie? Hmmmmm. I can’t properly categorise it. IMDB classifies it as Drama, Fantasy, Thriller. A little of each then. The trailer looks fantastic but it took about 5mins for me to realise the movie is a carbon copy of last year’s A MONSTER CALLS, which made my Top 20 films of 2017. Sadly for I KILL GIANTS releasing a film less than a year after a movie that is EXACTLY the same is going to heavily effect its results. Be warned I WILL DISCUSS SPOILERS in this review. I KILL GIANTS is releasing in Australia May 31st 2018 on a very limited release from Umbrella Films, six screens to be exact, listed at the end of the article. It is rated M and runs for 106mins.


I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe image
I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe




Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is a teenage girl who chooses to escape the realities of school and a drab family life by retreating into her magical world of Titans and Giants. With the help of her new friend Sophia (Sydney Wade) and her school therapist (Zoe Saldana), Barbara will learn to battle her Giants and face her fears – tackling the mean bullies at school, her sister (Imogen Poots) and her difficult home life and eventually her biggest dread of the unknown. I KILL GIANTS is an adaptation of Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura’s Man of Action/Image Comics internationally acclaimed graphic novel and is directed by Academy Award winning director Anders Walter (Best Short Film: HELIUM). The film covers themes of imagination, family, grief and bullying.


I Kill Giants Zoe Saldana image
I Kill Giants Zoe Saldana



I KILL GIANTS is based on a graphic novel released with seven issues between July 2008 and January 2009. It won awards and was applauded. A MONSTER CALLS was a novel published in 2011 and tells pretty much the identical story but is a little darker and told from the perspective of a young boy as opposed to a young girl. One is set in the U.S. and one is set in the U.K.. I KILL GIANTS was first on the literary front but A MONSTER CALLS beat it to the post on the cinematic front. With A MONSTER CALLS being made one year before I KILL GIANTS one must question the sanity in making I KILL GIANTS at all. The story is 90% the same and even the reveal line from the giant is quoted nearly word for word. I mean WTF?!?!

I feel sad for this movie. On its own without comparison it deserves more love than it will get but even the story is told better in A MONSTER CALLS. The production and cast are all decent in this but the cause of why Barbara retreats into her fantasy world is poorly handled and held off until the end like a giant reveal. The reveal is spoiled for anyone who has seen A MONSTER CALLS and fans of the graphic novel will already know the outcome. Revealing and then discovering the monsters are imaginative fantasy is the same as discovering at the end of a movie that the entire thing was a dream of the protagonist. It leaves one a little disappointed. I could embrace it the first time I saw it but not the second. 

Visually the film is wonderful to watch, the CGI, cinematography and production values are high. Impressive considering it was made for a measly $15MIL.


I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe image
I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe



Madison Wolfe is wonderful as quirky giant killer Barbara. She has quite the CV building up behind her with roles in TRUE DETECTIVE, THE ASTRONAUT WIVE’S CLUB, KEANU, THE CONJURING 2 and more recently in ZOO. She can carry a lead role with ease and the quirkiness of her character made her easy to watch. Zoe Saldana I can watch in anything, I simply love her, her voice and her empathy acting is superb but I did find her a little underutilised and her character is nothing more than a stand-in motherly figure for Barbara. Originally this role was going to Halle Berry but studios did not find Berry bankable enough for the movie?!?! WOW – how things have changed. Berry would have been more than sufficient in the role. 

Imogen Poots and Sydney Wade rounded out the lead cast as Karen and Sophia. I could have had more of Poots and Wade was a treat to watch as the new and only friend to Barbara. I do feel sorry for Barbara’s brother in the movie (Art Parkinson as Dave), he plays a video game and then punches a plate of food and then he’s gone. Did Barbara even need a brother in the movie? Parkinson is best known as the non-swerving target practice of Game of Thrones, Rickon Stark.


I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe image
I Kill Giants Madison Wolfe image



VIC: Lido, Classic, Cameo Cinemas

NSW: Dendy Newtown

ACT: Dendy Canberra          

QLD: Dendy Coorparoo



I would have enjoyed I KILL GIANTS a lot more if I didn’t watch it last year preincarnated as A MONSTER CALLS. I tried so hard to judge it on its own but when the story is close to carbon copy it was difficult to manage. Of the two films I feel sorry for I KILL GIANTS, as a graphic novel it was released years before the A MONSTER CALLS novel. But on the film front A MONSTER CALLS released first and is a far superior movie into the imaginative escapism of grief.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.