The BFG

"Very Good"

The BFG Review


For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison, with whom he made E.T. nearly 35 years ago. Another story of an unlikely friendship, this film is even more wondrous and earnest, and also much more reliant on effects. But it's also hugely involving, with a terrific cast and of course a delightful story with a wry sense of humour.

 

It's set in a timeless London, where Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage. One night she spots a stealthy giant (Mark Rylance) prowling the city streets, so he grabs her and takes her back to Giant Country so she can't reveal his secret existence. As she gets to know him, Sophie discovers that he's an outcast in his own community, half the size of the nine giants (including Jemane Clement and Bill Hader) who live around him and bully him mercilessly because he doesn't eat human beans. This has earned him the nickname Big Friendly Giant, which Sophie shortens to BFG as she accompanies him into a colourful parallel world in his job collecting dreams and nightmares. Then when the bullies' threats grow stronger, Sophie comes up with a plan to get help from the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and her staff (Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall).

 

With a surging emotional score by John Williams, the film has an earnest tone that's sometimes rather overpowering, especially as Spielberg gives everything a storybook glow, from the puddled cobblestone streets of London to the windswept topography of Giant Country and the glowing colours in the dream realm. The film looks amazing, and performance-capture technology makes the giants into vivid characters. Rylance is instantly recognisable as BFG, and his face is fully expressive. He and Barnhill make a terrific duo, and both deliver terrific performances that make their characters engaging. Although it's impossible not to wish the film looked a bit more realistic and grounded.

 

The best scenes are the ones that bristle with real-world wit, such as the lively sequence in which Sophie and BFG visit Buckingham Palace. In these moments, there's an satirical edge to the slapstick that adds a striking layer of meaning. Otherwise, the film feels goofy rather than blackly ironic. For example, the lead bully Fleshlumpeater (Clement) is seriously nasty, but his torments are comical rather than terrifying. Even so, Spielberg is gifted at tapping into the childlike wonder in all of us, and this film has plenty of that. It also refreshingly never tips over into sappiness as it reminds us of the power of unexpected friendship.

 

Rich Cline

 

Watch the trailer for 'The BFG':


 



The BFG

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st July 2016

Distributed by: A & E

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Walden Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Mary, as Bloodbottler, as The BFG, Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, Marilyn Norry as Matron, as Fleshlumpeater, as The Queen, as General #2, Haig Sutherland as Danish Father, Paul Moniz de Sa as Palace Guardsman, Michael Adamthwaite as Footman #1, Graham Curry as Orphan #2, John Emmet Tracy as The BFG

Contactmusic


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