Disney and Steven Spielberg's latest adaptation to Roald Dahl's The BFG is out! Before you watch it in theaters, read our review to find out if it fills its giant-sized shoes!
When a young orphan, named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), witnesses a giant (Mark Rylance) delivering dreams, she is whisked away to a fantastical world filled with strange vegetation, dreams, and more giants. However, she soon discovers that the other giants aren’t as friendly as her new companion. In order to enact peace in Giant Land and the Human world, a most unlikely of allies will have to embark on a hilarious adventure.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, the 2016 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book, The BFG, gets a live-action facelift while still maintaining the child-like purity of the book and the 1989 animated adaptation. In fact, Spielberg does a wonderful job of melding the live-action portion with the CGI’d inhabitants, seamlessly. With such detailed facial expressions, I found myself forgetting that Rylance’s BFG was all CGI. However, that was the only character I felt that way toward. It was apparent that they really spent a lot of time, making The BFG realistic. The other giants, not so much. Even the Giant land seemed like obvious green screen. That isn’t to say it wasn’t still beautiful, just that it’s clear where most of the budget went.
As a whole, The BFG is a movie made for children. That may seem like a John Madden-esque statement but hear me out. Most children’s movies, nowadays, have elements that are for parents to enjoy and completely go over the child’s head. The BFG has none of those moments. It stays true to the children’s book and creates a world untainted by reality. It is as fantasy as fantasy gets. The BFG may even be Disney’s one true children’s movie, made in the 20th century. For our parental readers wondering what’s in store, get ready for a lot of non-sensical language and fart jokes.
The plot and pace in The BFG, is a little weak. I didn’t feel like the movie flowed as well as I would’ve liked. At times, it felt jumpy and as non-sensical as the language of the Giants. I didn’t even catch the fact that children were getting kidnapped by the other giants until Sophie acknowledges it, halfway through the movie. That’s a major plotline of the movie and it seemed overshadowed by the bright light of the wispy dreams, BFG farts, and anti-bullying messaging. It isn’t until Sophie forms a plan to stop the giants once-and-for-all, that everything starts to make sense. Although, Sophie’s plan does lead to one of the funniest moments of the film, meeting the Queen. Despite what I said before, this was clearly the best part of the film. It had adults and children in stitches.
As for the heartwarming element that every children’s movie has, I kept looking and looking for it to no avail. It wasn’t until the last 5 minutes of the movie that I finally got that warm and fuzzy feeling between The BFG and Sophie. The rest of the movie just seemed like set up and tomfoolery. They tried to create it about halfway through the movie but it just doesn’t stick. Although, the moment they share in the last 5 minutes is very sweet and a little sad. In that one moment, it was apparent why Rylance owns the moniker of Oscar-Winner. That being said, Ruby does a terrific job playing the head-strong Sophie. I admired the strength she showed, even though it seemed a little forced in certain scenes.
The BFG is a sweet story that will delight children under the age of 10. Parents need not worry about anything racy or subtle adult jokes. This is a children’s movie through and through. The film does tackle a few important issues, like anti-bullying, and still finds a way to make it humorous. It’s CGI and cinematography are the best parts of this film. Visually, the environment and the BFG, himself, are stunning. It’ll start off slow and take a while to get to the point but the film does have a satisfying second act. If you want a good, pure time at the theaters, The BFG is your film. For anyone else, there’s no rush to see this movie.