The BFG: Film Review

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Usually when reboots are announced I groan, but I was actually excited for The BFG because I love Roald Dahl‘s stories, had seen the cartoon-style animation years ago, but could barely remember it, and I knew it would be safe in the hands of Steven Spielberg. My initial feelings were right – this is a perfect kids film that will introduce the story to a whole new generation.

Mark Rylance plays the Big Friendly Giant via motion capture. He lives in Giant Country with his flesh-eating counterparts and ventures into the city to deliver dreams to children. One night, he is seen by orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) so he takes her back to Giant Country with him and they become friends – although the other giants want to eat her.

Admittedly, not much happens plot-wise in the film, but that’s because it’s sticking faithfully to the book. This usually bothers me – it did very slightly towards the end – but for the most part I was just having so much fun watching what was happening whether it was a major story line or not. It was so magical, full of wonder and just good-natured entertainment. It’s refreshing that it’s nice because everything seems to err towards dark these days, so in the current climate of horrific world news, this is a welcome distraction that will bring kids total joy.

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It also looks absolutely gorgeous. The landscapes, the dream-catching sequences and, in particular, The BFG himself were very impressive. It’s quite jarring at first when the real Sophie is composited in with all the CGI but you get used to it very quickly. I cannot fault the stunning visuals one bit.

Rylance was the perfect man for the job. The BFG has the most unusual manner of speech and makes up weird words and he nailed it and made it seem natural. I felt sorry for him so often. I also enjoyed Jemaine Clement‘s rough English accent (as a giant) and the dining room scene towards the end featuring Penelope Wilton as the Queen and Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall as her workers.

The only shortcomings were Barnhill, who was brilliant most of the time, but I occasionally found her voice a bit annoying, and the ending, which drags on a bit and doesn’t have much impact. Regardless, it is absolutely wonderful, I laughed out loud a ton and it reminded me of the fun kids’ movies I used to watch.

I really want to stress how good it is because its disappointing box office opening in the U.S. makes it seem like a bomb but it’s not. I don’t know if it was a marketing error or what, but I desperately want it to be a success over here. Go check it out!

Released Friday 22nd July 

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