Wednesday, July 6, 2016

[Review] The BFG

Snozzcumber and Frobscottle!

After delivering the excellent Cold War drama Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg (with his 32nd film!) re-teams with Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance for something in a much different realm. Based on Roald Dahl's novel of the same name, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) taps into--or should I say stomps into--childlike wonder and fantasy. But of course it's no E.T. the Extraterrestrial.

Meet Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), an inquisitive night owl. One evening she's swooped up from her orphanage by a mysterious giant (played by Rylance) and taken to his home in Giant Country. It's a cool sequence, as the swift giant cleverly conceals himself in the shadows, posing as a streetlight or a tree amidst the England streets. If this sounds a little creepy, don't worry--he's a nice giant. The two form a friendship, and Sophie learns about the giant's hobby of catching and planting dreams, all while attempting to avoid the other giants, who are barbaric and flesh-hungry.

As a seamless mixture of live-action/CGI/motion capture, the film exudes some imaginative production design. From the giant's pirate ship bed, to the nasty and wormy food, to a tree of fairy-esque dreams surrounded by Aurora Borealis lights--it all looks really good. Like always, Spielberg makes sure to showcase some spectacular shots. Ruby Barnhill is a breakthrough as the precocious protagonist, and we never once doubt her discoveries. Mark Rylance turns in another great performance, especially through the eyes--he's gentle, caring, and weary all at once.

The film's humor is mild, and the emotions unfortunately don't run as high as you'd want them to. The third act also takes a misfit turn and leads to head-scratching ending (though I've heard it's very loyal to the book). So, The BFG won't go down as a classic or even one of the best films of the year. But for a couple of hours, it's a scrum-diddly-umptious thing to get swept away in.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I certainly was swept up into sections of this film - it has a whimsy about it, along with a fluid visual quality, that makes it an above average fantasy flick but, dammit, we who have followed Mr. Spielberg's career all these years just know he could've done so much more with this premise. Maybe it should have a disclaimer about only being for those who aren't film cynics.

    1. Totally. I would have liked it a lot more if the story wasn't lacking a more compelling spark.

  3. I'll be catching up with you this

  4. Looks and sounds like a fun film. And I REALLY want to see Bridge of Spies!