The BFG Reviewed
The BFG stays pretty close to the original narrative. The biggest difference is the movie shies away from the darker parts of the book. It’s about a young girl named Sophie who is plucked from her bed by a giant and taken to his home. While her captor enchants Sophie with his charm, she learns that not all giants are so nice; the others prefer hunting and eating humans. It‘s been a while since I've read the book so some of the story seemed familiar, like Sophie’s first experience with fizzy drink, while other scenes seemed new even when they weren’t.
The pacing of the movie is a little manic. Some parts are adorable, at which you can’t help but smile. But just as often there are moments where the BFG and Sophie take a long walk and talk up a mountain. Scenes like this lack the dramatic excitement of previous Spielberg-made kids’ movies like E.T. In order to compensate for the slower pacing Spielberg offers eye-catching visuals for the audience to appreciate. He has always had a knack for creating captivating worlds, and with the words of Roald Dahl to inspire, Spielberg really lets the colors fly.
But the hands-down best scene happens late in the movie. For those of you who don't quite remember the book I won't get into it, but the scene involves the giant’s fizzy drink and it is just the tops. Children and adults alike will be laughing because no matter how old you are farts are funny.
The same goes for the other giants voiced by the likes of Jermaine Clement and Bill Hader, which are normally voices I would recognize. All the characters blended in so well that I could only hear Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler, which is a nicer attribute than the names would indicate, and a rarity in many children’s movies that rely on voice-recognition to get their adult laughs. I was also pleased by Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, who made her big-screen debut. I usually find child actors distracting, but here she holds her own, and does so using a green screen similar to this year’s Jungle Book. Ten additional points to Barnhill for looking just like the illustrated character.
Both Spielberg and Roald Dahl are classic storytellers, but game recognizes game, and Spiely gets out of the way and allows the story to speak for itself. You can tell Spielberg is going for something the whole family can enjoy, which is probably why he spends less time on all of the missing children. Much like his giant, Spielberg still has the ability to capture and create dreams on the screen and make you believe in the bond between a girl and her giant. B