Written by: Melissa Mathison, Roald Dahl (Book).
Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Burnhill, Penelope Wilton.
Running Time: 117 minutes.
Little Sophie makes an unlikely friend in the BFG, an outcast giant who is a tender soul unlike his appearance.
In Giant Country
On a late London night, little Sophie (Ruby Burnhill) meanders through her orphanage home battling insomnia. When she tells off a few drunkards on the street from her bedroom window, she notices a large shadow at the corner of the street. The shadow happened to be that of our title character – the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Out of fear of Sophie blurting out about his existence, the BFG takes her captive.
Quite contrary to what we’re led to believe, the BFG is a kind, whimsical being with an absurd manner of conversing. Sophie eventually warms up to his melancholy nature. As the feelings get mutual and captive turns to friend, BFG shows Sophie around Giant Country. The BFG was a dream-catcher by trade and lived more in fear than in Giant country. His brethren comprised of even bigger giants who, thanks to convenient relativity, referred to him as ‘Runt’.
The de Facto leader of the Giants named Fleshlumpeater (Jermaine Clement) senses that there is a human around. Sophie then convinces the BFG to take her to the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and reveal himself in order to avail the Majesty’s help.
His highness Steven
From first gifting the world with E.T. in 1982 to The Adventures of Tintin in 2011, Steven Spielberg has undeniably stunned the world with his family movies. But audiences have been showered with a plethora of childhood adaptations of late and even the giant Spielberg will find it a daunting task to re-create a classic. This flick seems largely restrained – maybe because he had to stay true to Dahl’s original. But all things considered, the BFG is a splendid effort hitting the right notes emotionally.
Some of the humor falls flat and the intensity of the plot isn’t as expected, but the movie does manage to keep you entertained throughout. Roald Dahl’s touching classic has been adapted admirably by the late Melissa Mathison for all ages alike. It checks all the feel-good boxes and leaves fans of the original smiling.
John Williams returns with a masterpiece soundtrack which slots in perfectly with the premise of the film. The DOP and art team deserve a lot of credit for stringing together the motion capture and sets.
The big friendly cast
Debutant Ruby Burnhill packs a strong punch in this film. It’s never easy when acting against CGI for the most part, especially considering age and the fact that this was her debut. But she does a fantastic job of convincing the audience that everything is real. Topping that performance is Mark Rylance (The Other Boleyn Girl, Intimacy) as the BFG with a splendid display of emotions. No one does more justice to their character than Rylance.
Penelope Wilton (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Shaun of the Dead) puts in a stellar shift as the Queen of England. Jermaine Clement (Rio, Predicament) does a decent job as the Fleshlumpeater as well. We are also presented with interesting cameos by Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, The Town) and Rafe Spall (Life of Pi, Prometheus).
All in all
The BFG is a fine adaptation of a childhood classic and does justice to Roald Dahl in more ways than one. The movie does have a few snags and it is definitely not one of Spielberg’s finest gigs. But it’s as pleasant as it can be. Disney, Spielberg and Dahl make a great team. Who knew that in a summer full of franchise films and remakes, a friendly giant would be the one to stand out.
Watch it if you’re: A Fan of Roald Dahl books or love a good CGI family adventure.