“The BFG” stars newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, and “Bridge of Spies” actor Mark Rylance as the giant in a wondrous new film by master storyteller Steven Spielberg. “The BFG” is about an orphaned girl named Sophie who is kidnapped and taken to Giant Country to live among children eating giants. However one, The Big Friendly Giant befriends Sophie and the two begin an epic quest of dream catching, star gazing as well as bringing peace to the Giant Country. Sophie and the Giant have many adventures together, all in the spirit of growing up and living in wondrous imagination.
“The BFG” will not go down as Spielberg’s best work and it sadly might become a forgotten Spielberg film, but I have to say that this was truly a charming little movie. I was absolutely charmed by it. The visual effects, the emotion, the humor and the heart make this one of my favorite summer films that I have seen in 2016. “The BFG” reminds me of the films that I saw growing up, when kids were whisked away into some fantasy land and have a series of adventures. This reminded me of “James and the Giant Peach,” “The Neverending Story,” “Labyrinth,” and even “Hook.” Spielberg is reliving the tales that I grew up with as a kid and it was such a pleasure to see this kind of movie back in the spotlight. A lot of kid movies today are mind numbingly bad with the constant slapstick comedy and poop joke humor, which makes it really hard to enjoy good wholesome family films. But “The BFG” is one of those rare good ones that hopefully people will give a shot. “The BFG” is a smart and entertaining film that I had a lot of fun with.
Newcomer Ruby Barnhill was really excellent as the little girl Sophie. She was the one identifiable character which the audience viewed from her eyes. She was so relatable, adventurous and full of childish spirit. And Mark Rylance as the “BFG” was absolutely fantastic. He brought so much humanity, humor and heart to an otherwise animated role. The motion capture done with his character was fantastic and he truly was the heart and sole of this movie. The chemistry between him and Sophie was wonderful and as an audience member I believed their friendship was real and every time they went on some little adventure I smiled.
When I first saw the trailer for the “BFG” I honestly had no interest in seeing this whatsoever. The trailers looked “meh,” and the visual effects seemed a little too fake for my taste. I was way wrong. The effects are really great and they use them only when they need to. There is a sequence involving dream catching that is marvelously shot and all the colors are incredibly beautiful. Of course the best thing about “The BFG” is the wonderfully playful score by John Williams. It’s never a true Spielberg film without Williams’ score. I could identify it a mile away and the way the music fit into the fantasy elements of the story was seamless. Janus Kaminski, Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer partner shot this movie and he did so with such prestige and finesse. All the moving parts came together beautifully here and it made for one truly excellent movie.
The only big issue I had with the movie was near the beginning of the film. When Sophie first comes to Giant Country, there are some parts that really dragged on a little too long and some of the pacing seemed a little off. But the movie makes up for it because after the beginning, the pacing seemed to be a non-issue once the story got kicked into full gear. Another nitpicking thing might be the fact that where Giant Country is, is never explained and the filmmakers trust you to go with it and we do, however it would have been cool to have seen some history on where this place is or how to get there, kind of how J.K. Rowling showed us with the “Harry Potter” series. Otherwise, this movie was truly solid on pretty much all ends and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
“The BFG” is a heartwarming adventure fantasy tale that grown ups and kids of all ages will enjoy. For the older audiences, it just might awaken the kid in you and I felt like a kid watching those adventure stories for the first time on the big screen. Roald Dahl’s children’s book comes to life and Spielberg has delivered one of the best summer movies of 2016. However, the film is considered a major flop and it’s a shame because this is a really good film. Go see “The BFG,” because you won’t be disappointed. “The BFG” is pure entertainment fantasy fare and is indeed scrumdiddlyumptious.