Steven Spielberg directs this beautifully crafted film of Roald Dahl’s book. The screenplay was written by the late Melissa Matheson, who also scripted E.T. She perfectly preserves the BFG’s wondrous ‘babblement’ as if it was written by Dahl, making Rylance’s dialogue simply ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ to listen to.
Oscar winner Mark Rylance, is the perfectly cast BFG. The giant is initially slightly scary looking, with his flapping cloak, huge ears, scrawny neck and body. Yet his eyes have the wondrous ability to convey a multitude of emotions, and the work by Weta Digital to translate this into CGI is nothing short of miraculous. The eyes are sad and warm and exuberant, all at once. The detailed digital motion-capture allows a character resembling a Quentin Blake illustration to have an almost human performance.
Ruby Barnhill portrays a courageous adroit Sophie, the little girl who discovers the BFG, only to have his giant hand reach in the window of her orphanage and whisk her away to his homeland of Giant Country. Unfortunately for Sophie, this land is populated by the BFG’s rather unfriendly brothers, who eat humans, mostly children. The BFG selflessly lives on a revolting looking and tasting vegetable known as a snozzcumber. As the BFG explains, “I is a nice and jumbly giant!” A friendship forms between Sophie and the BFG, two lonely souls with a lot in common. The BFG’s alarming meat eating brothers, with names such as Bloodbottler, Childchewer and Fleshlumpeater (Jermaine Clement) provide more of an amusing than a terrifying spectacle. They see the BFG as a runt and torment him. Sophie manages to persuade the BFG that he doesn’t have to put up with their bullying anymore.
There are some hilarious moments in the film. A scene in which the BFG visits Buckingham Palace and introduces the Queen – not to mention her corgis – to his favourite drink ‘Frobscottle’ is rib-tickling. This fizzy beverage has downward sinking bubbles, resulting in ‘whizzpoppers’ (flatulence) from whoever drinks it. The highlights in The BFG though, were the touching moments, such as when the BFG reaches down to pick up Sophie’s tiny glasses in his enormous rough hands, or when he sits down with a magnifying glass to read Sophie’s copy of Nicholas Nickleby. The BFG loves the world, even tiny things.
My 8yo was thrilled to hear the BFG was coming out, having just finished reading the book. There are however a number of today’s young movie goers unfamiliar with the great author’s fabulous tales. They would have no idea what ‘The BFG’ stands for. Expanding the film title to ‘The Big Friendly Giant’ could entice some new fans into Dahl’s world. The film is entertaining and an enjoyable family movie for over 8 year olds. It’s possibly too frightening for younger children, mainly due to the scene when the BFG’s huge hand reaches in and grabs Sophie from her bed. There is no actual chomping up of humans witnessed at any point fortunately. If you love Roald Dahl’s quirky sense of humour, you will love this film.
Rating: PG Some scenes may scare very young children.