Steven Spielberg’s The BFG is a delightful family adventure. Spielberg maintains the tone of Roald Dahl’s original, which is sure to please fans of the book.
Sophie lives in an orphanage. She stays awake through the witching hour, little expecting any trouble. When a giant pays her a visit, Sophie expects the worst. However, this is no ordinary giant…
The BFG is one of Roald Dahl’s best-known stories. The translation to screen would have been rather a big feat in the past, considering the fantastic set-up. However, with advances in motion capture and CGI, The BFG immerses viewers in its magical world. The film is a visual feast, offering spectacle in spades.
The BFG mixes whimsy with a more emotional context. Sophie is a character viewers will quickly warm to. The title character amuses in his absurdity. Yet there is a sadness to this lone giant. Spielberg eschews his brand of sentimentality for the most part with The BFG. Nevertheless, the sense of loneliness is effectively conveyed as the film progresses. This is something that the protagonists bond over, and a driving force in the movie.
Spielberg tempers this solemn tone with a whimsical edge straight from the original book. The presence of Road Dahl is clear here; filmmakers have not pulled away from their source material. The nods to Dahl’s books, and Quentin Blake’s illustrations are a delight. The only place The BFG falters is in its momentum levels. Although the film never bores, there are not the expected peaks of an adventure film. The one thing that is missing is genuine excitement. There is plenty of wonder, but not enough acceleration.
Mark Rylance delivers a wonderful performance as the title character. Ruby Barnhill is very watchable as Sophie. Penelope Wilton offers an amusing turn, whilst comedy fans may be able to spot a few famous voices amongst the giants.
The BFG should be viewed in 3D for the full spectacle experience. Although more excitement would have been welcome, the film entertains throughout.