Director: Steven Spielberg
Duration: 117 minutes
The BFG (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Don’t we all remember a time when we first read a Roald Dahl story? Back in the day, his books were immensely popular, also due to the fun illustrations by Quentin Blake, and this popularity hasn’t faded much, it seems. His books keep appealing to children, and though sometimes quite grim, it’s easy to see why. We were quite stoked to have the chance to review this title, if only for nostalgic reasons.
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a little girl living at an orphanage in London. She suffers from insomnia, and thus is often awake at night. When the witching hour strikes (at three o’clock in the morning she believes it to be), she suddenly sees a giant (Mark Rylance) standing outside her window. Sophie is stunned with amazement, but when the giant sees her, he puts his hand through the window and lifts her out of bed, taking her with him to Giant Country. While Sophie is at first a bit anxious to see what will happen next, the giant puts her at ease when he tells her that he is not the man eating kind, but only took her to protect his own safety. However, he’ll have to keep Sophie safe in his own home somehow, as his fellow giants, much bigger and stronger than he is, do love a bite of human flesh. They even grab children out of their beds at night, to indulge in a man eating feast. When the Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) storms into the friendly giant’s house, Sophie gets pretty close to being caught, but luckily, she stays safe for now.
To Sophie it becomes more and more clear as to why the friendly giant came to London, when he explains to her that he can capture dreams, and delivers them to little children while they are sleeping. He takes her along to Dream Country, where they find the most beautiful dreams, but evil ones as well. Sophie enjoys herself really well, but then she comes up with a plan that, if it works, will change the life of the BFG forever.
The story of this film has quite a steady pace, yet it takes quite long for it to reach its climax. This is not a bad thing though, as the little things leading up to it are beautifully filmed, and fun to watch as well. The film feels quite realistic, while at the same time it is so full of imagination. The dream catching scene or the giant’s favorite drink Frobscottle will certainly speak to the imagination of many a child. The way the BFG is brought to life makes him seem like a real being, rather than an animated character. This means that it’s very easy to relate to not only Sophie, but also the giant himself, certainly seeing that he’s the odd one out, without companion. While the whole story is mostly made to please, some scenes add a bit of spice to the mix, when the flesh eating giants rummage the place or go after humans. For children, there is certainly a good balance between the two. An extra layer is added to the movie in the form of John Williams‘ music, which certainly adds overall feel of the film.
Ruby Barnhill is, even though still very young, a very convincing actress. She manages to portray Sophie very well as the driven, slightly bossy girl who makes friends with the BFG quite easily, and stands up for him when needed. Mark Rylance is simply amazing to see as the BFG. His funny language and overall appearance make him extremely likeable and really bring this giant to life.
On this blu-ray release of the BFG, there are quite a lot of extras to enjoy. There is a making of, and a tribute to Melissa Mathison, who wrote the screenplay of the movie, but sadly passed away soon after finishing the film. Next to that, you’ll be very interested to see how the giants were actually animated, a technique that added a lot of realism to the film. Lastly, there’s also a little quiz about the giants’ language included. All in all more than enough extras to enjoy, and a quite decent selection, we must say.
While the story of the BFG takes quite long to reach its climax, and it’s mostly a feel good story, it is still so beautifully brought that you can easily overlook these minor flaws. Even if the story doesn’t suit your fancy, the animations of the giants simply look amazing and very realistic, thus making the film very pleasing for the eye. It’s certainly worth the watch, for both young and old.