Steven Spielberg reunites with the producer and writer of E.T.—Frank Marshall and Melissa Mathison (who passed away last year from neuroendocrine cancer)—to adapt Roald Dahl’s beloved 1982 novel The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), which was dedicated to Mathison. Fresh from creating two historical masterpieces (Lincoln and last year’s Bridge of Spies), he creates the most ambitious straight-up family film of his career. He takes the audience to a world unlike anything they have ever seen. Even though it’s not Spielberg’s best, it’s still quite a spectacle.
Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) is a 10-year-old girl living in an orphanage in London. One night, wrapped up in her quilt, is snatched away by a big creature. He takes her to his hideout in Giant Country where she first sees the creature chopping up a “Snozzcumber”, which is the only food he can eat. Terrified at first, she soon realizes he is gentle and kindhearted—hence the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). She encounters other giants including Bloodblotter (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement). Unlike them, the BFG refuses to eat humans, given for his slender appearance. As soon as their friendship grows stronger, they come to realize they are going take London.
If I was 10-years-old, I would have been blown away by its visuals and message of friendships coming in all shapes and sizes and being brave. As a 20-year-old, I am astonished of what Spielberg and his team brought to the screen with its compelling narrative, dazzling visuals, and imaginative sets.
Fresh from winning an Oscar last year, Mark Rylance’s BFG is nothing short of perfection. Performed through motion capture by Weta Digital, he brings a massive heart into this character it almost moved me to tears. His smile is just pure delight. He catches and implants dreams (there is one magical scene where Sophie experiences Dream Country with John Williams providing another astounding score). With his Dumbo-sizes ears, he hears “the most secret whisperings of the world.” His friendship with Ruby Barnhill’s Sophie (who is a ton of fun to watch) is something to behold.
Even though the villains aren’t as three-dimensional as they should have been, The BFG provides enough for the entire family. Not to mention this movie having a wonderful sense of humor; featuring the most effective and the cleverest fart scene since Blazing Saddles. Roald Dahl would certainly be pleased.