Disney’s “The BFG” combines the storytelling skills of three masters of the art. Using Roald Dahl’s cherished tome as the launching point, Steven Spielberg and The Walt Disney Company have produced a charming movie that will entertain all ages.
The movie is set in the 80s and follows a young orphan as she encounters a Big Friendly Giant. The BFG spends nights spreading dreams to citizens of London and Sophie, played wonderfully by newcomer Ruby Barnhill) is an insomniac. After she spies the giant (Mark Rylance rendered large via digital magic), he kidnaps her and takes her back to Giant Country. The BFG, as it turns out, is small for a giant and much of the rest of the movie has to deal with how together he and Sophie deal with the larger giants who bully him.
The movie in Steven Spielberg’s repertoire that The BFG is closest to in feel is “E.T.”. However, although it comes close in one moment, The BFG never really gets to the emotional depths that E.T. is able to mine multiple times. Instead, it relies on lighter moments that generate guffaws. Then before you know it, the conflict is wrapped up in a tidy bow with hardly a scratch.
Believe it or not, this is Spielberg’s first movie for The Walt Disney Studios. Something he can now check off his bucket list. I would have liked to see more Spielberg-ian pathos in the film, and cut some of the fluff for a bit more emotional depth. For instance, Sophie is certainly self-confident for a 10-year old, but we don’t see how she got that way. Dreams play a big role in the life of “The BFG” but they don’t play a central role in the story.
At nearly 2 hours long, there is a lot to digest in the film and as an exploration of childhood and how it’s a reflection of the world adults inhabit, but in the end, these are mechanics to get us to the end of the story, not the heart of the story and that makes a difference.
The BFG faces stiff competition from another Disney movie, Finding Dory out of Pixar is still swimming along at the top of the box office. If you’ve already found Dory, you won’t be disappointed with with a quick trip to Giant Country. But between the two, Pixar tells the better story.
“The BFG” Trailer
About “The BFG”
The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg –finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part.
Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions.
The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
Disney’s “The BFG” comes to theaters July 1, 2016!