If you grew up in the ’80s/’90s (or were raising a kid then) you are no doubt familiar with “The BFG”, Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s tale about a big friendly giant. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has partnered with the Mouse House to create a live-action adaption of the story.
In the movie we meet Sophie, an orphan girl who meets and becomes friends with the BFG, who is a giant that doesn’t eat humans (apparently a rare condition among giants). The BFG takes Sophie on a journey and together they learn about life and friendship.
The first trailer for the film is out and we see Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) looking bright-eyed as she is plucked from the orphanage by BFG’s huge hand.
I’ll admit that it has a very Harry Potter feel, but I think that is impart due to the British accent and setting. Of course, “The BFG” was published before JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Maybe she was in some small part inspired by Dahl’s dark, fantastical world full of dreams and nightmares.
Roald Dahl’s “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) was first published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since. Dahl’s books, which also include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach” and “Matilda,” are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide. “The BFG” is the only book of Dahl’s that has never been adapted into a feature film. Originally created as a bedtime story, “The BFG” was Dahl’s own favorite of all his stories. “It was very important for us to be loyal to the language,” says Spielberg, “and the great writer Melissa Mathison, who also wrote ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,’ wrote “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. “I think it was kind of genius of Roald Dahl to be able to empower the children. It was very, very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light which was so much Disney’s original signature in a lot of their earlier works like in ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Fantasia,’ ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella,’ and being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone, it was a wonderful thing for Dahl to have done, and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book,” says Spielberg.
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. Says Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see Queen Victoria (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.
“The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.