REVIEW – Expect The BFG to stand tall as a family film

It’s not quite everything one of the world’s best storytellers wrote about, but it’s enough to charm everyone old, young – and in between.

I remember being a touch afraid of Roald Dahl’s The BFG when I was young. I was first shown the book at the age of seven – and only read it once that year (recently, I’ve revisited the novel every couple of years or so) – but it sparked in me a wacky obsession with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda. (I think I can still actually recite all the lines in the latter movie…good old VHS tapes…)

But I digress.

Fast forward to 2016: Steven Spielberg is releasing a live-action BFG movie under the Disney banner (no kid fishing on the moon in the opening for all you Dreamworks fanatics), and I have to say – it’s pretty great. There was that old cartoon back in the late 80’s (it was released only in the U.K.); I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard good things. Spielberg’s live-action/motion capture (or ‘mo-cap’ for short) stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Rafe Spall and Michael Adamthwaite – just to name a few. The premise: a little girl named Sophie (Barnhill) is kidnapped by The BFG – short for “Big Friendly Giant” (Rylance) after she sees him in the streets of London. The BFG can’t bear to trust the youngster, for fear she might spill the beans on the existence of giants.

The problem with The BFG’s solution is that by taking her to Giant Country to live with him, Sophie is subjected to the threat of other giants…who gobble up ‘human beans’ (human beings) for food.

While the film takes a few liberties with book, it’s still a movie that works on all levels. The story is simple, with a lot of breathing room for experimentation. My big question going in was, “how are these giants going to look? Will they look like the ones illustrated by Quentin Blake? Will they look more modern? Will they be smarter than their literary counterparts?”

This is a pretty solid family movie that will appeal to multiple generations. It’s a striking piece of work that pays so much attention to detail. The audio and visual work is top notch, and I would be surprised if the people who worked on the sound mixing, editing and the visual effects were not nominated for awards.

And while the giants weren’t what I expected them to be, they were pretty entertaining! Most of them really do have their own personalities; a few more stand out than the others, but it’s fun to watch them stumble around much of the movie.

I was originally skeptical about the choice of actress to play Sophie – but Ruby Barnhill is a charming talent who has so many great things ahead of her. For all the mo-cap work, and having to act on sound stages and green screens, she does a remarkable job.

Happy to recommend this film and give it a 4 incredibly tall giants out of five. How do I think it’ll do at the box office? Tough to say. So many people have been giving this movie flack online, unaware of the actual book…

Some people are just skipping right to their ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’

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…what are your thoughts? Drop me a line on Twitter: @RiaCKNW980!

Check out the trailer below!

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