The BFG (2016)


What’s it about?

Sophie, an orphan, gets kidnapped by the surprisingly tall Mark Rylance. During her capture, she stumbles upon a plot that threatens orphans all over the world, and she goes to great lengths to foil it.

Who’s in it?

Mark Rylance, “the girl who played Sophie in BFG”, Penelope Wilton, half of ‘Flight of the Concords’, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall and Bill Hader in a mo-cap suit.

Why should I watch it?

+ It’s a Spielberg
+ Meaning it’s a kid’s story in the hands of a creative, competent director and it feels it. Great performances, great cinematography, creative camerawork; it’s a very involved movie
+ The world presented in The BFG is gorgeous, rich with detail, and an art style that feels entirely its own, bringing colour and light to a rather dim and dark story
+ It’s also incredibly creative! But that’s Roald Dahl for you
+ Does a great job with scale; you do feel tiny following Sophie around The BFG’s house and Giant Country
+ The BFG is perfectly realised, with a wonderful performance by Mark Rylance
+ I mean, the way he rhymes off nonsense words so perfectly and with such conviction completely sells the character
+ Sophie and the supporting cast are well realised too; there’s a lot of fun side characters to pepper up what is mostly a duologue between Sophie and the BFG
+ The giants are both hilarious and surprisingly threatening
+ It’s light-hearted and has fun with its premise, even if that premise at face-value is pretty dark
+ The CGI looked pretty great

Why shouldn’t I watch it?

– The actual story of The BFG is relatively non-existent
– Creative and imaginative, but definitely not something you should ponder over
– I mean, girl gets kidnapped, girl tries to escape, kidnapper uses the power of dreams to scare her into staying, girl becomes best friends with captor and helps fix his life?
– It’s Stockholm Syndrome at best, and while that may be the cynical approach to the wonder and creativity on show, if the entirety of the story must be taken at face value it robs us of a chance to really get involved with the perils the characters are facing
– More damaging however is a scene in which Sophie jumps out a window to get the BFG to come back
– I mean, should kids really see a movie that promotes going to extremes to get your surrogate parents back?
– The rest is typical fantasy fare so kids probably will only laugh at how messed up it is when they’re older, but that scene could actually be a damaging message for a really young child
– And if you can’t recommend a kids movie to children, hasn’t the movie failed in a big way?
–  The third act is also just bizarre, and not particularly in a good way
– The ending felt rushed and doesn’t really feel earned
– What did we gain from this experience?
– Fart jokes *Sigh*

Anything else?

It’s gorgeous, it’s well-made and it’s got great characters that kids will love spending time with, adults may even feel a sort of child-like nostalgia from the sheer adventure of the piece; ultimately, however, The BFG fails in being a safe recommendation to children because of one scene that not only halts the flow of the narrative but feels so short and so shoe-horned in for drama’s sake that it brings the craft of the whole film into question.

That and a few teething issues with the finale make The BFG an interesting experience, but one that comes with a huge caveat upon recommendation.


You might also like:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory



8 thoughts on “The BFG (2016)

  1. First, good review. Because the movie had Spielberg’s name attached to the project, I think people were expected to be “blown away” by the movie. To me, I actually liked it. Rylance was excellent as The BFG and so was Barnhill as Sophie. The visuals were impressive and the other giants look great (at least they look like more human-like than the cartoon version). All in all, while not as dark as Dahl’s other adaptations, The BFG was entertaining to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would agree it definitely got quite a bit of undue criticism due to Spielberg being attached. It really is a well put together movie, very charming and creative.

      I just can’t on good conscience recommend it for young children due to the aforementioned window jump scene, and see the film as fundamentally flawed for its inclusion. Middling third act aside, I did have a lot of fun watching this, but when considering this as a complete work, its contradictory message and nature underscore quite a number of its positives.

      Still! You’re totally right, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!


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