FILM REVIEW: THE BFG (PG)

Little stands out in this big movie…

Like many of you, I grew up reading and loving Roald Dahl’s work. His books were a huge part of my childhood. The problem with bonding with a piece of literature is once rumours surface of a film adaptation, you become a little protective. Will it live up to the book? How much will be changed?  These questions were running through my head when I found out The BFG was heading to the big screen.

However, once I found out that Steven Spielberg was in the director’s chair, my concerns faded slightly. After all, if anyone was going to give it a decent shot, it’s surely the man responsible for classics such as ET and the Indiana Jones movies, right?

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The BFG pretty much follows the original story that most of us know rather well. Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) is a young orphan who is taken in the night by a giant (a motion capture Mark Rylance) after spotting him sneaking around the streets of London. Sophie soon comes to realise that the giant is actually big and friendly – now probably being a good time to tell you that BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant.

It turns out the BFG was roaming the streets trying to help people by collecting dreams and delivering them to a select few using a magical trumpet.

Here’s the problem. Giant Country is home to nine other giants, and none of them are friendly. In fact, whilst the BFG is helping people, the others are eating them. Sophie convinces the BFG that the madness has to end, and so they concoct a daring plan that will hopefully put an end to it all.

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What works best with the movie is the stunning visuals and the brilliant casting. Spielberg has once again proven he has an eye for discovering unknown talent, with Ruby Barnhill providing us with a likable lead character. Fresh from his Oscar win for Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Mark Rylance once again teams up with the filmmaker delivering another magical performance as the BFG. And the lead bad giant (Bloodbottler) is played by Bill Hader, who is terrifying one minute whilst making us laugh out loud the next.

Here’s the problem, the BFG is actually a rather mediocre movie as a whole. Visually, it’s a triumph, but I wanted it to tick more boxes than that. After all, when you mix Spielberg, Disney and Dahl, you expect something great – and this simply isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable enough watch but it’s a slow burner and there’s nothing about it that will stand out in my mind once a few days have passed. Most laughs come from the final 20 minutes, during a scene involving the Queen of England. I won’t give too much away but this section of the movie was nothing short of genius – which frustrated me slightly, as I saw it as a glimpse of what the BFG could have been throughout.

Mikey Clarke [youtube id=”GZ0Bey4YUGI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Genre: Family & Fantasy

Cast: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilton,Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall & Rafe Spall.

Running Time: 1hr 57 mins

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

See The BFG and much more at Showcase Cinema, Peterborough. Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date show times. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas’.

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