Sophie is a lonely orphan girl who accidentally sees a huge giant out and about in the streets of London. He is forced to kidnap her and take her to giant country, but luckily he turns out to be a big friendly giant (that’s the title innit) and the two of them form an unlikely friendship. This friendship in fact is even more unlikely because the BFG’s brothers are all children eating giants that dwarf the BFG completely in size.
I came to Spielberg’s new version of The BFG with a certain degree of trepidation – I remember really enjoying, and also being quite afraid of, the old cartoon version and the original Roald Dahl story but it had been quite some time since I had revisited either. I left this new film mostly satisfied.
I say mostly because I think most of the film is terrific. And why not start with the heart and soul of the movie – Mark Rylance. Yet again he proves that he is a genuine treasure and one of the very finest actors of all time. He becomes the BFG to the extent that you don’t see Rylance, or a mo-cap creation but you just see the BFG. Any grumblings that Mo-cap isn’t “real acting” now at long last surely must cease completely. However the film is hampered by some classic British child overacting. I don’t want to sound too harsh because she is only what 10? But I found her dreadfully irritating.
Tonally this version for me seemed to opt for a lighter approach to the cartoon which I remember as being really quite dark and creepy. Here the bad giants are mostly played as comedic characters with the exception of a few scenes. Personally I would have rathered they were scarier, but hey I’m not really the target audience.
Overall though, I think you’d have to be really quite stone hearted to not be completely warmed by the BFG. I thought the final third felt slightly separated from the rest of the film – and while still very sweet and funny seemed a little disjointed. I did really like The BFG, aside from my few niggles. A very gentle and nice family movie.