The BFG Movie is Charming in Parts, Mostly Boring.
Steven Spielberg sort of fumbles with Roald Dahl classic and yet mark Rylance’s delighful, sensitive, gentle performance turns this movie into a very sweet little film for the family. The fantasy scenes do remind us of how amazing the director can be. But with Hollywood’s penchant of taking away all the dark elements and the story remains in the easy to forget zone. This is not ET The Extra Terrestrial.
Mark Rylance’s crinkles should be declared national treasure. He’s amazing as a shy giant who is the runt of the giant world. He’s what they called ‘Scrum-diddly-umptuous!’
Compared to him Sophie seems like someone who you’d like to slap. She’s a little annoying as most kids are. We don’t feel an instant connect with her like we do with Mowgli or Jack Frost or even with Paddington Bear.
The story of a friendly giant who is an anomaly among giants is a good one. He is so gentle, he collects dreams and pipes them into people while they are sleeping. The upside down world is beautiful, and so is his workshop. Such a visual treat this is.
The wonder though, is in the reading of the original. Where else would you find names for giants like Freshlumpeater, Bloodbottler, Meatdripper and Gizzardguzzler? As kids we called each other those names and the fun was to make up names and pretending we were drinking Frobscottle if one of us farted.
The movie has fun Frobscottle effects visually, but the kids today don’t get the fun of naming silly names. The parents in the audience - who have read the book - will enjoy this and many other Dahl ideas. Others will just gawp at the brilliant special effects. I came away with mixed feelings, and though the film might help more kids buy more books, most might just let Hollywood do the reading for them. Of the Dahl books that have been made into movies, this one falls a tad short of the greatness and lovability of the book.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)