A cinematic giant brings Roald Dahl’s fictional one to life, with a little help from Disney magic of course. Steven Spielberg’s THE BFG is released in UK Cinemas on July 22nd.
The screenplay, based on the legendary childrens’ novel of the same name, was written by the late Melissa Mathison. Mathison, who also collaborated with Spielberg writing ET & The Twilight Zone, sadly passed way in November; therefore making The BFG her concluding work. It’s been noted that her screenplay shows a similar likeness to her past works, capturing the magic and fantastical aura she so masterfully depicted in her writing.
Dahl’s notoriously dark and eerie themes run deep throughout the plot enabling the story to be both suited to adults and children. The ultimate family fantasy, The BFG tells the tale of a young orphan Sophie, who dubious at first, befriends the Big Friendly Giant. The BFG lives as an outcast as his giant peers refuse to accept him as, unlike his family and friends, he refuses to eat children.
The film stars 2016 Oscar winner Mark Rylance (The Gunman, Bridge of Spies) as the BFG – curated through motion capture and CGI technology, his performance is spellbinding. Rylance embodies a familiar and local British charm, sweetness and a sense of unique humour which exemplifies the original writing of Dahl. The film stays true to its British roots – the story unfolding in a London setting. Adding to the wondrous magic comes another masterful score from composer John Williams. It’s clear the film has all the makings of a classic, with the top-players in their fields at the helm of film however, did the picture live up to expectations? Here’s what the critic’s from some of the world’s largest publications had to say…
‘Giant expectations may lead to tiny disappointments in this two-hander that’s slow in parts. But it still offers magic and visual delights, and the final act is a treat’ Anna Smith: Empire
‘Regrettably, The BFG plays it too nice and falls short’ Peter Travers: Rolling Stone
‘Mr. Spielberg uses digital wizardry to throw dreams of friendship and adventure on the big screen, and what marvelous dreams they are—funny, grotesque and tender, as well as spectacular’ Joe Morgenstern: Wall Street Journal
‘Steven Spielberg’s The BFG is a technically impressive adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel – one with whimsy and heart to spare’ Sandy Schaefer: Screen Rant
‘Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of this children’s classic is a delightful story contrasted with the specter of a rather macabre fate’ Adam R. Holz: Plugged In
‘While it’s theoretically heartening to see a family film that isn’t a noisy roller coaster of nonstop activity, it’s also clear that there isn’t much movie in the The BFG’s thin storybook narrative‘ A.A. Dowd: A.V. Club
‘Based on the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl, Steven Spielberg’s fantasy The BFG is a labor of love that sometimes wears its love too laboriously’ David Edelstein: Vulture
‘The BFG is a children’s fable that’s more likely than not to bore kids to sleep with its truly languorous two-hour run time’ David Sims: The Atlantic
‘The BFG is so committed to inducing a state of breathless wonder that it uses up its own oxygen supply’ O. Scott: The New York Times
Despite the generally favourable reviews, its $140 million budget is far from being surpassed. Generating just $64.4 million so far, The BFG will need a huge push globally to enter profitable territories. Facing strong current competition from The Secret Life of Pets and with Pixar’s Finding Dory being released on the 29th, it seems The BFG will need more than magic to churn a profit.
Disney’s THE BFG is released in UK cinemas on July 22nd, book your tickets here…
Featured Image Source: Disney Studios