Review: The BFG (2016)


Steven Spielberg directs this buoyant adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s novel, utilising a larger-than-life performance from Mark Rylance as the titular character to enchant audiences of all ages. The script, written by the late Melissa Mathison, doesn’t stray too far from the source material, though the darker elements are kept at bay to ensure a more family-friendly tone is upheld throughout. The character of the BFG is a wonderful creation, and Rylance is an ideal fit. His performance, one of the best cases for motion capture yet, exudes warmth at every turn as his misunderstood giant develops an unbreakable bond with Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), the lonely orphan child who finds herself in a magical, bizarrely offbeat world of dreams, tummy-turning frobscottle and snozzcumbers. Spielberg blends sumptuous production design with CGI to create visuals that have a dreamlike quality to them. A mid-film scene that involves dream-catching is a real highlight and testament to the behind-the-scenes team. The threat of danger that eventually takes Sophie and the BFG back to London and to the Queen’s doorstep doesn’t quite ring true (the bigger, uglier giants aren’t as fleshed out to be that terrifying), though the hotting and howling denouement itself is littered with some truly irresistibly funny moments and a wonderfully cast Penelope Wilton that perfectly sum up what a marvellous treat The BFG is.

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