Screen Squinty’s “The BFG” Review.

Film: The BFG.
Directed and Produced by: Steven Spielberg.
Released: 2016.
Running Time: 117 min.

The BFG is an Disney American fantasy film based of of the classic children’s book of the same title by Ronald Dahl centering on the adventure of an Orphan named Sophie who is kidnapped by a friendly dream catching giant when she witnesses his presence and soon befriends him.

This is a film that centers exactly on what the title says: a Big Friendly Giant.

The strength of this movie lies in this simplicity. By maintaining the focus primarily on the relationship of BFG (Mark Rylance) with the other main character Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), the side characters and the antagonists, you get a very solid and somewhat focused film, and the character interactions, especially the dynamic between BFG and Sophie was the strongest yet so far in this year’s family film fair, which is particularly impressive when you consider the fact that Barnhill is interacting with a green screen figment of digital animation imagination.

Kudos goes to the voice acting of Rylance who really brought this character to life and was the perfect choice for BFG with his Shakespearean theatrical chops shining thorough especially well here.

The computer animation (through motion capture) done on BFG and the other giants was particularly good. He looked younger in the face then his cover art from the Dahl book and his depiction in the 1989 animated version, but it oddly works here when combined with the balding grayness as it somewhat helps pull across that sort of ageless quality inherent in the character (and remarked upon in the film).

Weta Digital did a good job with the the film’s special effects, particularly with the dream tree scene.

The plot meanwhile was fairly faithful to the book, if not quite capturing some of the couched darker tones of Dahl, with a pace that worked surprisingly swiftly for its run time in part carried by the relativity fluid transitions from one moment to the next carried on the back of the character byplay.

The only drawback to the film is that the less darker tone from the source material took away from the unique experience that comes from a Dahl work, and if your a Dahl fan, this will likely annoy you.

That being said it is a Disney film under the control of Spielberg which means that the “Family film” aspect will remain strictly traditional. Though its worth pointing out that with the increasing maturity of family television out there, the traditional notion is going to find a harder branch to perch on with young audiences.

Overall, while it isn’t exactly an epic film, it is a good film nonetheless that delivers on the promise of its premise with stellar acting, character designs on part of the giants, and visual effects and worth watching for all age groups.

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