The BFG ****

Running time 117 mins Cert: PG

: When Ten-year-old Sophie (Barnhill) meets the Big Friendly Giant (Rylance), she is naturally  scared at first. However she realizes that the giant is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler (Hader) Fleshlumpeater (Clement) and other giants. After traveling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all.

Roald Dahl’s classic novel is adapted for the second time, after being first made an animated feature with David Jason. Now one of the masters of Cinema tries to bring his own magic to this classic childhood tale.

Steven Spielberg makes his first kids movie since Hook and also for Disney. With great source material and a script written by E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison, all things look set to be a successful mix.

The good news is this is a faithful interpretation of Dahl’s novel. Mathison’s script keeps all of BFG’s strange gobbledegook with his talk of “hippodumplings” and “tellytelly bunkum boxes”. After a brief introduction set around an Orphanage in a Victorian stylisation of Olde London Town, the main bulk of the narrative is set in Giant Country with the ‘Human Bean” eating creatures voiced by SNL’s Bill Hader and ‘Flight of the Concordes’ Jemaine Clement. Which then leads to the extremely silly, but highly amusing plot involving The Queen (Penelope Wilton) who assists with Sophie’s plan to try and remove the evil Giants . 

After only working with Mark Rylance for a day on ‘Bridge Of Spies’, Spielberg knew immediately that he had found his Giant. The actor brings a gentle, eminently loveable quality to The BFG, complete with his Cornish accent and overall impressive  and expressive CGI performance. Newcomer Ruby Barnhill is a revaluation and brings a sweet, innocent quality to Sophie and more than holds her own to this year’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar Winner.

The look of The BFG is quite faith To the look of Quentin Blake’s classic illustrations. However at times the creature along with the other giants have a creepy ugly look and some of the CGI effects do not work as well as they should.

It is easy to see why it flopped in the States as it is very quaint & bizarre.While not one of Spielberg’s best or even the best Roald Dahl adaptation (that’ll be The Witches), The BFG is good whizz popping fun, expertly directed by the auteur.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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