Roald Dahl’s books have been the subject of films before, but none captures the essence or the fantasy as well as The BFG. This blend of live action and CGI gives the animated giant a realistic look next to the live performers. Steven Spielberg’s imagination breathes life into this film without corrupting the purity of the original story. This film could not have been fully realized before now: it wouldn’t have the same fluidity of motion or the seamless transition between the living and the animated. At its core a story about finding a connection and standing up to bullies resonates as well today as it did when it was first written in 1982.
This kid’s film has a PG rating because we are dealing with giants that eat children and at times can be very intense for younger viewers. On the other end of the spectrum there are scenes surrounding Whizzpopping. (I will let you explore Google for a definition.) Suffice it to say this is definitely kid’s humor.
The language in the film is very much like a Shakespearian play in that it takes a few minutes to calibrate to what the Big Friendly Giant is saying. After a few moments you get the pace and rhythm of the speech as well as how they use some words wrong and invent new words for you to learn.
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a brave and determined little girl who doesn’t shy away from challenges. She stands up to adversity and encourages the people (and giants) around her to be better. Penelope Wilton (Downton Abby, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) plays the Queen superbly. Her royal demeanor and elegance are perfect for the roll. Jemaine Clement (Rio, Flight of the Concords) plays the evil giant Fleshlumpeater, his performance could be nightmare fuel for kids but he is over all more buffoonish than menacing.
As the adult in the room, I found myself laughing right along with the kids. To truly enjoy this film you have to leave your grownup sensibilities at the door and view it like a child. Go in and just enjoy the wonder of this magical movie.
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