Directed by Steven Spielberg
Mr Spielberg again shows us his versatility, following last year’s cold-war drama Bridge of Spies with this Roald Dahl adaptation of The BFG. I won’t go through the plot as it seems to be fairly well known, though I hadn’t read the book so I had no idea what I was in for. I knew what BFG stood for, and that was about it.
I’m glad I went in blind as this was one of the most entertaining films I have seen in a while. It is funny, it looks spectacular, and the story is one of kindness and hope, of friendship. Overcoming all odds, all that great stuff. Though aimed at kids, there is some popcorn for everyone to munch on; the film has a lot of slapstick comedy, and the odd way in which the BFG talks is also amusing and consistently interesting.
Surprisingly, to me at least, there are some tense moments, especially near the beginning when the other giants crash into The BFG’s home. Sophie narrowly avoids being spotted, despite being smelled out by the giants, who of course have giant noses to help them smell a human, or in their eyes, food.
After Sophie arrives in Giant Country early into the film, she learns of her new friend’s hobby: catching dreams from people while they sleep. He also has the ability to create dreams himself, and can use this to affect other’s dreams. He does this to Sophie, giving her a nightmare about escaping and being eaten by a giant. This is for her own safety as other, much bigger giants roam Giant Country.
It is an infinitely interesting concept, and The BFG says himself that dreams are fascinating things. He is right too, the true nature of dreams will never be 100% understood, but it is clear that they can affect anyone, especially if the dream is vivid or nightmarish.
The BFG is kind-natured, which contrasts well against the rest of the giants. While he is often threatened by the other, bigger giants who eat humans, he is the one that holds the ultimate power, whether he is aware of it or not: the ability to manipulate the subconscious mind.
This is also one of the best looking movies I have had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen. The cinematography is consistently interesting and on the move, while the colours are bright and light up the screen beautifully. The constant contrast of young Sophie against The BFG makes for interesting viewing too, as their size difference is so immense. The CGI work is flawless, never looking fake or unrealistic, in fact it has the opposite effect, sucking us into the film’s world
Mark Rylance nailed his role in Bridge of Spies, and he does the same here, as his character goes through a wealth of emotions and we see his personality change before our eyes. Ruby Barnhill also plays Sophie excellently, starting the film as an orphan, unhappy with her life. The way she changes and the way her confidence grows is uplifting and perfect for a young audience. Both characters are very different people by film’s end, and the theatre I was in actually had a few people clapping at the end of it. I wouldn’t go that far, but this is easily the best ‘summer’ film I have seen since the last Planet of the Apes film, and is a refreshing change of pace from all those goddamn superhero movies.
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