The BFG (2016)

the bfg poster 2016 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good cast and nice looking

Story is lacking

Movie Info

Movie Name: The BFG

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  May 14, 2016 (Cannes)/July 1, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

the bfg sophie giant shake hands mark rylance

Everyone needs a little BFG

An orphaned girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) finds herself on adventure when she spies a giant (Mark Rylance) walking the streets of London at night from her orphanage.  Kidnapped, Sophie discovers the giant isn’t like the other giants…in fact he’s a BFG aka a Big Friendly Giant.  Unfortunately, Sophie discovers that the other giants have a taste for children, and if she’s discovered, she could be on the menu.  Sophie realizes that more and more children are disappearing due to the hungry giants, and with help from the BFG, she hopes she can stop it!

Directed by Steven Spielberg, The BFG is a family fantasy adventure film.  Following Spielberg’s 2015 Bridge of Spies (which also had Ryland), the movie adapts the 1982 Roald Dahl children’s novel and was previously adapted as an animated film in 1989.  The film was released to mixed to positive reviews and some of Spielberg’s lowest box-office numbers.

the bfg evil giants

Yeah…we’re jerks…make something of it stumpy

I was a Roald Dahl fan as a kid, but for me that primarily meant Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.  I just liked his spirit and wicked sense of humor that didn’t cater to children (you never knew if a kid in a Roald Dahl book could be hurt or die).  While I see a lot of Roald Dahl in The BFG, it isn’t my favorite story.

The movie doesn’t have a bad story, but instead of relying on the story, it relies mostly on the visuals of the film.  The story is there…you have an orphaned child finding another “orphan” and building a bond.  You also have an adventure and big scary giants, and you also have danger and slightly scary moments if you were a kid.  Unfortunately, the ending feels like it is lacking, and the heart of the movie feels like it is missing.

the bfg farting corgi dogs

If you’re going to have a fart scene, go all out..farting queen, corgis, and all

The actors can’t be faulted.  They work with what they are giving.  Like a good heroine, Ruby Barnhill feels natural, and kids (both boys and girls) will probably like her.  Mark Rylance also gives a great performance, and it shows how far effects have come since it really allows himself to come out in the character.  I have always liked Penelope Wilton who steps in as a younger Queen Elizabeth (it is set in the 1980s), and Jemaine Clement, Bill Hader, Michael Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Adam Godley, Chris Gibbs, Paul Moniz, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, and Jonathan Holmes provide the voices & motion capture for the giants.

As mentioned, the visuals of The BFG try to carry the movie.  It looks good and whimsical.  It has that Roald Dahl fairytale feel while still trying to set it in the real world.  Without the story really backing it up (look at Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox adaptation as a good contrast), the movie just doesn’t make it over the hump.

The BFG is fine.  If I were a kid, I probably would have enjoyed it, but would have watched The Goonies or Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory again instead.  The BFG is a good way to waste a couple hours (yes, it is also too long for a kids’ movie), but go in with average to low expectations (it also doesn’t help that BFG stands for Big F*#! Gun in games like Doom).  Spielberg followed up The BFG with The Post in 2017.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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