Steven Spielberg brings the novel by Roald Dahl to life on the big screen with The BFG. Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is an orphan girl, who is one night taken away by a Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). The BFG turns out to be a kind soul, who captures dreams to give to children. However, the other giants of the land, lead by Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement), are more concerned with hunting and eating children. To help get rid of these giants, Sophie and The BFG seek the assistance of The Queen (Penelope Wilton) and her maid Mary (Rebecca Hall).
The BFG is the latest big screen adaptation of a Roald Dahl novel, following film versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda. The story focuses primary on the growing friendship between Sophie and the titular BFG. The BFG is played by Mark Rylance, fresh off his Best Supporting Actor Oscar win for Steven Spielberg’s previous film Bridge of Spies. Despite being heavily enhanced by CGI, Rylance’s performance still comes through, particularly his uncanny ability of acting with his eyes.
It is quite obvious that The BFG is a story that is aimed a children, with The BFG having a speech impediment that causes him to spout gibberish and likes bring a fizzy concoction that causes flatulence instead of burping. The story itself is relatively simple, as the orphan girl and friendly giant team up to get rid of the nasty giants. While The BFG retains many of Mark Rylance’s features under the layers of CGI, the other giants such as Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) take on the appearance more typical for giants, with the actors being barely recognizable under the CGI make-up.
The BFG is neither Steven Spielberg’s best film nor is it the best adaptation of a Roald Dahl novel. However, it still has a fantastical charm to it, which will definitely be loved by children. My favourite sequence of the film actually has Sophie and The BFG having breakfast with The Queen, with The BFG being delivered abnormally large dishes. It is scenes like that one that makes the stories of Roald Dahl so beloved.
Probably the biggest discovery of the film is newcomer child actress Ruby Barnhill, who holds herself quite well in the lead role of Sophie, especially since she often has to act in completely CGI environment. Altogether, The BFG is a quite charming and funny children’s fantasy.