For such a renowned writer of children’s classics, film adaptations of Roald Dahl’s whacky tales are sparse. The last of which was welcomed to our screens under the further influence of extraordinaire Wes Anderson with Fantastic Mr. Fox, but that was back in 2009. Beforehand we grew up with delightful versions of Matilda, The Witches and of course Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which spawned a less-than-average reboot by Tim Burton, adding too much whack to that already-obscure vision), so it’s about time we travelled back to Dahl’s increasingly wondrous mind. Say hello to the big, friendly giant.
Orphaned Sophie’s sleepless nights have her encountering the BFG, a big, friendly giant on the streets of London. Swiping her and taking her back to Giant Country, the both form an unlikely friendship that alters the life of the lonely giant as he, unlike the other children-eating giants that belittle and bully him, is actually a kindhearted soul who’s been an outcast all his life.
Two world renowned storytellers fuse talent as the aforementioned writer’s source material is brought to life by director Steven Spielberg — if there’s one director to helm a project like this, it’s him. Dahl harbours an ability to reach audiences of such a variety, and whilst some may deem The BFG as children’s fair it’s delivery on the screen is envisioned and animated with such visual focus that the attention, once again, will be captured by all.
The story; a precocious, lonely girl is taken from her prison to discover new worlds and in turn finds a friend in the form of an other-worldly friendly giant, animated by Spielberg’s new favourite Mark Rylance. A dynamic is created through bully-thwarting and dream catching and it’s simply magic. Spielberg entwines visual creativity with a deeply resonating core relationship and the rest speaks for itself.
Rylance brings forth a vivid giant. Through expression and emotion it’s the film’s heart; a creation so astonishingly detailed he’s brought to life so authentically that this entire affair feels like a feat of technology. The film’s younger star Ruby Barnhill is an intelligent soul, sparring with her larger counterpart with cute, heartwarming consequence.
Spielberg’s vision in no way pays compliment to the poor Box Office figures overseas; this is imagination on overdrive, bringing forth an era where computer-generated core characters almost surpass those human beans. It’s delightful in all the right ways and by the end you genuinely don’t want to leave Giant Country. A gorgeously rendered, fantastical adventure for the entire family.
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Scr: Melissa Mathison
Prd: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer
Cast: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall
DOP: Janusz Jaminski
Music: John Williams
Runtime: 117 minutes
The BFG is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital now.