I was so excited when I heard that they were making a film version of the BFG. Especially when I realised that it was being directed by Stephen Spielberg. I adored the BFG book when I was a kid. It has been a pleasure to rediscover the story with my daughter (who is 7 years old). The film has not been as big a hit as anticipated in the USA and has had some mixed reviews. I desperately wanted this film to live up to my expectations!
This film looks absolutely incredible from start to finish. The highlight for me was the dream catching sequence which is stunningly beautiful. I love all of the details in the BFG’s home. I also loved the section where the giant strides across the mountains to giant land carrying Sophie. Overall the visual affects are amazing.
I was quite relieved that the film sticks very faithfully to the Roald Dahl classic. There were sections of dialogue that I recognise from re-reading the story recently. The giant speaks in the mixed up dialogue from the book, which takes a bit of getting used to.
There is some incredible subtle acting from Mark Rylance as the BFG. I completely forgot that I was watching a computer generated character. Ruby Barnhill was also very good as Sophie. I get the feeling the fine detail of the acting might appeal more to adults than children.
The relationship between Sophie and the BFG was so warm and charming. It reminded me of a close friendship between a granddad and a granddaughter. I think this gave the film real heart.
The BFG has a very gentle pace. There is a lot of time spent developing the characters before the action starts and overall it is not very action packed. We get some insight into Sophie’s life in the orphanage. There are some hints of sadness in the BFG’s past. For a kids film the characters are very rich.
There is something quite old fashioned about the BFG. It feels like Spielberg set out to make a classic film. I like the scenes of the BFG in the palace with the queen. These contrasted with the events in giant land and gave the film some funny moments. There are noticeably none of the in jokes aimed at adults that you get in a lot of modern kids films.
What age range would it appeal to?
I didn’t actually take my daughter to see the BFG with me. She watched the trailer that showed the BFG reaching into the orphanage window and snatching Sophie and decided she thought it looked too scary (she is quite easily unnerved!). There a few scenes of the bad giants that would probably be too scary for younger children. I would say it is on a par with the Harry Potter films for scariness factor.
I enjoyed the BFG. I think it will appeal most to older children and adults who love the BFG book. Looking around the cinema this evening there were mostly adults in the audience (although I did go in the evening). I can see that the slower pace of the film might not appeal to everyone. For me what it lacks in action it makes up for with great acting and warm, detailed characters.