FILM REVIEW: THE BFG (PG) SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie and Mark Rylance as The BFG.  PA Photo/Entertainment One.
Ruby Barnhill as Sophie and Mark Rylance as The BFG. PA Photo/Entertainment One.
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CAST: RUBY BARNHILL, MARK RYLANCE, BILL HADER, PENELOPE WILTON, REBECCA HALL, JEMAINE CLEMENT & RAFE SPALL

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 57 MINS

DIRECTOR: STEVEN SPIELBERG

Little stands out in this big movie.

Like many of you, Roald Dahl’s pieces of literature were a huge part of my childhood – so when the rumours of a film adaptation of The BFG came to fruition I became a little defensive.

However, once I found out that Steven Spielberg was in the director’s chair, my concerns faded slightly. After all, if anyone was going to give it a decent shot, it’s surely the man responsible for classics such as ET and the Indiana Jones movies, right?

The BFG pretty much follows the original story that most of us know rather well. Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) is a young orphan who is taken in the night by a giant (a motion-captured Mark Rylance) after spotting him sneaking around the streets of London. Sophie soon becomes to realise that the giant is actually big and friendly – as he was actually roaming the neighbourhood collecting dreams and delivering them to a select few via a magical trumpet – with now probably being a good time to tell you that ‘BFG’ stands for ‘Big Friendly Giant’.

But Giant Country (where the BFG comes from) is home to nine other giants, and none of them are friendly. In fact, whilst the BFG is helping people, the others are eating them. Sophie convinces the BFG that the madness has to end – so they concoct a daring plan.

What works best with the movie is the stunning visuals and the brilliant casting. Spielberg has once again proven he has an eye for discovering unknown talent, with Barnhill providing us with a likeable lead character. Fresh from his Oscar win for Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Mark Rylance once again re-teams with the filmmaker to deliver another magical performance as the BFG. And the lead bad giant, Bloodbottler, played by Bill Hader (Trainwreck), is terrifying one minute, while making us laugh out loud the next.

But here’s the problem – the BFG is actually a rather mediocre movie as a whole. Visually, it’s a triumph, but I wanted it to tick more boxes than that. After all, when you mix Spielberg, Disney and Dahl, you expect something great – and this simply isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable enough watch but it’s a slow-burner and there’s nothing about it that will stand out in my mind once a few days have passed.

Most laughs come from the final 20 minutes, during a scene involving the Queen of England. I won’t give too much away but this section of the movie was nothing short of genius, which frustrated me slightly – as it showed a glimpse of how tall the BFG could have stood if this had been implemented throughout.


Rating: 3/5 Review by Mikey Clarke