July 1, 2016 - 1 hr. 57 min.
Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers - Melissa Mathison, Roald Dahl
Starring - Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton
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Read the Review by Keith Cheatham
Thirty-four years ago, Steven Spielberg with writer Melissa Mathison brought us one of the greatest family films of all time. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Continuing Spielberg's streak of creating a new sense of wonder and magic in film. Now days, many of Spielberg's innovations have become common hat in films. Not that they are bad or unwelcome, but they are no longer new of evoke the same sense of wonder. This year Spielberg brings us a film reuniting him and Mathison, a film she wrote before her passing. This film is Roald Dahl’s classic children's tale, The BFG.
Has Spielberg created the next E.T.? The next film filled with wonder and childhood magic that will awe the entire family? No, he has not. But he hasn't created a bad film either. The BFG stars new comer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie the orphan girl who discovers a giant, whom is soon dubbed BFG or big friendly giant. BFG himself is portrayed by Bridge Of Spies actor, Mark Rylance. Sophie soon discovers that unlike the BFG, the other giants of giant country, where BFG has whisked her away to, are cruel and eat human beings, mainly little children. Teaching the BFG to stick up for himself while learning her own place in the world, Sophie the BFG, soon band together and create a spectacular plan to stop the other giants.
The film is fun, and charming, and filled with many unique and funny sequences displaying the giant’s way of life, but much of this is laid out by Dahl in his novel. With gorgeous scenery and magnificent effects creating the giants bringing the BFG to life in writing and direction was done splendidly by Mathison and Spielberg, but try as they might they never quite hit the magical note I felt they aimed for. I laughed, and again was charmed by Rylance and Barnhill and their stellar performances, and even really loved the sentimental speech given by BFG describing Sophie's dream, delivering the film’s message. And while all of this was great, the film still drug on a bit too much for small children to watch, yet was a little too silly to endear it forever for adults. While great and fun and definitely worth a watch, I feel BFG will be remembered as a beautiful film with lots of heart, but not quite reaching the star it shoots for.
I give The BFG 3 out of 4 stars.