• Fri. May 24th, 2024


ByJames Hanton

Aug 11, 2016

“What I says and what I means ain’t always the same things” … so read this with a pinch of salt.

Based on Roald Dahl’s wonderful children’s classic, The BFG, aka big friendly giant, sees young orphan Sophie and her lofty friend work together to stop the other giants gobbling up ‘human beans’ while they sleep. Forget NATO or the UN… they go and see the Queen for help.

The problem with a film like The BFG is that it builds expectations even higher than the loveable big eared protagonist himself, and to start with it builds on the promise of the eponymous character. The first section of the film, with young Sophie (a rather wonderful Ruby Barnhill) being snatched away by a figure covered in a dark cape is an enchanting opening with a brisk pace. Unfortunately, what should really set the scene for the rest of the film simply doesn’t.

While the dialogue and relationship between Sophie and the BFG (a perfectly cast Mark Rylance) is wonderfully developed, it dominates the film just too much. Very little is made of the BFG’s dream catching, especially in comparison to the still beloved animation from 1989, and the other giants simply aren’t that interesting. Also, the whiz-popping sequence in Buckingham Palace is a bit too Dick & Dom for most of us.

It’s a film demanding a lot of patience, which for younger children who will want to see Finding Dory or (unbelievably) another Ice Age film, they simply won’t sit still for long enough for the film to get exciting again. Older viewers will marvel at the wonderful chemistry between the two main characters, and the incredible technical achievements of the film which are certainly not to be sneered at, but little human beans might doze off.

That’s not to say the film is not enjoyable. There are many interesting and funny moments throughout. Had it not been given such a big billing, we wouldn’t be able to contain ourselves for the wonder of the BFG. This a remarkable achievement in storytelling and visuals that unfortunately falls just short of what it promised.


Image: média ciné; youtube

By James Hanton

James is a former editor-in-chief having  been TV & Radio Editor before that, and has contributed over 100 articles to the newspaper. He won a Best Article Award in December 2016 for his feature about Universal Monsters in the film section, and also writes for Starburst Magazine UK and The National Student. James was part of The Student‘s review team for the 2017 & 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He can be reached at: jhantonwriter@gmail.com

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