The BFG (2016)

4:43 PM

The World is More Giant Than You Can Imagine
The BFG is directed by Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park) and stars Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Intimacy) and introduces Ruby Barnhill. "A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children". The BFG is a classic tale - has Spielberg been able to capture the magic that made the original so beloved?

I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to seeing The BFG before watching - the trailers just didn't captivate me at all. I regret to say, The BFG is not a pleasant surprise and is just like what I expected it to be - a dull and outdated family film that is just very silly. Mark Rylance's performance was a slightly pleasant surprise as it was stronger than I was expecting - the visuals are a saving grace but there isn't much to love about The BFG unfortunately.

Spielberg is known for making family films that are incredibly magical and heartwarming - The BFG is neither of these things in my opinion. I did feel a slight hint of magic towards the beginning of the film but that was lost pretty quickly. It has been a while since Spielberg has done a family film and this film gives us evidence that he may have forgotten what worked in his past projects as The BFG is a big misfire in my opinion. I wouldn't say The BFG is a poorly made film as it definitely isn't - you can tell a lot of work has been put into it but I think all that effort has been wasted as the end result is a little dim and dull. This film should have been packed full of magic but it really just felt 'meh'. I can't even say I am disappointed as my hopes were never that high.

The performances from the leading duo were pretty strong but I wouldn't recommend seeing this just for the performances as this isn't that type of film. I thought Rylance's performance looked awful in the trailers but it was actually pretty strong. It took a while to get used to the quirkiness of the character and his dialogue but as the film went on, the more I got used to it and appreciated Rylance's performance. Ruby Barnhill is also impressive in her first big screen role - she shines as Sophie but definitely does fit into some of the tropes of typical child actors. However, even though these performances were strong - The BFG lacks star power - I think a well known actor could have played the role of The BFG and done something slightly more interesting.

The visual effects are another impressive element. I thought The BFG was very well realised and his interactions with Sophie were pretty realistic and I couldn't really spot any flaws in the visuals when it came to this. However, I thought the visuals were pretty inconsistent - the size of The BFG was my main issue - how big is he? he looks tiny compared to the other giants but then huge in comparison to Sophie but Sophie looks a similar size with the other giants to what she does with The BFG - I just thought it would be easier if all of the giants were the same size. The dreams also looked good even though there was something about them that lacked magic.

I think the main flaw with The BFG is the plot and the source material. I don't think this plot transfers to modern day very well at all - there are just too many comparisons that could be made that are inappropriate - kidnapping etc. The BFG does indirectly sugarcoat being kidnapped by an older man - I just hope no kids think being alone with a strange old man could lead to them finding out cool things like Sophie does. I think that is what ruined the film for me as I couldn't get those thoughts out of my head. The plot was also very slow-paced - it felt very rushed at the beginning and rushed at the end - there was no actual clear narrative in the middle chunk of the film which is a big problem. Once again, this is probably down to the source material but the writers who adapted it could have tried to make it slightly more entertaining. The BFG also goes way too silly - the involvement with the Royal Family is completely ridiculous and doesn't match the rest of the film at all. Seeing The Queen and her corgis fart was funny but it was pretty silly - fart jokes are always cringey. The plot is a big problem - it is slow, inappropriate and silly - it just really isn't entertaining and really feels outdated.

The BFG may be well acted by Rylance and Barnhill but it certainly doesn't match the iconic family films Spielberg used to make. It isn't a poorly made film but it just lacks magic which is a real shame. The visuals are strong but a little inconsistent. However, what really lets the film down is its plot - there are some horrible comparisons to scary real life scenarios that can be made and the third act is just utterly ridiculous. The BFG is tediously slow paced despite getting off to a strong start. Here are just 3 of the many problems this film has - Boring, Fart Jokes, Garbage. Some people may like this but I did not - at all but I can appreciate the work that has gone into it.

2 STARS
C-

What did you think of THE BFG? Do you think the narrative works just as well in 2016 as it did when it was originally released? - COMMENT BELOW

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