[Warning: May Contain Spoilers...I'll try my best not to, but to be on the safe side I'd better declare that haha]
The BFG. Such a well known and adored classic children's tale from our generation has been taken on by the big shots of movie magic - Steven Speilberg and Disney. Just a bit different from the usual genre and tone Speilberg directs, it just proves his diversity even more.
I was never the biggest 'BFG' fan, though of course like most people my age have read many a Roald Dahl book in my time and so of course when I heard Disney were filming an adaptation of another Dahl story (James and the Giant Peach from 1996 being the previous Disney/Dahl collab) I had high hopes.
Slightly sad that I wasn't going to get to see it on opening weekend, (as we plan to see Pete's Dragon the day it opens and due to the cinema being at least 60 miles away in either direction a trip to see a movies ends up becoming quite pricey) I was over the moon when my friend from Newcastle came to visit and said she fancied it too. We took a drive to Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh and got to see The BFG in 2D on opening day! Luckily we booked the night before as unfortunately, thanks to the school holidays, it was packed.
Making sure to go into it with a completely blank and open mind I didn't re-read the book or watch any trailers at all...however, I highly suggest you check out the one below and then read on for my views on the full film.
While doing so, a lonely, self-proclaimed insomniac orphan named Sophie accidentally catches sight of the scary spectacle in the street outside and ends up scooped up and whisked away to giant country so she doesn't tell the world of his kind.
In a fight against the big bullying bean eaters, we follow the unlikely duo in their adventure as newly made BFFs all the way to Buckingham Palace to stand up for goodness. It is all kept light and extremely humorous while obviously still incorporating the odd serious scene to tie the storyline together.
A great family fantasy adventure it has many similarities to one of Speilberg's most well-known movies, ET, and not just because they share screenwriters in the form of the late, great Melissa Mathison. In fact, it's quite funny that the original BFG book and the ET movie both came out the same year - 1982! They are equally as heartwarming, tearjerking and just as ET shot the tiny Drew Barrymore into Hollywood, The BFG is bound to host great things for the fantastic 11 (now 12) year old Ruby Barnhill who shone in her first major role. (To me this rings bells as another amazing start Disney is giving to young actors after that of Neel Sethi who played Mowgli in 2016's The Jungle Book).
I couldn't think of a better person to have been cast in the main role of our favorite Big Friendly Giant and although he is computer animated, Mark Rylance's emotive and striking features really portray the kind, gentle, caring nature. Looking into his eyes in certain scenes I couldn't hold back the tears as I fell in love with the character who was so intent upon protecting his young friend.
Another thing to mention about the casting is the 'bad' giants. Reminiscent of Dorothy's friends in the Wizard of Oz, the giants are played by people who Sophie see and passes in the street outside her orphanage which isn't obvious at the time of watching, but I personally thought was a great touch after realizing.
Looking at the B-Roll from shooting you can see the amount of real life sets used and where the CGI was used most was very photo-realistic, however not quite as seamless with live action than The Jungle Book's effects were.
As with every single Disney release I have reviewed, while researching all about it I've come across plenty of bad reviews amongst the good ones. It seems you can never please everyone and there are a few people taking the fact it is not an exact replica of the book, personally. Now as a huge Harry Potter fan as well as fan of many other book to film stories, I understand things have to be altered, added and subtracted for the picture to flow properly and be an appropriate length.
Overall I found it magical. For Speilberg's only child/family-targeted movie since Hook it had just the right mix of things for children and adults to enjoy. It's a timeless tale of two lonely soles finding friendship in each other despite their obvious differences. It could have been a lot darker than it was so keeping the mild threat and violence to a minimum meant that it expanded the age range of kids who can enjoy it but I still think parents need to vet PG movies more as we did have a screaming incident from a smaller bean in our cinema viewing.
Go see it, revel in the wondrous world of dreams and giants and tell me what you think!
If you enjoyed this review, you can check out my previous Disney Movie Reviews below -'Alice Through The Looking Glass' 2016
'The Jungle Book' 2016'
Oz the Great and Powerful' 2013