Way back when, my brothers and I used to make our own movies with our massive, heavy as a brick VHS camcorder. One of the movies we never got around to finishing actually was The BFG, given the fact that this story by Roald Dahl was massively memorable and inspirational – a giant tale that I preferred over the likes of Jack and the Beanstalk. Of course there was a cartoon version of the story that came out in the late eighties, but it really did beg to be remade as a half live-action, half CGI movie. I didn’t even know until today that it was directed by Steven Spielberg. Good for him. Let’s get into it.
Sophie is a young orphan that is living a less-than-exciting life in the orphanage. It’s not terrible by any means, but there’s more to life than what she’s seen. That is, until a giant from a hidden world finds her awake when everyone else is asleep and kidnaps her. She learns he is a dreamcatcher. In fact, he’s the reason there are good dreams, bad dreams, and the like. He’s also a friendly giant, a big friendly giant – but there are other giants that aren’t so kind waiting around the corner…
There is something otherworldly magical about this film, and it’s not just the giants from another world. I would say Spielberg knows a lot about making endearing films with childhood innocence, and this would no doubt be added to the mix, but there’s more. This movie captures a believable magic behind friendship, no matter how different you are. I mean, the BFG is incredibly terrifying at first, but you soon learn that he is also a runt to someone else, making this world bigger than your immediate line of sight – it also gives the girl something to connect with. This movie is ultimately about the unlikely friendship between an old giant and young girl – and that alliance is unique to this story alone.
The only complaint I’d have about the film is that the actual plot isn’t really introduced until the tail end. You might be asking yourself where the movie is even going before it tells you, but that’s okay. The BFG takes its time introducing its viewers to a magical land and doesn’t force feed anyone an over-convoluted premise – as most modern films would. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that this movie stays loyal to the book from beginning to end – and if you read it as a child, you might have forgotten the details, but they’ll come flooding back when you watch this movie. This movie is what I saw in my head when I read the book. Perhaps that is the most impressive of all?
When it comes to all live-action and CGI family films alike, you sometimes have to question yourself if this is actually a good movie for my kids. Sure, kids might laugh at movies all the time, but which ones leave a lasting impression? From my experience, not a lot of movies were that important to me, but a good few still remain at my top 10 – and most of those are Disney flicks. For kids these days, that may just be The BFG. The only thing that’s questionable is the idea that the giants eat children (it doesn’t show that, they just give you the idea)…but how else will you be scared of the bad giants?
The BFG is a wonderful family film that shouldn’t be missed. Get your family together, heat up some popcorn – and watch it.