Movie Review: The BFG is Rootin’, Tootin’ Fun!

Movie Review: The BFG is Rootin’, Tootin’ Fun!

BFG and Sophie

BFG and Sophie

“The BFG” is short for the big friendly giant. It’s the title of a book written by author Roald Dahl in 1982, and it’s the basis of the Disney movie hitting theaters, Friday, July 1.

This book-to-film project is also the first Disney-branded movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

With Spielberg at the helm, there’s a certain expectation attached to this movie.  There’s a definite “E.T.” feeling about this film. If you and your kids haven’t watched this classic Spielberg movie, you should. It’s in my book, “101 Movies,” and it’s a good introduction to this multiple Academy-Award winning director’s style.

I attended an advanced screening of “The BFG” earlier this week, and can tell you the movie doesn’t disappoint. However, though it is a heartwarming story, it doesn’t quite meet these expectations.

The title of this film gives away the premise of the movie. It involves a friendly giant. And where do giants come from? Giant country.

The film starts off slow and with a dark scene: a child is taken from her bed at an orphanage in the middle of the night by a giant. Sophie, played by Ruby Barnhill in her very first big-screen role, is the spunky little girl  who is oddly unafraid of the giant.

Sophie is whisked off to giant country, wrapped in her blanket and swinging back and forth with the giant’s every leap and bound. Though the giant tries to hide her, she encounters the other giants, the bean-eating kind. No, they don’t eat beans. They eat humans. As in human beings! It’s just that giants can’t speak the English language correctly — they are uneducated, you see.

There’s also Blood-Bottling giants and Gizzard-Guzzling ones. They are not BFGs, but the complete opposite of them. They are menacing and downright ugly looking things.

But the BFG is kind and has a very warm and friendly gaze. In fact, the CGI animators did a remarkable job capturing Mark Rylance’s (“Bridge of Spies”) resemblance in this character’s facial features. This Oscar-winner voices the big friendly giant.

As you might expect, the BFG and Sophie become fast friends and try battle the mean giants so they won’t eat her. But they need some help.

After this darker part of the movie is over, and with a little help from magical dreams, the brighter side of the story emerges and the fun begins. We find Sophie in the middle of London, at Buckingham Palace, where she convinces the Queen to destroy the giants.

BFG Queen

But first, there’s some farts. Yes, flatulence. Loud, colorful, and combustible gas is expelled by everybody!  The noxious fumes are caused by a fizzy drink concocted by the BFG which bubbles downwards instead of upwards. So, instead of burping after a slurp of this giant mix, the gas comes out the other end. Phew!

I had not heard a theater full of kids laugh so loudly during a movie in a while. Kids in the audience at this screening were laughing their behinds off!

One of my favorite parts of this movie takes place at the palace. There are some very clever scenes showing us the contrast between  human and giant-sized objects during a regal meal the odd-sized friends share with the Queen.

As the tooting ends, the movie heads towards the certain confrontation between the giants and her Royal Majesty’s guards. By now, we’re all rooting for Sophie and the BFG!

Steven Spielberg directs Ruby Barnhill in The BFG

Steven Spielberg directs Ruby Barnhill in The BFG

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie reminded me a lot of “Matilda,” another Roald Dahl book turned into a movie and a Broadway musical. She’s spunky, clever, and kind.  Spielberg selected her for this role himself.

This heartwarming movie also has a message for kids: Regardless of who you are, big or small, you should never let anyone treat you with disrespect.

The only caveat to this review, is that I would caution families with kids younger than 7 years old about this movie. The BFG could well mean Be Frightful of Giants. For some adults, it may be hard not to think about it with a more modern curse term!

Spielberg’s hand is evident in “The BFG” without the heavy-handed non-stop action sequences. This is the type of movie that takes its time, and it may take a little time to grow on you.

“The BFG” Release date July 1, 2016

Rated PG

Runtime 117 minutes


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.