By Taylor Goldtrap
LightEars Teen Critic, Taylor, reviews the new Disney / Amblin epic fantasy adventure, The BFG!
I recently saw Steven Spielberg’s movie The BFG, and was very pleased with how it turned out. It follows the adventures of a small orphan girl named Sophie and her unlikely 24-foot tall friend, the Big Friendly Giant (or the BFG,) as they plot to rid the world of nine “rotsome” man-eating giants responsible for the disappearances of children from boarding-schools across the world. Mark Rylance does an exceptional job while portraying the titular character through motion capture, perfectly reflecting the conflicting wiseness and childlike aspects of the BFG’s personality through his expressive facial and body language. Ruby Barnhill, a newcomer to the movie industry, made a stellar debut as Sophie, capturing the curiosity of a 10-year old girl suddenly exposed to things that she could’ve only dreamed of before.
I was (happily) surprised to note that the movie wasn’t a far cry from the original book by Roald Dahl, a book I’ve had the pleasure to read. Instead, the few small changes made (such as adding an additional child who was in the BFG’s care before Sophie, expanding on the reasons behind his fatherly caring for Sophie), enhanced the movie and helped to drive the plot along better. The movie also had its fair share of laughter-inducing moments, such as the frobscottle party in the Queen of England’s palace that had everyone “whizzpopping”.
The special effects, supervised by Joel Whist, were also stunning and truly brought the giants to life. They shaped and contorted the actors into believable towering behemoths, demonstrating an expert level of digital/real merging. The dreams of Dream Country were also shrouded in the perfect level of mystery, and it was hard to take my eyes off of their beautiful forms as they told silent stories to Sophie from inside the jars in the BFG’s cave house. The nightmares, or “troggelhumpers,” as the BFG called them, combined the effect of a dream with something truly horrifying. This created the shapeless beings which thrashed against the walls of the jars like angry prisoners violently trying to escape.
I think this movie was an excellent one. It combined fantastical characters and ideas with morals that could be useful in real life, such as to never give up. Regardless of how small you are, you can make a big difference. It also added just the right amount of fun to keep the younger audience engaged and laughing, however themes of giants kidnapping and eating children (although not depicted on screen) may upset the youngest moviegoers. I highly recommend this film!