Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader
Runtime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Singapore
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/BFGMovie/?fref=ts
Opening Day: 18 August 2016
Synopsis: The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows. But Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Says Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
If there is one author whom your primary school teacher will approve of, it is Roald Dahl. We can confidently say that most readers of this website have read most of novels by the UKwriter. James And The Giant Peach, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Twits, anyone? It was an absolute joy to hold on to a physical copy of Dahl’s books when you are a child (given today’s hipster culture, it is probably cool to be seen with one of his books too), and you know you have your teacher’s stamp of approval.
It is very apt then, to have one of the best storytellers in cinematic history to helm this fantasy adventure film. Steven Spielberg can do no wrong, and the 69 year old proves it again with his latest film. If you loved his more sentimental and wholesomely fun works like ET the Extra Terrestrial, War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, would not want to miss this.
You may not remember the story – a young girl is taken away from her sleep and meets the Big Friendly Giant (BFG). The two will set out on an adventure. Along the way, they learn more things about each other. Ultimately, they have to be part of the adventure to meet the Queen of England before they collaborate to capture evil, man eating giants who have been invading the human world.
Spielberg mixes live action and green screen, computer generated and motion capture effects to very positive results. There are countless visually awe inspiring scenes in this 117 minute movie. What is even more endearing is how the filmmakers that captures the imagination of the original. See how dreams are caught and delivered to human beings. Feel how ecstatic the BFG is after he drinks a bottle with bubbles going upside down. Spielberg knows his approach well, and can easily please both critics and everyday laymen. John Williams also returns as Spileberg’s preffered choice of score composer, and the results are a gentle reminder how the simpler things in life still work.
Mark Rylance charaacterises the BFG perfectly, and one can imagine hearing his compassionate voice in your head. Penelope Wilton is the young girl, and while she may not be your typical cutesie, the two hit it off perfectly, making the eyes kept on screen for almost two hours.
Spielberg does not disappoint us, and he isn’t quite ready to make us feel that way. The 69 year old director has scored another point which adds to his illustrious filmography. The film is a great reminder that things were simpler back then, when the only thing we cared about was being assured by teachers that the Roald Dahl books in our hands were worth the investment.
This film is brought to life by the wonders of today’s filmmaking, and this two hour movie is an experience you will never forget.
(Enter the world of the BFG and feel wondrous like a kid all over again)
Review by John Li