The BFG (2016) Review
At its best, Steven Spielberg’s (Ready Player One) new family fable (brought to you by the Disney Empire- Disney : We can charge whatever we want and you bitches will pay up) should provide decent entertainment for those parents who don’t want to have to see Finding Dory another f*cking time.
At its worst, some of your more ADD addled children (and there are a lot of you out there--- or is it obese kids?---I’m not sure---ADD or Obese?---probably both) will get bored 40 minutes into BFG and start whining about see Dory again. Then you can throw them into a screening of a new Purge movie and say that’s what’ll happen to them if they don’t quiet down.
Be forewarned, BFG (based on Roald Dahl’s book and written by the late E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison) is very deliberately paced, which some may translate into being slow. If your kids need something BIG and LOUD happening every 5 minutes, they won’t be happy. But since there’s nothing else to watch this 4th of July (if you don’t already know, just skip the awful Independence Day sequel unless you’re senseless) then BFG may just be your cup of English Tea.
That tea reference is because BFG takes place in England, and Britain has been in the news a lot lately, so this is timely and informative.
The film opens in a British Orphanage. It’s one of those rare Brit orphanages where the cute-as-a-button orphans don’t randomly burst into song.
We meet our heroine Sophie (Ruby Barnhill, looking like Mara Wilson from a generation ago). She’s in the orphanage because her parents were murdered by wolves and ghosts. I don’t remember how old the movie said she was, but she seemed like she was one of the oldest children in the orphanage but not too old that priests and R. Kelly wouldn’t take advantage of her if given the chance.
One fateful night she’s looking outside her window pondering her prospects as a child prostitute for American Soldiers or a chimney sweep when a Nanny riding an umbrella--
…or a chimney sweep when she sees a big f*cking giant. The giant (played by Bridge of Spies’ Oscar Winner Mark Rylance) sees that he’s been seen so he takes little Sophie, much like Michael Jackson would had he been 24-feet tall.
Sorry, wrong Disney movie about unfortunate kids.
Disney- It’s an average of $200 per person per day at Disneyland. And that’s not including parking.
He takes her to Giant Country because he was afraid she would have blabbed about seeing a giant and we all saw what happens to giants on Game Of Thrones.
This giant isn’t like other giants. In fact, he’s pretty unique in that he doesn’t like to eat little children and he spends most of his time creating and implanting dreams for us muggles--
Sorry, wrong Children’s’ book reference.
…creating and implanting dreams for us Human Beans, as he calls us.
Sophie finds him so friendly and big that she calls him the BFG.
Good thing too, because it turns out that within Giant Country, BFG really isn’t that big (“Runt”) and that the other giants have just gotten a whiff of young Sophie, and prepubescent girl meat has just been put on the menu…
What Works With The Notorious BFG
- A sequence set in Buckingham Palace is the only one that feels like you haven’t seen it before in countless fantasy films from ‘00 on. It’s the only one that seemed to generate actual laughter instead of polite internal British applause.
- The magical FX by WETA digital. For every moment they’re onscreen together, you always believe that a little girl is in the same frame as a giant. If only the rest of the movie were as transcendent as the special effects.
What Doesn’t Work With The BFG
- The laborious setup for what amounts to fart jokes. I realize we’re watching a kids movie but…damn.
- 2 elderly women in front of us who wouldn’t STFU and who apparently had never seen a movie post-WWII. Everyone in the theater was subjected to their running commentary like their 3pm episode of Matlock or Bernie Sanders complaining he didn’t get enough mayonnaise at Denny’s. It wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been so inane.
- As mentioned before, the movie is very deliberately paced. I didn’t mind it that much, but you really feel its 2 hour running time could have been shaved to an hour and 40 minutes without missing the essence of the story. What might have worked in a children’s book seems bloated on the big screen. A judicious cutting of scenes would have made it flow better.
The BFG is an adequate family film if you know what you’re getting into. As far as Spielberg films go, it seems like something he just had to get out of his system but not necessarily a highlight in his long and legendary career (put in in the same group as The Terminal or Hook but nowhere near the greatness of ET, Lincoln, Munich or even War Horse). If you’re looking for something new to watch this 4th of July weekend, this is your best bet as Tarzan and The Purge are as bad as you’d expect Tarzan and The Purge to be.
Disney- Pay for overpriced DVDs to get nothing but ads.
Disney- Almost as detrimental to your childhood as being an altar boy.
Disney- We love child labor.