The BFG – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The BFGThe BFG – 3.5/5 – When it comes to Spielberg, you always know you will be in for an experience.  No matter what genre he ventures into, he always provides us with strong characters and an endearing journey.  With this, Spielberg has always been able to bring stories that are vivid and realistic.  No matter if it’s a journey to space or a war torn epic; you see the vision of the director.  The BFG is a return to an old kind of tale of magic and adventure.  With a journey into the World of Giants; Spielberg provides a whimsical story that is thoroughly enjoyable.  Even for some plot holes; The BFG is a wonderful trip for the whole family.

Premise:  As a girl gets taken away, she awakes in the Land of Giants.  After befriending a friendly giant, they both come to learn the meaning of friendship as they are set upon a journey to save both their worlds from other giants.

The two main character are:

Mark Rylance as the BFG (Big Friendly Giant)

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie (the orphan girl)

These two do a wonderful job in bringing realism to the unimaginable.  From the creation of the giant through visual prowess and an endearing voice from Rylance, you get a character that is flawed, honest and pure.  His role as a ‘dreamcatcher’ helps bring purpose and drive for living among the other vile giants.  It is something he holds dear; one that shows his humanistic qualities of a magical creature.   With his ambiguous approach, it helps add flavor to the emotional girth that comes with his interactions with little Sophie.  Played by young actress Barnhill, she provides the innocence and curiosity that is found in a young child.  Her awe and driven intellect helps compliment the elder statesman that is The BFG.  From the onset, you see a layered relationship that is built on care, love and friendship.  The growth you find is built through disjointed dialogue and ‘awkward’ interactions, showing how ‘being a fish out of water’ can be scary and wonderful at the same time.  What brings that endearment is the focus on building realism in the relationship as it grows in the film.  This helps create an attachment of wonderment for the journey.  With the rest of the cast; they are all common archetypes you find in any kind of fantasy/adventure film.  Whereas the characters being simplistic keeps them from being a distraction from the main through line; it also hurts the ‘worldly’ aspect of the fantastical world.

Being directed by Spielberg, you get a lot of aspects of characterization and world building.  What you have here (in this film) is a combination of this with the fantasy genre.  Watching this world come to life is strong and seamless.  This is brought out vividly through the eye of the direction and the persistent in creating a natural kind of transition between London and the Land of the Giants.  After a quick introduction to the young girl Sophie, we move straight into the story as she gets taken away by unknown assailant.  After the ‘suspicious’ capture, you get a kick started upon the ‘journey’.  You (through the eyes of Sophie) come to venture into the World of Giants and befriend the person that took you.  You learn his is the runt of the litter, which he comes to be known (by Sophie) as The BFG.  As the story moves along, you watch as these characters grow.  They move progressively as the thread of characterization is brought through the building of this odd friendship.  The traditional tropes of magical aura and fantastical things are blended with the characterized approach; flowing a thematic tale of awe and wonder for the audience.  You see the even flow of both characters as expositional elements of their backstories help build up distinct personalities.  They come to learn the truth of who they are through each other, with a factor of showing that there is a way through any kind of conflict.  As the ‘plot driven’ conflict comes to head, they know they must work together to solve the problem.  With the quick thinking of Sophie and the humble approach of The BFG, we get a third act that unfolds into narratives built off plot holes.  Here, there are plot elements that fall flat or are just outright unexplained.  Even for some of the ‘convenience’ of plugging random things, it doesn’t completely hinder the adventure or the relationship between The BFG and Sophie.  As we head into the climax, it is the predictable ‘overcoming your fears’ struggling line, but one that is big on theme and hearty on characterization.  As the epilogue comes to close out the film, you get that ‘feel good’ mantra you find in any kind of adventure tale.  The ending here becomes a little more poignant because of the magical touch of Spielberg.

The visuals are amazing.  With most of the film taking place in the World of Giants, it is a very panoramic, naturalistic setting.  You are enraptured by the luscious fields of green, the high snow caped mountains, the colorful dream tree and the homely touch of the house of The BFG.  It creates a gravitas that is authentic to the eye, but wondrous to the child within.  Outside of the world, the creation of the giants is just as amazing to see.  They look and provide a powerful touch, bringing life to the unreal.  The score is a compliment to the adventure.  From the sweeping orchestras to the quaint personal sounds, you feel the music no matter how general it seems to be.

The BFG is a fun filled ride; one that captures the essence of a traditional adventure film.  From the fun loving characters of The BFG and Sophie, you will enjoy the journey.  If you’re a fan of Spielberg or adventure tales, this is one for you.  It is worth a time at the theater, one for the whole family.

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