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... Full synopsis »
A fantasy that bucks the trend of modern kid movies--i.e. frenetically paced and fast with jokes and slapstick humor--The BFG instead draws you in with atmosphere and heart. Spielberg takes his time building his world of giants and developing the relationship between the title character and Sophie, a refreshing change of pace.
For the most part.
The BFG looks great, the visuals rich, creative and immersive. More importantly, the performances are excellent; Spielberg has always had a gift in finding child actors and has done it again with Ruby Barnhill. Mark Rylance is terrific as well, and the two share great chemistry on screen—important given that most of the movie involves the two of them talking with each other.
Still, the movie drags at times. With a simple plot stretched over nearly two hours, The BFG is a bit of a chore at times, never truly boring but not exactly captivating, either. For children with short attention spans (read: most children), it will either enthrall them with its magical world or leave them squirming in their seats. Spielberg should have cut the film down by 10 or 15 minutes to speed things up, his unwillingness to tighten the story a detriment to its overall entertainment value.
On the positive side, kids and adults alike were giggling loudly through a dinner sequence set in Buckingham Palace, one of the funniest scenes you'll see all year. Leave it to Spielberg to bring the fart joke back, and in a classy way.
The BFG is an imaginative wonder, but its occasional slowness keeps it from being an instant classic. Nonetheless, there is plenty to like and, with a little patience and a touch of magic, the BFG will be regarded highly for decades to come. Full movie review »