Length: 117 minutes
Main cast: Mark Rylance
Written by: Roald Dahl
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
The BFG is a movie suitable for children and for most of those who are familiar with the book. Steven Spielberg puts some of his magic in the movie but he takes his time doing it. When I say Spielberg takes his time, I don’t mean at a leisurely pace where the audience just takes it in. What I mean is that he takes his sweet ass time before he creates momentum and payoffs. At least it’s good when the momentum and payoffs arise.
The BFG is the story of an unlikely friendship between a girl called Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the BFG or the Big Friendly Giant. The BFG kidnaps Sophie because she saw him when he wasn’t meant to be seen. The BFG take Sophie to his home in Giant Country. Sophie and The BFG develop a friendship throughout the movie. However, all the other giants love to eat “human beans” and Sophie and The BFG have to find a way to defeat the giants.
The BFG is a movie where the animations are beautiful and is something that kids are going to love. Spielberg has the talent of making blockbuster adventure movies for both kids and adults. There are scenes in The BFG that are bright, vibrant and colorful such as a dream catching scene and the scene where The BFG disguises himself with his cloak to prevent being seen by humans. The way the animation team has done his movements seem effortless while delivering you into the world of fantasy. It is just a shame that those animation techniques only go so far.
The problem about The BFG is that they take forever to get anywhere. There is lots of dialogue in the movie and it is a hit and miss. You would think the comedic dialogue would fall flat and the dramatic dialogue would be great. The exact opposite happened in this movie which surprised me. There was too much dramatic dialogue making the movie feel long. I honestly believe the movie makers thought it was poignant but it just fizzled out and kept fizzling out where there would be long periods of boredom from me. The movie is 117 minutes long and I don’t feel that a simple kids film like this needed to be that long
What didn’t fizzle out, but made it lively was when the comedic dialogue took the place of the dramatic dialogue. There is one scene involving The BFG, Sophie and the Queen of England having lunch that was the best scene by leaps and bounds. Everything in that scene was perfect. The slapstick worked, the chain of events that made the scene funnier and funnier worked, the dialogue worked, the timing worked and the acting worked. More specifically, It was a scene involving the queen and a green fizzy drink. This scene stood out. If there was an award for best fart joke of 2016, this movie would win it with no hesitation or reservation.
There were other comedic scenes that also worked well for me as well, but the greatest thing about all of them was that the humor was such childish humor that worked so well. The humor was inherently stupid but worked so well that I after I laughed, I was stunned. In hindsight, I how thinking “How the hell did the writers, Spielberg, and the actors make me laugh like that?” but they did and they did it well.
I guess you can say The BFG has lots of things riding on it (acting, comedy, animation) but I wished the movie wasn’t bogged down in slow narrative pacing and excessive dramatic dialogue. I don’t even think the dialogue was that bad, I just felt they didn’t know when to stop. Unfortunately, for me, it hurt the overall quality of the movie significantly despite the fact there are lots of good things in The BFG **3/4