“The BFG” (2016) Review

“From Roald Dahl, author of some of your favorite childhood books-turned-movies like: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.  Comes an adaptation about a giant hairy man who kidnaps a child and takes her to his home of the giants, where she will constantly be in danger of being, eaten, crushed, or losing her grasp on reality.  Man, for a family film the story is pretty effed up!”  I’m sorry; I just really wanted to do the Honest Trailer thing.  Still, this movie is quite strange.

The BFG is directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison.  Stars-Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Bill Hader, and Penelope Wilton.  Premise-Orphan Sophie comes across the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) who takes her to his home in Giant Country, where he shows her his job, passions, and loving heart.

You know it’s a mediocre year when critics are recommending The BFG as the film of the week.  Not to say it isn’t the best film of the week, but it’s certainly not that good.  I saw the original BFG (1989), it’s well-animated, but extremely awkward.  I have not read the book, but I know that it has creative ideas and a charming tone.  This movie is more or less better than the first movie, and there are many reasons why.

Obviously the first thing you think of when you hear BFG, is the BFG himself.  Let me tell you, the CGI work on the BFG is astounding!  I’ll say it this way; it looks fake, but it’s convincingly fake.  The detail put into his facial features, the character design, and motion-capture look very real. Not to mention the lighting in this movie is some of the best I have ever seen in my life!  Props to you Janusz Kaminski, you did an amazing job shooting this movie.  The art decoration is also impressive.  The combination of F/X and real sets look beautiful, the sound design is creative, and John Williams’ score is wonderful.

The biggest problem with The BFG is the pacing and pretty immature moments. The whole first act is painfully slow, mostly because it takes forever for all the needed exposition to be delivered.  As for the immaturity, allow me to quote critic David Edelstein.  “But you’ve gotta love the scenes where the Big Friendly Giant drinks something called ‘Frobscottle’ that makes you happily break wind.”  Remember what I said about critics recommending this movie for the 4th of July?  There are many scenes that are overly childish and stupid.  Even though they forgo the annoying musical numbers (unlike the first adaptation), I’m still left confused that both the director and the writer of E.T. (a family film that didn’t overdo the childishness) actually put these relatively pointless scenes in the movie.  The constant switch between tense and comedic scenes will leave you feeling less emotionally invested.  Let’s just say that I don’t like kids movies that do this.

This week, I have a grad party, a trip to Iowa, and I’m going to try to review: The Secret Life of Pets and The Purge: Election Year.  Oy.  In the meantime, what is your favorite movie of 2016 so far?  Mine sure ain’t The BFG which gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B.



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