The young and intelligent ten-year old Sophie is in for the experience of her life when she meets a real life Big Friendly Giant. Instinctively fearful to begin with, she sees that the giant is actually quite funny, gentle and charmin’. As their friendship grows, her staying in Giant Country attracts the unwanted attention of other giants, not so kind as our BFG. After travelling to the England capital, Sophie and the BFG must convince The Queen to help them get rid of the bad giants, permanently.
Giants the size of tower blocks go on poaching expeditions around London town, stealing children from their beds. They take the term “midnight feast” a little too seriously. These man-gobbling cannybulls have to be stopped. Our BFG isn’t a child-munching gobbler. If these kidnappings were going on in my town, I think I’d want to know. Though, who ever heard of giants roaming the streets? They’re creatures of folktales. Or are they? Based on Roald Dahl’s classic story, The BFG is a visual treat and Mark Rylance (Bridge Of Spies) is truly excellent in this, such a wonderful actor. A lot of kids movies these days are only appealing to kids. But The BFG is digestible for both children and adults. It’s fun for all ages and really is a family film.
Sophie (Barnhill) is a bookworm. In her solitary life at the orphanage, her only solace is in reading; escaping her own reality to live in the reality of someone else. From the moment BFG kidnaps Sophie, a friendship ensues. Despite the circumstances of their meeting, you can feel the warmth of the friendship growing from this little girl to this tall giant. This goes from standard amusement to a genuine affection and even a love for each other. The BFG shows Sophie that the world is bigger than she knows. And that dreams are just as real as the reality she is living. He bends reality to his will, by capturing dreams and manipulating them as we see with The Queen (Penelope Wilton). The BFG maybe giant but he’s very small compared to his peers, who consistently bully him.
But the film has many instances of childish yet physical comedy from the clumsiness of our favourite giant in Buckingham Palace to the whizzpoppingly brilliant giant-sized farts. In addition, the concept of the Queen partaking in such grotesque activities is unthinkable. Downton Abbey star Penelope Wilton as the Queen was excellent. Having England’s pride and joy passing giant-sized whizzpoppers was an experience in itself. The use of CGI was great to watch but many might find it annoying in the 3D format. Mark Rylance’s motion capture was executed really well. Rylance’s performance as the BFG was second to none and he is really a great talent. After Bridge Of Spies, you can see why Spielberg came back for seconds.
Finding Ruby Barnhill to play Sophie was like trying to find a needle in a haystack and they found the needle. She oozes confidence, charisma and emotional range. This is her first screen role and she nails it; with Mark Rylance bouncing off her remarkably, bringing our giant’s limited understanding of the English langauge to the forefront in a funny, weird and interesting way which left me with an ear-to-ear grin many times throughout.