So the summer hols are here at last! Time to scadadle down to Bridgnorth’s Majestic Cinema to immerse yourselves and your children and grandchilden into the wonderful world of the BFG…..
Love Bridgnorth’s film reviewer Charlie Pugh lives breathes and (almost) eats films. He gives Bridgnorth readers the low down on Steven Spielberg’s latest, now showing daily: 2:20pm, 5:10pm and 8:00pm
During the “witching hour”, young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is snatched from her bed and taken to a world occupied almost entirely by man-eating giants. Fortunately her captor turns out to be the world’s only good giant – The Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) or “BFG” for short. Together Sophie and her new friend are catapulted into an adventure involving stinky Snozzcumbers, dream-catching, “Whizzpopping” from Frobscottle as well as thinking up of a plan to stop the Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) the Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and the other giants from ever snacking on human “beans” again.
Roald Dahl’s stories have been influential in entertaining children across the world for decades, whether it’s visiting a chocolate factory, riding a giant peach, getting revenge on witches after being turned into mice or outwitting a tyrannical headmistress to save a teacher’s life. Although the author didn’t think too highly of the film adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches in 1971 and 1990, one adaptation he enjoyed in his lifetime was Cosgrove Hall’s 1989 animated adaptation of his 1982 classic The BFG. As for this live-action re-imagining? Coming from the master of late 70’s to late 80’s fantasy films Steven Spielberg this is thankfully one of the most imaginative films of recent months.
Both Mark Rylance and newcomer Ruby Barnhill have excellent chemistry as two lonely outcasts who find friendship with each other; the former a more silent and nervous reinterpretation of the dream-blowing giant, and the latter a spunky adventurous version of Sophie. Spielberg’s direction of balancing fun and emotion is represented superbly in the extremely funny “Whizzpopping” sequences and the dream country shows Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg’s production design is at its most creative – depicting an alternate world accessible via puddle reflections. A strong score from John Williams ticks all the boxes of another summer blockbuster.
Overall, despite a few minor setbacks in pacing and a bit of mistimed comedy with the other giants, The BFG is a “scrumdiddlyumptious” delight for both the summer holidays and for celebrating the one hundredth birthday of the man behind Willy Wonka. Many Happy Returns, Roald Dahl!