The BFG Review by Lisa Johnson Mandell with help from Julian Dans
I can tell you that The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s first big screen collaboration with Disney, is magical and wondrous and a total delight, but not being a member of the film’s intended demo, I think the words of my nine-year-old friend Julian Dans, carry a lot more weight. “My favorite book in the whole wide world is The BFG by Roald Dahl,” he said. “And my favorite movie in the whole wide world is The BFG by Steven Spielberg.”
That’s high praise from someone who has read the book, like, a zillion times. As for me, who hasn’t read the book at all, it has me wishing they handed out Academy Awards for voice work, because the stellar Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Wolf Hall) does the most moving and tender voice work I’ve ever experienced. His malapropisms and gentle expressions will warm even the coldest heart.
Which is not to take anything away from newcomer Ruby Barnhill, as young Sophie, who gamely treads the fragile line between precocious and obnoxious. Although you’ve probably never seen her in anything prior to this, you will be seeing a lot of her in the future. She is a real find.
The animation is superb, of course. CGI and reality blend seamlessly in rich, beautiful colors and whimsical situations. Every image is suitable for framing.
The BFG has been criticized for lacking the edge, action and excitement of Spielberg’s other “children’s” fare, such as ET and Gremlins, but I’m betting today’s short attention-spanned digital device addicts will be willing to put up with The BFG‘s lovely, leisurely pace. The delightful payoff of seeing a giant meeting the Queen of England may not be a wild and titillating surprise, but it’s just the right mix of delightful and endearing. Not all movies can or should be action packed thrillers.
1 Hour 45 Minutes
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THE BFG Review — Beautiful for Generations
by Lisa Johnson Mandell with help from Julian Dans