Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is an orphan. She pretty much runs the orphanage, since the owner is too drunk, or just doesn’t care to do so. While up late one night, Sophie hears a noise outside the orphanage. Upon investigating, she sees a giant making his way through the streets.
Sophie follows the giant, eventually finding herself in Giant Country, where all the giants live. Most of these giants are brutes who eat humans, particularly children. The only exception is one giant who refers to himself as the “Big Friendly Giant.”
BFG (Mark Rylance), as Sophie calls him, captures dreams and mixes them together to give to the children while they are sleeping. He shows Sophie how he collects the dreams and puts them in the minds of the sleeping children. At the same time, BFG must protect Sophie from the other giants in Giant Country. When the giants plan to go after the humans, Sophie and BFG must do whatever they can to stop them.
The BFG is a Steven Spielberg directed adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name. Having never read the book, I’m not sure what the point of the story is, except to get children to stay in bed at night. Sitting through the movie, I’m still not quite sure what the point of the story is. I’m even less sure of why we need a film adaptation.
Most of the film seems to focus on BFG’s loose grasp of the English language. While Mark Rylance does a fine job in his performance, a good portion of his lines involve slightly mispronounced words and an almost naive understanding of the human world. It grows tiresome quickly.
Perhaps the most confusing thing in the film BFG’s name. The other giants have names such as Fleshlumpeater (Jermaine Clement), Bloodbottler (Bill Hader), Bonecrusher (Daniel Bacon), and Childchewer (Jonathan Holmes). However, when Sophie asks her friend’s name, he simply says one boy referred to him as “the big, friendly giant.” Sophie, in a moment of pure genius, simplifies that to BFG. She, and other humans who encounter him, simply refer to him as such. Did he not have a name prior to being call big and friendly?
The movie’s only redeeming qualities are in its visual representations. The lion’s share of this is accomplished with CGI, but it is very well done. The giants and their world come to life. They seem to jump off the screen. Ironically, the film’s 3D did little to add to this effect, coming across as more of an unnecessary gimmick.
The BFG, weighing in at a hefty 1 hour and 57 minutes, is a bit much for a children’s movie with little to offer. Coming in on the heels of the heavy-hitting Finding Dory, it doesn’t stand much of a chance. This is especially true considering just how excellent Dory is, both in terms of story and visuals. The BFG‘s visuals, and the fact that my 6-year-old said she really enjoyed the film bumped my rating up a bit. Otherwise, it is basically an hour and a half set up to a fart joke you see coming a mile away. I would recommend waiting to rent this one, if you even bother with it at all.