Friday, July 15, 2016


I wish I had more to say about Disney's BFG other than "Meh."  I don't know how much of the problem lies with Roald Dahl's original story or the movie's adaptation of it - since I haven't read the book - but for the purpose of this review I'll stick to the movie.  The main character Sophie was likable enough.  An obvious book nerd, she was full of spunk and determination and was therefore the ideal catalyst to change the Big Friendly Giant's life for the better.  However, the journey to get there feels like you're plodding through wet sand.

Scene after scene stuffs us with dialogue and leaves out backstory that might have made the movie far more interesting.  We're never told why BFG decided to be a vegetarian in contrast to the other giants, or whether he'd always been that way.  Essentially I kept asking myself: why was he so different in the first place?  The BFG also hears and collects dreams in jars, but we never learn why or how this began.  I am a huge fan of fantasy, and that dream mythology looked promising in terms of both story and characterization.  What a fascinating yet wasted concept!


The movie struggles to make the stakes high enough for me to say more than "Good for you" to the characters' triumphs.  The story stresses the other giants' abuse of the BFG as the primary conflict, but when those giants are going around stealing and eating children in London, priorities seem out of place.  I suppose it would have been too dark for Disney, but I didn't feel the danger when the movie finally tells us via a newspaper read aloud that oh, by the way, a bunch of kids are disappearing!  It's those man-eating giants!  Considering the movie's final act focuses on resolving this apparently widespread issue, I would have thought that we'd know about it sooner.  Additionally, Sophie's idea to save the day came out of left field.  I can't decide if it surprised me in a good or bad way.

I don't want to completely stink on the BFG.  It had an imaginative children's story feel - which is likely a residue from the original material - as well as pleasant characters and a moment or two of humor.  (If you know what's good for you, never drink frobscottle.)  I watched the movie with a subdued smile, but once I left the theater I knew I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again.  Perhaps animation is not Steven Spielberg's forte.

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