The BFG Review: A giant magical journey
The beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl is now the latest Disney film featuring Mark Rylance as The BFG and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Sophie is an extremely bright and witty little girl living in an orphanage in England. She suffers from insomnia and during one of her sleepless nights, she encounters The BFG, a giant roaming the streets of England. The BFG takes Sophie from her bed once he has realized she’s seen him and drags her off to Giant Country. Once in giant country, Sophie discovers that The BFG is in fact a friendly giant, in stark contrast to the other evil and monstrous giants who live in Giant Country. Sophie learns much about the BFG, the other giants that torment him and even what his job is. The two spend a great deal of time getting closer and learning about each other and in an unlikely friendship, manage to stand up for themselves and people everywhere.
When a classic is adapted to screen, it can be somewhat challenging to meet the expectations of the audience. The BFG certainly stand up to the expectations. In another visual gem, Disney has created a world filled with magic and wonder, exactly as I would suspect Dahl would’ve imagined. The visual effects are so realistic and lifelike that it completely immerses the audience in this world. The BFG’s facial expressions and eyes glow with a true human characteristic. His unbridled emotions and transparency are so pure and childlike that you can’t help but smile and love him. There are a few scenes in the film that are superior in the visual sense; one of which is the scene with the tree where the BFG collects dreams. It is so colorful and beautiful, it encompasses everything wonderful and magical about dreams. The colors are stunning and the sounds enhance it even further. Another set of scenes that were stunning were the scenes where the BFG was mixing dreams. The visual representation of the dreams as whirling colors, images and sounds was mesmerizing and I don’t think could’ve been done any better.
Along with the astounding visuals, The BFG is blessed with a score by the incredible John Williams. The whimsy and beauty of the film is only enhanced by the wonderfully pleasing score. John Williams’ scores, in a lot of ways, have a natural nostalgic feel. As an adult I always get a pang of nostalgia when I hear a John Williams score, and in The BFG, this intertwined wonderfully with the nostalgia and wonder of the world created by Roald Dahl. I certainly will be listening to this score for years to come.
Newcomer, Ruby Barnhill has done a few other television episodes before taking on this enormous role. As Sophie, she is an intelligent and witty child, wise beyond her years and determined to help her friend, The BFG. Her performance is well done for a newcomer child actor and for her first performance in a film. Mark Rylance does a wonderful job voicing the BFG, but for the first few minutes of his speaking, he is difficult to understand. You do get accustomed to it after a few minutes. Penelope Wilton is a great casting choice for the queen and she fits the part so well. Other than those performances, there wasn’t really much to note.
Stunning visual elements, a determined child and a giant with a heart of gold, weave a beautiful story in The BFG. The classic story from Dahl shines, accented by a mesmerizing score and a heartfelt performance by Mark Rylance. The BFG is the next Big Family Gem from Disney.