2016 Movie Reviews: The BFG

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I must admit, I was extremely excited for this movie. I am a huge fan of Roald Dahl. and the idea of Dahl, Spielberg, and Disney coming together seemed like it was too good to be true.

And, in a way, it was.

I’m going to start by talking about the two things in this movie that really work. One of them is the production design. The wonder and magic of Dahl’s writing is translated perfectly to the big screen. The other thing is Mark Rylance, who is honestly better here than he was in Bridge Of Spies. Quite simply, Rylance is pitch-perfect in the role.

But I can’t say the same about his co-star, Ruby Barnhill. She’s a newcomer actress, and I don’t want to  be too hard on her, but in every scene it was obvious that she was just walking around a greenscreen pretending that she’s talking to a giant.

The effects, while not really convincing, do at least look nice. And the score is very reminiscent of John Williams’ previous work, but not very memorable. I’m sure he’ll get nominated anyway.

But the biggest problem is the pacing. This film is way too long, and the pacing just feels all over the place. Spielberg does a good job directing, but the film just needed a better script. More often than not, the genius of Roald Dahl’s writing is lost in translation.

It also has a serious problem of glossing over some of the darker elements from the book in trying to make the film come across as child-friendly as possible. Even the other giants are played more for comedy and don’t seem to be the real threat that they should be for the story to work.

But with that said, I am glad I saw The BFG, If for no other reason than the production design and Rylance’s performance. The 3D was also pretty good. It’s not the best adaptation of a Roald Dahl book, but it’s certainly not the worst.

But it’s certainly safe to say that Spielberg, Dahl, and Disney have all done much better in the past.

***1/2

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