The BFG Review
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Steven Spielberg definitely knows a thing or two about family-friendly adventures. So it’s no surprise that the guy who directed E.T. could team up with Disney for The BFG—a larger-than-life literary adaptation that blends classic storytelling with today’s technology with strange but charming results.

The BFG tells the story of Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a young orphan girl who’s wandering around the orphanage late at night when she spots a giant (Mark Rylance) wandering through the city streets. Realizing that he’s been spotted, he scoops her up and takes her off to Giant Country, where he’s an outcast among the bigger man-eating giants. And once Sophie sees that she and the Big Friendly Giant are both in danger, she hatches a plan to stop the others from eating children and tormenting her new friend.

Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, The BFG feels like a classic Disney movie—the kind that you remember so fondly from your own childhood. From the characters to the color palette to the playful John Williams score, everything about it feels wonderfully nostalgic. It’s a charming and whimsical fantasy, pairing a precocious little girl with a lovable giant from a faraway land. And though young Ruby Barnhill sometimes takes her character’s precociousness to extremes, Oscar winner Mark Rylance is absolutely remarkable as her big, befuddled best friend. He takes the creative language of Dahl’s novel and makes it come to life in ways that are truly delightful.

The problem, however, is that today’s audiences may not be prepared for such a traditional-feeling film—and its classic charm and laid-back style may be just a little too sleepy for some viewers. Are while older viewers are simply enjoying the presentation—the beautiful language, the imaginative settings, and the lively score—younger viewers may end up checking out.

Spielberg tries to keep things interesting, offering up gigantic action sequences, some gross-out moments, and a shockingly long fart joke. But while that may add some action and laughs for kids, it also takes away from the charm and makes the tone feel uneven. There’s definitely a little bit of something here for everyone—it’s just not all at the same time, from beginning to end.

If you love Disney’s live-action classics or the playfulness and whimsy of Roald Dahl’s novels, you’ll enjoy the adventure and imagination of The BFG. But some might feel that it has a little too much charm and not enough action and excitement.

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