Disney’s “The BFG” is Summer Movie Storytelling at Its Finest
posted by: Gretchen
So hold your breath, cross your fingers, here we go! ~ The BFG
Imagine your childhood summer movie outings without “E.T the Extraterrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” the Indiana Jones films, “The Goonies,” “Gremlins,” “Back to the Future,” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” How boring. How uninspiring! What would have been on our lunchboxes or on our t-shirts? Thankfully, Steven Spielberg directed and/or produced some of the greatest family films of our time, staking a claim in our summer memories.
He’s back. Now your kids can dabble in a bit of Spielbergian storytelling magic this summer. Disney’s “The BFG” opens on July 1st, 2016. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved tale, Spielberg’s interpretation stays true to the whimsical, cheeky, perilous heart of the story. There is nothing like “The BFG” in theaters right now and there hasn’t been anything for kids this fresh in years.
The movie opens in London, sometime in the 1980s. A serious, steady orphan girl named Sophie (played fantastically by 12-year-old Ruby Barnhill) is whisked away from one horrid situation into what she believes is another horrid situation. A giant snatches her right out of her bed one dark night. They become accomplices and partners in bringing magic to ‘human beans’—and most importantly, rescue. The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who is an utter doll of a creature. Mark Rylance is perfect as the voice and inspiration for the BFG’s delightful physical presence on screen.
The BFG’s unique and humorous vocabulary is one of the best parts of the film. How can something so big and powerful be more childlike than a child? Intelligent, old-soul Sophie has her hands full as she convinces the BFG to fight for his own freedom against a horde of nine fearsome giants who are even more giant than the BFG. They are driven, a tad scary, and are perpetually hungry. Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame voices the leader of the giants, Fleshlumpeater. Can he be stopped?
Sophie and the BFG appeal to a higher authority. Without spoilers, the help turns out to be someone most unexpected. The pure implausibility of their plan coupled with absolute madcap creativity and a bit of potty humor equals more laughter in the theater than I’ve heard in years. Truly, a treat for every sense. It’s also a joy to watch a courageous, strong girl in action.
Visually, “The BFG” is stunning and dreamlike. One scene in particular, where Sophie lends the BFG a hand at his unusual occupation, was breathtaking. This is one of the hallmarks of a perfect summer kid’s film. Are you transported out of the air conditioning and sticky floors to a world you want to be a part of? Yes. To fight giants, to bring dreams, to make a friend, to settle a score, to find a home, to be loved and love in return—”The BFG” answers the call.
“The BFG” might be a bit scary or intense for younger children. The evil giants make no secret they love to eat delicious children. Older kids will appreciate the humor and adventure, even if they haven’t read the book. Don’t be surprised if your kids want to read it after seeing the film, which is a win-win. Grown-ups can revisit what it’s like to sink into a sumptuous, utterly entertaining summer movie.
If they come out with a lunchbox, I’m getting one.
“The BFG” is rated PG for scenes of a child in peril. It opens on July 1st, 2016.
Watch the trailer!