Not so ‘giant’ after all…
Set at an Orphanage, in the middle of the night, young Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) hears a peculiar noise outside her bedroom window and spots a giant (Mark Rylance). Fearing his existence could become known, the giant snatches Sophie, taking her to Giant Country. He may be the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), but the other giants aren’t half as friendly.
While aesthetically pleasing, the sincerity of Spielberg’s narrative doesn’t compare, stretching just under 2 hours of painfully monotonous minutes. Humour, as an element, isn’t frequent enough to keep us entertained. Though, the final act is a visual treat. Solid voice talent includes Mark Rylance as The BFG– but even he brings little delight to this mechanical affair. While Rylance’s soft tones would appear to be well-suited for the large protagonist, the delivery lacks an undertone of empathy that would have made for a more likeable character. Newcomer, Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie in her first feature film debut. And this could perhaps be her last. Boy, if this is what you’re leading with Spielberg, then you really don’t have much to sell. Much of The BFG focuses on the two characters forming a bond, even though the odds are stacked against them. But lacking in soul, and the lead lady’s performance falling nothing short of mediocre, the film undoubtedly falls flat and isn’t so ‘giant’ after all. Which only leads to a confirmation that we just didn’t need a Hollywood extravagant of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. Some things are better left plain and simple.
As appetising as a snozzcumber, The BFG misses the mark not just in originality, but to be something every animated film should be; entertaining. When you take a look at Spielberg’s filmography, The BFG feels all the more underwhelming. It’s a tired old statement but this really is one that small, undemanding children will enjoy, much more than their parents. It’s OK, but has been executed better.