Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Film Review: "The BFG" (2016).

"From the human beans that created E.T. and the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda" 
comes The BFGThis fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film tells the imaginative story of a young girl named Sophie and the Giant, the BFG, who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country.

Producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall began development on an adaptation of The BFG in 1991. Various screenwriters, including Robin Swicord, Nicholas Kazan, Terry Jones and Ed Solomon, were hired to work on the screenplay in the subsequent years before it lingered in development hell. In September 2011, DreamWorks acquired the screen rights to Dahl's book. Ultimately, Spielberg's E.T. scribe Mathison was brought on to pen the script. This marked the second collaboration between Spielberg and Mathison in thirty years, and it also marked the final script written by Mathison who passed away in late 2015. In April 2014, Spielberg was announced as director. Spielberg had always wanted to direct The BFG, ever since he first read the novel. He commented: "I think it was kind of genius of Roald Dahl to be able to empower the children. It was very, very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light... being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone... and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book." In October 2014, Mark Rylance was cast in the title role. By April 2015, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Jermaine Clement and Bill Hader were cast. Principal photography commenced in March 2015 and concluded in June 2015.

The film stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall and Bill Hader. The cast gave terrific performances, but most of the kudos goes to Ryance and Barnhill. Rylance as the BFG may be another typical example of motion capture trickery, but his second collaboration with Spielberg has solidified him as one of Spielberg's go-to-actors, like Tom Hanks and Richard Dreyfuss. Barnhill, who provided the film's heart, is a gifted young newcomer whose performance is sincere, deep and unforced in a way that's rare in a child actor.

The closest to Spielberg's past family fantasy flicks, The BFG is for people who loved E.T. and Hook. Rylance and Spielberg may have leapt too high on the vapors of Dream Country, but it's hard to not get hooked on something this charming. Adults and kids alike will take delight in the eye-dropping visuals of Giant Country. Spielberg and company made this classic tale into something that fits the Spielberg canon. But alas, the film unfortunately conjures up a predictably magical scenery, a somewhat cliched story and an ending that's anything but original. It may be one of the best family films in a while, however it is not up there among Spielberg's best.

Simon says The BFG receives:

Also, see my review for Bridge of Spies.

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