Shining like the most gloriumptious bottled dream, “The BFG” bestrides the lacklustre summer blockbuster season like a magical Colossus of Rhodes. A welcome big-screen return for the wonderful imagination of Roald Dahl and an even more welcome return for the Spielberg of old, the master of childlike wonder and spellbinding fantasy.
When orphan Sophie is kidnapped in the dead of night by a gigantic cloaked figure, she fears the worst. But it turns out she has been befriended and rescued from her lonely life by the Big Friendly Giant, who catches dreams and brings them to the good children of the world. When the other mean giants discover the BFG is hiding a ‘human bean’, Sophie and the BFG hatch a plot to deal with the horrible giants once and for all.
As you’d expect from Spielberg, “The BFG” is a feast for the eyes and thanks to the late, great Melinda Matheson’s warm and witty script, Dahl’s gift for blending darkness and light into a frothily affecting story has never been better realised on screen (only an anachronistic reference to ‘Ronnie & Nancy’ feels oddly out of place). Mark Rylance’s motion-capture performance is utterly perfect and the effects work is beautifully intricate, giving substance and credibility to the idea that giants could walk amongst us without being detected.
Unfairly overlooked and far too good for the crowded summer blockbuster slugfest, “The BFG” would have been better suited to a festive slot in December where audiences could have escaped the winter chill to bask in the warmth of its storytelling. Beguiling and sweet, this gentle movie captivated both Cragglings, capturing the attention of a three-year-old and ten year old as easily as it entranced their parents.