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Disney presents a Roald Dahl classic directed by Steven Spielberg. In an imaginative tale filled with magic, wonder and unexpected friendship, a young girl is launched on an enormous adventure when she crosses paths with a mysterious being called the Big Friendly Giant.
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As a family movie, it doesn’t get much better. BFG spoke to my wife and me, and my two sons, (ages 7 and 9), on different levels yet still allowed us to connect and talk about the film days later. After all, isn’t this the true point of movies – to tell and re-tell the story, long after the lights have come back on and the theater is empty?
For the adults, BFG offers insights into one of the greatest mysteries of aging, the loss of friends and increase in loneliness as the years pass. The BFG himself is a sensitive and complex being who is alone, a hermit of sorts. His only “human” contact is the nefarious giant bullies who periodically intrude upon him and outlandishly degrade him. He is, in a sense, Corey Haim in his most prized role of Lucas, even down to catching dreams in jars via beautiful things that fly. But, when fate connects him to Sophia, an orphan, they begin a journey together that breaks their parallel cycle of loneliness. In the process they establish a love and commitment to each other that develops bonds of true friendship. This is quintessential sappy Spielberg, but isn’t that why we love him?
For the kids, BFG has the excitement of wonder – the main character is a kid, it’s full of giants, there are new unexplored lands, it features the Queen of England and – wait for it – giant farts! What would a movie with a friendly giant be if there wasn’t a juvenile ode to that bodily function that has been captured from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Caddyshack and Austin Powers? Yet, there is far more going on here to keep it from whiffing. BFG conveys to kids in a relatable but non-preachy way that it is okay to be afraid, but eventually you have to stand up to your fears. When you do good things happen.
So, why didn’t BFG reach its potential? A few things methinks. Was there any other book adapted movie more in need of a title change? Even my 7 and 9 year olds knew that the “F” didn’t really mean “friendly.” It also happened to be competing against Finding Dory – which leads me back to my first paragraph. Lastly, its greatest asset was also its greatest weakness, Spielberg himself. More specifically, it is the legend of Spielberg. The man is like King Midas, every movie he touches is expected to turn to gold. He is no longer allowed to make a good, decent family friendly movie. It has to be E.T. or Indiana Jones. If it’s not, then we consider it Hook, which once again brings me back to my first paragraph, but I digress. BFG was, in my humble opinion, a victim of Spielberg’s success. And that my friends is a shame.
So do yourself a favor, go see BFG, but skip the over-buttered popcorn. I guarantee you won’t miss it.
But I feel that most "kids of all ages" would be impressed, entertained and just plain delighted with this film.
Watch it more than once to appreciate the attention to detail and the grace in development from start to a finish that is actually a beginning.
"Good morning, BFG" .
The first sentence aims right at the audience as individuals and draws them into the story. In a few moments the personality of our heroine, Sophie, is presented artfully and the fun begins, when she catches a glimpse of the BFG, who must, therefore, take her along with him, so as not to reveal his existence.
The two become friends and partners and very fond of one another, in spite of the obvious differences in nature and nurture and learn of a world-threat that must be mended and only they can do it.
The imagination if fed with portions of the story that are easy , moderate and fantastic in the original story from the famous children's author Raould Dahl , and the film seems truly devoted to adding "just one more thing - and then another " , all along , one more sparkle that would make the story worthy and delightful !
My problem? I am not a fan of sequels, but now that we are in love with the characters, may we have some? The Possible story lines are infinite !
Thank you so much, to all who made this film the wonder it is - charmed - just charmed!
A little scary for under 6....and sometimes under 10 depending on the child. No blood, gore, or bad words.
In fact one of the nicest parts was the BFG, has a unique was of expressing himself that older people could say they were using when they get confused or kerbobled in how they pronounce or remembers words... :>)