A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.
Roald Dahl the mind who brought books to the hearts of kids everywhere. His mind an uncharted adventure into the imagination and it captivated audiences of many ages.
In 2016 the legend that is Stephen Spielberg takes on one of Roald Dahl's most prolific characters in THE BFG but how does it measure up to the mastery of the novel and of the animated movie that came before?
In simple terms. Not too well.
While I don't want to lay the difficulties of The BFG at a child's door. I kind of have to. Ruby Barnhill was plucked from obscurity to play the role of Sophie, a character who remains on screen throughout the film, many times just with Mark Rylance who puts in an amazing turn as the BFG himself.
The issue lies not with Ruby's acting because she's great (If not a little too theatre school for us) but more than likely the process of acting, even the effects that put her together with the BFG seemed sketchy at times, CGI bodies that didn't look human, scenes where she's being carried and doesn't seem part of the scene at all. We imagine that's how she felt talking to blue balls and green screen deities.
It's difficult to judge as The BFG, as a story itself is so far out there, smart, funny and reliant on chemistry between the two main characters. With a seasoned actor like Rylance putting in a charmed and beautifully emotional performance, then having Ruby Barnhill deliver her lines fresh in what seemed to be a complete theatre school drone, it was jarring and she's green, she'll get better as jobs demand more from her but here her time to shine came when the pair escaped the land of the giants and put their minds to work, when she was able to interact with real people like Hall and Wilton.
The BFG is not Spielberg at his best. The tone of the film overall visually seems at odds with itself. It never truly mesh's with the actors or the audience. It constantly appears to fight within its own little universe wanting to be love but like the runt of the litter, gets shunned until a few with bigger hearts than mine come along and grow to love it. Usually I would always pick the runt of the litter but The BFG left me cold, it made me smile, it made me laugh but ultimately I felt left out in the cold until the final third.
When Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall's and Penelope Wilton are added to the mix, The BFG becomes a constant joy to watch. Relationships are opened up and dialogue becomes more free flowing. It warms the heart to see such madness suddenly blossom into magic but for the most part, too little too late.