Saturday, July 2, 2016

Movie Review: "The BFG" (2016)

Movie"The BFG"
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Image Source
While up late one night at the orphanage, a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) hears a noise outside her bedroom window and sees a giant (Mark Rylance). Fearing his existence might become known, this giant snatches Sophie and takes her to Giant Country. Though he is a Big Friendly Giant, or BFG for short, the other giants who live in Giant Country are not. Despite the fact that the BFG and Sophie are becoming friends, he must face the constant threat of her being eaten by the other giants, unless they can devise a plan to stop them.

Legendary director Steven Spielberg brings audiences his first family film in five years with his adaptation of Roald Dahl's "The BFG." It stars Mark Rylance as the titular BFG and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie in her first feature film debut. This is a sweet tale about the friendship between a giant as old as time itself, and a young, wide-eyed orphan girl. Both of these characters are outcasts among their peers. Sophie isn't exactly well liked at the orphanage where she resides and is a bit of an oddball, and BFG, though huge in stature, is a runt compared to the other giants in Giant Country. Also, unlike the other giants, who survive by eating children, the BFG refuses to do so and primarily lives on the disgusting vegetable known as the snozzcumber. These two outcasts find a kinship with one another, and a kind of spiritual connection as well. Much of "The BFG" focuses on these two characters forming this bond, even in the face of great adversity and though the odds are stacked against them.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention how fantastic the acting sells this lovely friendship. Newcomer Ruby Barnhill is absolutely adorable, so much so that it almost hurts. She does a tremendous, wonderful job giving a convincing performance as Sophie, especially considering this is her first feature film performance and that she is working within a mostly digital environment. Mark Rylance is nothing short of brilliant as the BFG. Rylance has a way of speaking and delivering his lines that conveys this giant's gentle spirit magnificently, though we do wonder if really little kids will have a hard time comprehending The BFG's jumbled speech, though we personally think it's endearing and adds to his character. He has absolutely kills it in his efforts with Spielberg, and this is one of our favorite performances to date this year. His portrayal really makes us wonder when the hell Hollywood and the like will start to recognize an actor's motion-capture performance during award season. Rylance is giving a performance, just one where he's covered in little tiny dots and makeup that gets projected digitally, and he is able to emote better through his motion-capture than most people are in their live action performances. And speaking of that digital makeup, holy cow, it is so ridiculously good. If you've followed us for any length of time, you'll know we're often not fond of movies that are overly digital. Between this and "The Jungle Book" earlier this year, Disney has set itself apart as the master of the digital world. The BFG himself, as well as the other giants, look breathtakingly spectacular, as do the sets and new, created environments, filled with trees and streams and mountains and icky snozzcumbers.

BigJ and I found ourselves completely immersed in this fantasy universe, able to see exactly what Spielberg wanted to deliver to his audience: a wondrous, breathtaking land of giants and dreams. There was never a time while watching this movie where we felt things would have been better if they had been executed with practical effects because the digital ones are just so convincing. It just goes to show that the core problem with most modern tales is not the CGI, but rather, what level of craftsmanship a director is willing to accept in their final product. Sure, this particular film has an extravagant budget for a children's story, but we think it shows in the final product that it was worth it to create a world so brimming with light and color and fantasy. Finally, John Williams' new score is transcendent. Listening to one of the greatest composers of all time while simultaneously watching one of the best directors of all time come together to produce this final product is something truly magical.

Steven Spielberg might always make films which end happily, but honestly, we don't care. There are plenty of other directors out there who don't, and it's nice to see a genuine story that makes you feel happy and in awe of this land, these characters, and the kinship he helped bring to life. We left the theater beaming with joy at "The BFG" and its touching, heartfelt family adventure about an unlikely friendship with a bit of Roald Dahl's dark and serious undertones.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~72%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Kindergarten Cop"

No comments:

Post a Comment