The BFG is one of Roald Dahls most well-known stories, it was made into a popular animated film back in 1989 with David Jason doing a great job as the voice of The BFG and there have been some admiral attempts at a stage production. It also happens to be my very favourite book and story – ever. The trailers for Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation looked promising but could it do it justice. I went to find out.
For those not familiar The BFG tells the story of a small orphaned girl called Sophie who is snatched from her bed one night and whisked away to giant country, fearing she is going to be gobbled up whole Sophie is lucky to discover the giant who has taken her is not keen on eating ‘human beans’ and is known as the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG. He treats her with lover and kindness and shows her a magical world she couldn’t even dream of. However, she soon finds out that not all the giants in giant country are as well-meaning and kind as the BFG and the two new companions need to come up with a plan to save countless children from becoming a snack for the rest of giant kind, enlisting assistance from an unlikely source.
Much has already been said about Mark Rylance’ performance as the BFG and I can confirm that it is just perfect, he portrays the BFG that is very familiar to readers of the book, totally lovable and funny yet protecting and caring. Relatively unknown 12-year-old Ruby Barnhill plays little Sophie and at first I thought this was an awful mistake, her dialogue sounded unnatural and stilted and I confess I started to think that she must be a terrible actor, but then a little way into the film things seemed to change and I think I worked it out – Ruby is not a terrible actor, Sophie is! At the start of the film Sophie, as an orphan, deals with the world and its challenges pretty much alone and has learnt to put on an act of independence and bravery both for herself and those around her, which is why everything she says at the start feels not quite true, she is trying to convince herself and others that she is brave and doesn’t need anyone. Once she finds a trustworthy guardian and protector in the BFG she no longer needs to pretend, although she still retains her strong, independent spirit. This is actually an amazing from young Ruby and I am sure this film will make her.
There are plenty of touching and beautiful moments and, as you would expect from Dahl, there are also plenty of hilarious, giggly and downright rude moments – the drinking of Frobscottle, judging by the excited murmurs from the children in the cinema, was a much anticipated one of those moments!
I don’t often notice the soundtrack when watching a movie but I did with this as the music was grand and beautiful with a classical feel whilst also being light and cheery and fun, another reflection of Dahls story telling shown in this thoughtful adaptation
There were parts of the dialogue lifted, it seemed, directly from the book which suggested that the story was much loved by screenplay writer Melissa Mathison and the care and thought she and the whole team have taken with this well-loved tale seems to back that up and will ensure its place in the heart of Dahl fans old and new.
Steven Spielberg’s The BFG is a PG certificate and showing in cinemas now.