Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton
Release Date: November 29, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
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.
Based upon the beloved book by Roald Dahl, ‘The BFG’ tells the magical story of the unlikeliest of friends and the magical adventure they embark upon together. Living an uneventful life at the local orphanage, one fateful night finds a young girl taken from her bed by a giant and spirited to his home in the supposedly nonexistent land of giant country. After arriving at this massive being’s home she soon discovers that he is far from what she had initially imaged (or feared) and the two soon begin to develop a kindhearted friendship including magical nights of collecting dreams and sending them to the children throughout town, along with other wondrous adventures beyond imagination. But as the fellow (and far more intimidating) giants living among her Big Friendly Giant begin to suspect her presence, the two will be forced to either part ways for good or risk everything to stay together, such as the unthinkable fate that befell the BFG’s previous human friend.
Directed by legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Saving Private Ryan) from a script penned by Melissa Mathison (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Black Stallion) and based upon the legendary book by Roald Dahl, Spielberg does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘The BFG’ largely capturing the tone and heart of the story, as well as guiding the characters throughout the gorgeous world within. The film also owes its share of credit to the talented folks who comprise the cast including Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, The Gunman), Penelope Wilton (Shaun of the Dead, Calendar Girls), Bill Hader (Inside Out, The Skeleton Twins), plus talented newcomer Ruby Barnhill, and a number more, nearly all of which deliver solid performances in each of their respective roles, particularly Rylance who effortlessly steals the show with his brilliant portrayal of the Big Friendly Giant.
Based upon Roald Dahl’s magnificent book of the same name which I was always quite fond of as a child, the first live action feature length adaption of ‘The BFG’ brings the magical and unforgettable tale to life and for the most part does a pretty great job of capturing most of its essence, while also bringing to life the world within in a manner that results in both a lifelike, yet also somewhat fantasy-like aura that couldn’t be more perfect for the tale. ‘The BFG’ is a an enjoyable, gorgeous and heartfelt film that delivers beautifully in most aspects, albeit a few minor flaws such as a few moments which become surprisingly dull and unnecessary, in addition to some occasional befuddlement due to the BFG’s odd manner of speaking which while wonderful in its own way can also become somewhat distracting. ‘The BFG’ reteams the legendary filmmaking pair of director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison who worked together on ‘E.T.’ and features solid performances from the cast, particularly Mark Rylance whose portrayal of the film’s titular character is spectacular. ‘The BFG’ may not be perfect, but it delivers admirably in most aspects and I would definitely recommend giving this one a shot if you have the opportunity to do so, especially fellow fans of Dahl’s book who may be mildly disappointed by some changes but should nonetheless find themselves largely pleased with the film as a whole.
Overall, ‘The BFG’ is a solid adaption of Roald Dahl’s infamous book, as well as a heartwarming and enjoyable family film in itself. It suffers from a few mild issues such as pacing in a few sequences, but for the most part delivers a beautiful, touching and magical adventure for the whole family. Wonderfully guided by talented filmmaker Steven Spielberg and featuring some noteworthy performances from the highly capable cast, ‘The BFG’ definitely comes recommended, especially to those who are fond of the unforgettable book that serves as its basis. It’s a pretty fantastic family film that is definitely well worth the cost of a rental at the very least for those hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The BFG’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a vibrant, colorful, sharp and simply gorgeous presentation throughout with no noticeable faults of any kind to be found within. It holds up beautifully even during the darkly lit and heavily populated sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another wonderful high definition video presentation from Disney that should easily please fans of the film and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, sharp and discrete audio presentation from start to finish which isn’t afraid to get aggressive when required. Frequently utilizing all seven available channels in order to send the film’s score, along with plenty of natural, magical and other random auditory elements making their way throughout the various speakers, and also providing the subwoofer an enjoyable workout with the giants footsteps and goofy activities, and always making certain that any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously remains clear and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is an active, top notch 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The BFG’ includes a few enjoyable Featurettes and fun videos that provide a closer look at the film and what was required to bring it to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, plus fun facts and more. The included Featurettes/videos are: ‘Bringing The BFG To Life’ (running approximately 27 minutes in length), ‘The Big Friendly Giant and Me’ (running approximately 2 minutes), ‘Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG’ (approximately 3 minutes), ‘Giants 101’ (5 minutes), and a special dedication to a talented writer in ‘Melissa Mathison: A Tribute’ (6 minutes).