'The BFG' is One Giant Summer Disappointment

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney’s The BFG is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved novel chronicling the tale of missing children, dreams, and, of course, giants. Sophie, an orphan snatched out of her window, just happens to be one of those missing children. With Sophie, The Big Friendly Giant, deemed the BFG, disappears into the night to journey through the unfamiliar Giant Country and Dream Country.

This CGI, (computer generated imagery), and live action film directed by Steven Spielberg is rendered beautifully and has a fitting soundtrack, particularly in the dream chasing scene. The title character, played by Mark Rylance, is exquisitely detailed with realistic wrinkles and pores. He’s a charming character, with huge ears and an even bigger heart while his not-so-giant companion Sophie, played by Ruby Barnhill, is somehow able to convince the giant to stand up for himself by fighting back against his brute brothers.

The adventure the unlikely pair embarks on is surprisingly lackluster. It kicks off with Sophie’s orphanage life as an insomniac and bookworm: a life she tells the BFG she despised but unfortunately, Spielberg fails to delve into Sophie’s background wasting the added dimension of her character. Similarly, the boy the BFG had taken before Sophie is a story left untold, leaving a darker aspect of the movie absent. Even the human-hungry giants are a tad too soft. In fact, they are depicted more as unsightly idiots rather than a real danger to Sophie or the BFG.

Instead of shedding light to these shadows, Spielberg focuses on the lighter scenes which revolve more around the interactions between the BFG and Sophie. Much of the two-hour film consists of dull exchanges and jokes that are drawn out far too long, such as the “breakfast scene.” It was unnecessary to spend ample time on the giant’s “royal breakfast” to build up to a scene involving him “spitting his coffee!” From the BFG’s befuddled language to the unexpected “frobscottle,” the film is filled with cheap humor at the expense of a much deeper impact. Dahl’s novel is a touching and loveable tale which the film fails to capture. The bountiful light-hearted moments take control leaving the film with literally no emotional weight.

The BFG, while a vaguely charming film, fails to make itself memorable at the box office. It is a film that will have children giggling, but may leave other viewers oddly unsatisfied with its lack of depth.